A person in need of alcohol rehab in Poland will find a well-established system of public and private clinics offering both pharmaceutical-based and drug-free treatment options with locations throughout that country’s major cities and mid-sized towns. In fact, within Central and Eastern Europe, Poland has one of the longest histories of offering therapeutic and rehabilitative assistance to substance abusers.

Alcohol and drug rehab in Poland is both a public and private enterprise, as it is in many other places in Europe, but government involvement is more at a regional and local level than a national one. Western Europeans travelling to this part of Europe for treatment would be more likely to seek out long-term residential care rather than short-term outpatient treatment.

We should also note that the Polish system embraces broad definitions of drug addiction and treatment to the extent that alcohol rehab is not always clearly distinguished from treatment that might be received for opioids or other drugs. Treatment is still individualised based on patient need, but patients and their caregivers are less likely to find information or treatment programmes that single out alcohol as a separate substance.

Outpatient Rehab in Poland

Rehab services throughout the country are provided through a network of inpatient and outpatient clinics operating as detox centres, day treatment clinics, long-term rehab facilities, and even drug wards in hospitals and prisons. The country offers a few hundred specialised day clinics mostly run by local and regional government agencies or approved non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that have contracted with local governments. Since 2013, Poland’s Ministry of Health has been working on guidelines for accrediting NGO day clinics.

Outpatient treatment in a day clinic involves the same sort of things alcoholics experience here in the UK. Medical detox treatments aside, the rehab portion of alcohol treatment in Poland is divided into psychiatric and psychosocial components. Patients undergo a series of treatments that include everything from counselling to 12-step group participation.

The country has a long history of emphasising psychosocial therapies as the core of alcohol rehab. Its first therapeutic rehab centre built on this premise opened in the late 1970s. In the decades since, psychosocial therapies like cognitive behavioural therapy and motivational interviewing have been at the forefront of substance abuse treatment.

Inpatient Alcohol Rehab in Poland

Inpatient alcohol treatment is offered through a network of private residential clinics located in Poland’s major cities. Residential programmes are classified as either mid-term or long-term, depending on the length of stay. Unlike the longest residential programmes in the United Kingdom (which last up to about 12 weeks) the longest residential treatments in Poland can last up to a year. There are roughly 100 private, residential rehab clinics in the country.

Residential rehab is drug-free rehab whenever possible. This is not to say that Polish doctors and nurses do not use prescription drugs at all; rather, it is to say that the Polish system prefers to use such medications only when absolutely necessary. They prefer the drug-free approach when it is both safe and the better option.

Patients seeking out residential treatment usually pay for it themselves. On the other hand, Poland’s national government funds outpatient treatment through annual grants to local authorities. Whether private health insurance would cover the cost of residential care or not is unclear. Patients would have to consult with their own insurance companies to get an answer.

Detox and Drug Rehab in Poland

There is one very significant difference between drug rehab in Poland and what we observe here in Britain. That difference is in how detox is approached. The Polish system does not consider detox a separate treatment in and of itself. As such, it is rare for those in need of rehab to enrol in a detox-only programme.

In the Polish system, detox is considered just the first step in drug or alcohol rehab. It is one treatment aimed at addressing the physical aspects of addiction, offered alongside other psychiatric and psychosocial treatments that tackle the mental and emotional aspects. The result of this mindset is that rehab in Poland is viewed holistically as a general rule of practice.

The length of detox in Poland is also a bit different. Patients are more likely to undergo treatment in a detox ward for up to 14 days rather than the shorter 5-7 treatment we are more familiar with. Furthermore, detox is provided mainly by public clinics and detox wards before patients begin their psychosocial therapies, whether at inpatient or outpatient facilities.

Aftercare and Rehab in Poland

Finally, the Polish system puts a heavy emphasis on aftercare as a means of preventing relapse. Upon completion of a formal treatment programme, it is expected that recovering addicts will take advantage of ongoing counselling and support group participation. Counselling is offered through the same clinics and via private doctors, psychiatrists, and psychologists.

Support groups can be found across the country as well; many of them offer English-speaking groups to accommodate foreigners looking to participate. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narconon are two of the more recognised support group organisations operating throughout Poland.

Aftercare programmes can run as long as just a few months or up to 18 months when necessary. Aftercare is coordinated and managed through NGOs with government funding at both the national and local level. The length of time an individual patient would participate in aftercare would depend on the person’s needs and progress.

In summary, drug and alcohol rehab in Poland is organised, coordinated among public and private sector partners, and built around the philosophy of psychosocial therapy as the key component in developing permanent abstinence. Polish doctors, psychiatrists, and therapists work together to provide a set of treatments aimed at addressing addiction holistically so as to prevent future relapse.

If you are in need of, or are interested in, alcohol rehab in Poland and have questions about what you have read here, we invite you to contact Addiction Helper through our 24-hour helpline or our website. We are a referral agency offering free assessments, advice, and referrals to inpatient and outpatient rehab clinics in the UK and abroad. We would be happy to help you in your search for appropriate alcohol rehab.