Drug and alcohol rehab in Sweden have come a long way in the last several decades. Back in the 1980s and 90s, Swedish culture was rather intolerant of substance abuse in any form. Treatment programmes were scarce and addicts had trouble getting the medical help they needed. Things began to change at the turn-of-the-century when Swedes started to see addiction and substance abuse through new eyes.

Today, people in need of alcohol or drug rehab in Sweden have numerous options. Between a heavily involved government and significant private sector investment, there are opportunities for both out- and inpatient treatment throughout the country. Furthermore, the Swedish government has enacted a number of social policies that make treatment significantly more accessible.

For example, inpatient rehab is mandatory in certain cases. If officials determine a person must undergo alcohol treatment in order to correct a long-standing problem, there are no other options. Another example is a legal mandate requiring employers to provide rehab if they determine an employee needs it. Employees cannot be terminated as long as they cooperate fully in their own rehabilitation.

Who Runs Alcohol Rehab in Sweden?

Alcohol rehab is provided through a combination of public and private organisations. The majority of care comes directly from municipalities that either offer treatments through local hospitals or non-governmental organisations contracting with local authorities.

It is interesting to note that roughly 80% of all outpatient care is provided directly by municipalities or county councils. Roughly 60% of all inpatient care is provided by municipalities through partnerships with NGOs. Furthermore, when inpatient care is provided, provision is made via privately operated homes at the discretion of local municipalities.

In simple terms, Swedish rehab is a partnership between the public and private sectors. Government agencies oversee both outpatient and inpatient care provided by public funding, even though they may utilise private organisations to provide the actual treatment.

As for private rehab centres operating outside of government partnerships, they function much the same way as they do here in the UK. Private rehab clinics are licenced and certified by local governments, but they offer their own treatments as they see fit. They also provide their own funding by charging patients for treatment.

Does Drug Treatment in Sweden Begins with Detox?

The Swedish system does not designate between alcohol and other drugs for the purposes of treatment. As far as detox is concerned, it is the first step for both alcohol addiction and others involving physical dependence.

Note that drug-free detox is preferred whenever practical. This does not mean that medical professionals avoid prescription medications at all costs, but that they only administer such medications when needed, on a case-by-case basis. Also be aware that detox is the domain of county councils rather than local municipalities. It could be provided at the same residential facility through which the addict will receive therapeutic rehab, or separately in a local hospital before residential treatment begins.

Does Rehab in Sweden Involve Psychosocial Therapies?

The evolution of Swedish rehab has led to a greater emphasis on psychosocial therapies. Such therapies are now a big part of the rehab process. Upon completion of detox, patients are enrolled in therapeutic rehab that focuses heavily on the 12-step philosophy of addiction recovery. In fact, the 12-step philosophy is by far the most utilised recovery model in Sweden.

A typical 12-step recovery programme includes multiple components, beginning with individual counselling. Some of the more common counselling therapies include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), aggression replacement treatment, and motivational interviewing. When treatment is made compulsory by local authorities, that treatment must include these kinds of counselling therapies.

In addition to individual counselling, patients undergo group counselling and shared activities similar to what might be found in a local Alcoholics Anonymous support group. Patients meet on a regular basis to talk about what is happening in their lives and their individual recovery journeys.

Finally, reintegration is a very big part of alcohol rehab in Sweden. The Swedish system understands how important reintegration is to preventing future relapse. This is one of the reasons they require employers to provide rehab and to make every possible effort to reintegrate affected employees back into the workforce at the conclusion of treatment.

Is There Anything Else I Should Know about Rehab in Sweden?

Though most of the zero-tolerance policies that once existed in Sweden have been left in the past, there is one policy that remains in force. The Swedish system shows no tolerance for lateral substance use during the treatment of alcohol or any other drug. In other words, a person being treated for alcohol would not be allowed to use cannabis. If lateral substance abuse is revealed during treatment, the patient would be referred to a more specialised treatment programme designed to deal with both substances simultaneously.

In light of this policy, the likelihood of being treated under a dual diagnosis or lateral use scenario is higher in Sweden than elsewhere in Europe. The result of this policy is that Sweden has developed a rather sophisticated system for treating individuals with dual diagnosis or lateral conditions.

Accessing Rehab in Sweden

If you are currently living in Sweden and desire alcohol rehab through a public-sector or NGO facility, you can contact either an organisation like ours or make an appointment to see your GP. If you are planning to travel to Sweden for treatment, start by calling us here at Addiction Helper.

Sweden is home to a number of private rehab clinics more than willing to accept Britons who want to travel abroad for treatment. We can help you locate the right clinic for your needs and budget. Whatever you do, please do not wait to get treated. Alcohol dependence is not something that will go away by itself. It is a condition requiring medical intervention that includes detox and rehabilitative therapies.

Please note that rehab in Sweden is readily available to anyone who needs it. All that’s required is a willingness to undergo treatment and participate fully in your own rehabilitation. If you are willing to do so, you can overcome your alcohol problems.