Drug & Alcohol Use In Portugal

As one of the oldest nation-states in Europe, Portugal has its own colourful history of drug and alcohol addiction.

While it boasts exciting festivals, a beautiful coastline and eclectic cuisine, Portugal nevertheless harbours a rising amount of substance use disorders among its population.

Addiction Statistics In Portugal


In 2019, The World Health Organisation (WHO) published its set of worrying findings regarding Portugal’s number of Alcohol Use Disorders (AUD).

In addition to an above-average alcohol consumption, the year 2016 saw 3,486 deaths that were attributed to hazardous drinking, alongside an AUD prevalence of 6.8%.

According to an OECD report published in May 2021, men in Portugal consume 19.4 litres of pure alcohol per year, while women consume 5.6 litres.

Among the 50 OECD countries that took part in the study, the average consumption was 10 litres per year – pointing to a worrying rise in Portugal’s problematic drinkers.

Symptoms of addiction

Moreover, the same study has predicted the long-term impact that Portugal’s current drinking trends will have on health and average life expectancy.

Over the next 30 years, experts have estimated that the country will see its life expectancy reduce by one year due to alcohol-related injuries and illness.

In contrast, Portugal’s drug policy has been making clear societal gains since the decriminalization of drugs in 2001.

Support Group

This has meant that those caught possessing or using drugs are penalized by panels consisting of social workers, drug experts and clinicians.

Instead of being incarcerated, addicted individuals are referred to treatment programmes at a drug and alcohol rehab in Portugal.

Such policies have been instrumental in countless individuals starting their addiction recovery, as opposed to being criminalized.

Holding Hands

However, despite these forward-thinking measures, illicit drug use remains a poignant issue in Portuguese society, with tragedy affecting more communities each year.

Deaths as a result of drug overdoses in Portugal increased by 30% in 2018 and reached 55 in 2019,which is the highest figure since decriminalization laws came into effect.

What Is Alcohol Addiction?

With its reputation as a coveted tourist destination and a place where millions go to let their hair down each year, Portugal has a well-established drinking culture.

However, a once recreational habit has become a worrying addiction for many, giving rise to legitimate medical condition.

While known colloquially to many as “alcoholism”, alcohol addiction is now understood to be a brain disorder of either mild, moderate or acute severity.

Those with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) cannot control or stop their alcohol use despite the adverse health, social or occupational consequences.

Addiction brain

While it was traditionally thought that addicted individuals could control this process, the medical community has disproved this narrative.

Alcohol over-use causes lasting changes in the brain that make victims vulnerable to relapse, specifically targeting our neurological reward centre.

Drinking causes chemical changes in the brain that increase the euphoric “high” associated with drinking.

As time goes on, an individual’s tolerance will increase and they must drink more alcohol to achieve the same effect.

Man exhausted

What’s more, if they suddenly cease consumption altogether or even take a short break from drinking, they’ll benign to feel physical or mental symptoms known as withdrawal.

Therefore, drinking becomes the desperate compulsion to override withdrawal and access the pleasurable feelings associated with alcohol.

If you’re concerned about your alcohol consumption, or how much a loved one is drinking, it can be useful to quantify someone’s intake.

Clinical guidelines state that an individual drinking 14 units or more per week is exhibiting problematic behaviour.

In terms of drinks, a single unit can be a small glass of wine or half a pint of medium-strength lager.

Here at Rehab 4 Alcoholism, we understand that each alcohol addiction looks different, and each person is deserving of individualised treatment.

By calling us on +44 345 222 3509, you’ll be one step closer to finding an optimal drug and alcohol rehab in Portugal.

What Is A Drug And Alcohol Rehab?


Mostly, the term rehabilitation is used to describe the process of recovering from a substance use disorder, and its abbreviated form rehab refers to the place someone goes to receive structured treatment.

These programmes are offered in a variety of formats at a drug and alcohol rehab in Portugal, and are the first crucial step made by those wishing to recover.

Typically, there are two types of long-term treatment options offered to patients: inpatient or outpatient care.

An inpatient at rehab will reside on-site in what’s known as a residential programme.

Support groups

They’ll remain in the clinic for the duration of their programme – usually around 28 days – before returning home with an aftercare regime to attend.

During structured treatment, patients will encounter three crucial phases: detoxification, psychotherapy and post-rehab support.

Within this format, daily schedules will vary according to the needs of each individual.

However, each routine is designed to optimize healing and reinforce their ability to resist cravings.

Recovery Groups

This includes implementing a series of therapy sessions, meditations, exercises and nutritional support, to name a few.

While inpatient rehab is optimal for many, patients with mild addictions may be prescribed an outpatient programme.

Such individuals will remain living at home and will travel to attend therapy appointments at a drug and alcohol rehab in Portugal.

Staging An Intervention For A Loved One In Portugal

Group Therapy

As substance use disorder isn’t an easy condition to treat, addicted individuals often lack the motivation to seek help via a drug and alcohol rehab in Portugal.

They might also become stuck in the denial phase, wherein the reality of their addiction is too much to face.

These cases are all too common, and cause family members throughout Portugal a great deal of pain.

Fortunately, reaching an addicted loved one and encouraging them to seek treatment is possible through staging an intervention.


Orchestrated by concerned family members, an intervention is a formal attempt to guide an addicted person towards structured treatment.

This process can be optimised by seeking the expertise of an interventionist, typically a professional already working at a drug and alcohol rehab in Portugal.

An interventionist will not only organise the intervention, they will also support, educate and provide direction for the intervention participants.

This means sympathetically encouraging the addicted individual to take personal accountability by listening to the concerns of their loved ones.


Family in field

They will also use carefully designed intervention frameworks, such as CRAFT.

The CRAFT method teaches families to understand their addicted loved one, rather than pressure them into accepting treatment.

This means using motivational therapy to understand a person’s triggers and what led them to substance use in the first place.

Private VS Public Treatment For Addiction In Portugal

Women talking

As with many other European countries, the healthcare system in Portugal is divided into public and private services, and these are the two main options for addiction treatment.

Expats or citizens looking to recover from SUD can choose a private drug and alcohol rehab in Portugal, or go through a public health centre.

While each style of treatment has its associated pros and cons, the standard of care will be high wherever you choose.

With this being said, it’s important to carefully weigh up Portugal’s treatment options in light of your specific circumstances.

Doctor consultation

Otherwise known as The Servico Nacional de Suade (SNS), Portugal’s public health system can be accessed by foreigners living and working in the country, as well as Portuguese citizens.

While not completely free, addiction treatment is subsidised by the government and carried out in Triage wards or at a drug and alcohol rehab in Portugal.

This financial protection is perhaps the greatest advantage of receiving treatment through the SNS.

While patients will need to pay a small fee for seeing a doctor or specialist, the majority of addiction therapy is free.

Doctor with clipboard

This makes rehabilitation accessible for a greater number of those in need.

Usually, those receiving care through the SNS for their addiction will do so as an outpatient– with residential rehab provided for severe cases.

Outpatient treatment at a drug and alcohol rehab in Portugal is often optimal for mild substance use disorders, as it allows individuals to continue their routines uninterrupted.

Moreover, many doctors and specialists work in both the private and public sectors.

This means that oftentimes, those accessing SNS treatment will receive the same high-quality standard of care as inpatients at a private drug and alcohol rehab in Portugal.

Watch in sand

However, despite being ranked the 13th best national health service in Europe, addiction treatment through the SNS is not without its flaws.

Among these are longer waiting times to see a specialist and the disadvantages of outpatient treatment.

Returning home in between therapy appointments can be disastrous for many victims of SUD, as it leaves them vulnerable to encountering triggers and subsequently relapsing.

Living room

Therefore, it’s recommended that those with moderate to severe addictions seek private treatment at a drug and alcohol rehab in Portugal.

Paying for a private treatment programme gives clients access to comprehensive, residential care.

Inpatients will reside on-site at their clinic of choice, meaning they’ll be taken far away from triggers in their home environment.

Adventure Therapy

They’ll be able to focus entirely on their recovery, without having to worry about exterior influences.

Moreover, clients will experience shorter waiting times and won’t have to wait for an appointment to become available.

Instead, they can be admitted to the rehab of their choice within 24 hours.

Man with pen

From the moment they check into a private clinic in Portugal, to the moment they check out and beyond, clients will receive personalised treatment for their SUD.

This means that the fine details of their care plan will have been designed by specialists to suit their individual needs.

Unburdened by increasing demand and more limited funding, a private drug and alcohol rehab in Portugal can prioritise bespoke care for each client.

This is especially important for those with co-occurring disorders such as mental health illness, who require additional specialist care.

How Much Does A Private Rehab In Portugal Cost?

Cost of rehab

Despite its numerous advantages, private addiction treatment can require considerable funds.

Though notoriously cheaper than the cost of residential care in the UK, France, or Italy, private rehab in Portugal comes with its price tag.

On average, those opting for a 28-day stay at a drug and alcohol rehab in Portugal will pay upwards of €5,000.

This figure can rise significantly to between €10-15,000 depending on how luxurious the facilities are and where the clinic is located.


Patients can expect to pay more for a sough-after, coastal location in Portugal, or if they opt for single-occupancy accommodation.

As such, it’s possible to trim the cost by selecting multi-occupancy accommodation, or a location away from beauty spots and tourism.

Moreover, it’s possible to access financial reimbursement if you have private health insurance.

Group with notes

Alternatively, many private clinics provide payment plans on a sliding scale basis.

For expert guidance from a non-judgemental team, simply call the Rehab 4 Alcoholism team on +44 345 222 3509.

Rehab For Alcohol In Portugal

Severe Addiction

AUD is one of the biggest worldwide killers each year, with over 3 million deaths directly attributable to hazardous drinking.

Unfortunately, there are countless victims in need of specialist treatment at drug and alcohol rehab in Portugal.

In a country where alcohol addiction is treated the same as any other chronic disease, there are a plethora of research-led treatment programmes available.

Due to the embedded physical and psychological addictions many people with AUD face, experts suggest spending between 30-60 days rehabilitating.


While many rehab clinics have different treatment specialities, the first phase of rehabilitation is the same across the board and consists of medicated detox.

To alleviate withdrawal symptoms and prevent the body from going into shock, patients suffering from AUD must gradually reduce their alcohol intake in a clinical setting.

Patients at a drug and alcohol rehab in Portugal will spend around 10-14 days detoxing and ensuring they are mentally and physically stable before beginning therapy.

A specialist team of clinicians and psychiatrists will be on call 24/7 to monitor each patient’s wellbeing, and deal with any withdrawal symptoms that arise.

Medicated detox

Pharmacological intervention often includes drugs like Naltrexone.

This opioid antagonist is also used to combat heroin withdrawal, as it helps patients manage their cravings and compulsion to seek out physically addictive drugs.

Naltrexone inhibits cravings by blocking the euphoric feelings or “high” that people experience after consuming alcohol.

This prevents patients from feeling the intense need to seek out alcohol, as they know it won’t have the same effect.


Following the stabilization phase of detox, victims of AUD will spend the rest of their treatment programme tackling the cause or causes of their addiction.

Psychotherapies for alcohol addiction are carried out in both one-to-one and group formats to foster a complete recovery.

Talking therapies such as CBT are proven methods of tackling the behavioural component of alcohol addiction.


It teaches subjects how to manage their urges to drink by changing their attitudes, thoughts and behaviours.

In addition to behavioural intervention, patients at rehab for alcohol encounter a range of both medical and holistic support.

Motivational Interviewing techniques help keep morale high, while group support sessions provide essential camaraderie.

Rehab For Cocaine In Portugal


Cocaine is notorious not only among the partying culture of countries the world over, but for its fierce addictive potential.

While cocaine was included in the government’s decriminalization of illicit drugs, communities continue to be affected by its debilitating addictions- with many requiring treatment via a drug and alcohol rehab in Portugal.

Thankfully, there are many treatments and alternative therapies which have been proven to help those struggling with cocaine addiction.

Here at Rehab 4 Alcoholism, one of our consultants will help you find a suitable clinic in Portugal with a range of programmes best suited to your needs.


In treatment, patients will undergo a professionally supervised detox before learning how to avoid relapse through various therapies.

To complete a full programme and tackle the psychological components of their cocaine dependency, patients should spend at least 30-days in rehab.

The initial detoxification period shouldn’t be rushed, and it usually takes around 10 days for patients to safely reduce cocaine levels in the body.

This slow reduction limits the risk of developing psychological withdrawal symptoms, for which cocaine is notorious.

Woman exhausted

Those suffering from cocaine-induced withdrawal are likely to experience:

  • Depressive symptoms
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Paranoia

However, as inpatients at a drug and alcohol rehab in Portugal, they’ll receive the clinical and emotional support needed to stabilize.

Those suffering from pre-existing emotional distress or co-occurring mental disorders may be prescribed medication to assist with their symptoms.

These include SSRIs to balance serotonin production in the brain, or Beta-Blockers to relieve anxiety.

Women talking

After completing their personalised detox, patients will begin psychotherapy under the supervision of their counsellor.

Behavioural therapy programmes target the neurological changes that frequent cocaine use instils, and help patients relearn positive behaviours.

Alongside behavioural interventions such as CBT and DBT, patients at a rehab for cocaine often benefit from Motivational Enhancement as a complementary therapy.

In these sessions, patients will form their personal recovery goals and talk over any negative feelings or doubts they may be experiencing with a non-judgemental therapist.

Rehab For Cannabis In Portugal


Despite its mainstream use in society, cannabis over-use leads to more and more addictions each year.

While not physical in nature, these psychological dependencies are nevertheless worthy of care at a drug and alcohol rehab in Portugal.

Those looking to attend rehab for cannabis will have tried ceasing consumption, but find they cannot without experiencing severe cravings or mental withdrawal.


If this behaviour resonates with you or someone you love, now is the time to act.

Depending on your severity, our experts at Rehab 4 Alcoholism can organise your place in an outpatient or inpatient treatment programme.

These typically begin with either a residential detox or supervised home detox to help patients flush toxins from their system.


Once patients have safely detoxed and are ready to pursue long-term sobriety, a range of psychotherapies will become available.

The self-evaluation methods provided in CBT are often beneficial for those dealing with cannabis addiction.

CBT therapy will help patients craft a solid relapse prevention plan and re-learn how to live a positive, healthy life post-rehab.

Rehab For Heroin In Portugal


Anyone who has been affected by heroin dependency, either directly or indirectly, can testify to the devastating nature of opioid addictions.

While recovery can seem impossible at times, recovering from heroin use disorder is achievable, and a variety of treatment options are available.

To make a full recovery, those with a heroin addiction must undergo intensive residential care at a drug and alcohol rehab in Portugal.

Addicted individuals will spend between 28 days and 6 months in their rehab of choice, depending on how long they take to detox thoroughly.


While detox is a crucial phase in any addiction treatment, it is particularly important when dealing with severe, potentially fatal opioid dependencies.

Someone’s detox timeline will depend on the presence of any co-occurring disorders, the specific potency of their last heroin dose, and so on.

With such a high risk of both physical and mental withdrawal symptoms, it’s no wonder that many patients receive medical intervention.

Doctor with clipboard

Specialists may prescribe the temporary use of partial opiates like Buprenorphine.

This opioid antagonist acts as a heroin substitute for the worst week of detox and prevents the very worst symptoms.

Alongside symptom management, patients detoxing from heroin will reap the benefits of high-standard, comfortable facilities, nutritional support and emotional wellbeing checks.

At a drug and alcohol rehab in Portugal, the goal isn’t just to get addicted individuals into sobriety, but to help them stay there.

Man rock climbing

After detox, such programmes typically combine behavioural intervention, holistic therapy and motivational incentives.

Each form of treatment is carefully customised to suit each patient’s heroin use history, past life events, and any co-occurring disorders.

What Styles Of Therapy Are On Offer At Rehab In Portugal?


Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy works with the relationships between cognition, behaviours, and emotions.

It’s thought that addicted individuals harbour negative behaviours and dysfunctional thoughts that feed into their addictive disorder.

These are further broken down into the categories of cognitive distortions, automatic thoughts, and underlying beliefs or attitudes.

Automatic thoughts are our first response to something, and can be unrealistic or exaggerated.

Individual therapy

These in turn lead to cognitive distortions – errors in logic that pervade interactions such as catastrophising or dichotomous thinking.

These can lead to self-damaging belief systems, affecting how we see both ourselves and others.

In light of this, CBT aims to identify and change this vicious cognitive cycle.

At a drug and alcohol rehab in Portugal, CBT therapists teach patients to cope with their daily triggers and stressors, while getting to the bottom of their SUD.

Holding hands

Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT)

Derived from the key principles of CBT, DBT is a dynamic, communication-based therapy that instead focuses on improving emotional health.

DBT workshops help subjects overcome their substance-using behaviours through healing their fractured emotional health.

As such, DBT is incredibly effective when treating patients with trauma-related substance addictions.

To overcome these emotions and move forward, DBT therapists teach a combination of change and acceptance.

Sessions draw on mindfulness techniques to acknowledge negative emotions before allowing them to pass.

These workshops can be completed on a one-to-one basis, or in group sessions at a drug and alcohol rehab in Portugal.


Family Therapy (FBT)

FBT is a form of therapeutic intervention aiming to heal the familial rifts caused by substance use disorder.

Sessions take place at a rehab clinic and attempt to use a family’s strengths and resources to reunite them as a supportive network.

Each family network is assigned a therapist specialising in communication and group dynamics.

Family in field

They’ll help them to work through their problems, mainly through education and finding better ways to interact with their addicted loved ones.

Styles of therapy that utilise a patient’s support network are often vital in facilitating long-term recovery.

Not only does FBT help the individual in treatment regain support, but it also helps family members to heal from their loved one’s addiction and past behaviours.

Woman on horse

Holistic Therapy (HT)

While holistic therapy cannot cure addiction by itself, such alternative therapeutic methods are effective tools when it comes to improving mental and physical health.

Originating from the Greek word “helos” meaning “whole”, holistic therapy’s main goal is to unite a patient’s body, mind and spirit.

HT emphasises that making a full recovery from SUD is more likely when you achieve an equilibrium between these three components of health.


In rehab for addiction, HT participants are encouraged to start a new hobby, begin eating healthily or take up a new form of exercise.

Such positive activities help stimulate the mind and increase dopamine levels.

Some popular examples of Holistic Therapy include yoga, mediation workshops, martial arts, cooking classes, and equine therapy.

Getting Help Today

Person with phone

By admitting that you have an addiction, you have already taken the first step towards recovery.

The second step is to reach out for professional support.

At Rehab 4 Alcoholism, we will ensure that you find the right drug and alcohol rehab in Portugal for your unique requirements.

Once you take those first few steps, you’ve begun the journey towards a happier, healthier and longer life.

Featured Drug and Alcohol Rehabs in Drug & Alcohol Use In Portugal

There are various types of rehab centres available in Drug & Alcohol Use In Portugal, including inpatient alcohol rehab, luxury alcohol rehab, and private drug rehabs.

Inpatient Rehab


Medical Detox