Length of Addiction Treatment
In answering a question as central as “Length of Addiction Treatment” it is important to remember that there is no predetermined length of time for addiction treatment that is judged as ideal or adequate across the board. Individuals going through treatment for drug addiction do so at various speeds. However, it is important to keep in mind that better outcomes have been found with those who undergo drug treatment for longer amounts of time.
If you’re facing an addiction, seeking treatment can be intimidating. You may be wondering what your friends and family will think, how much it will cost and what the length of rehab will be.
There is no single formula for treatment because every form of addiction is unique.
"It’s important to recognize that how you recover from addiction will be different from anyone else’s treatment and recovery."
There are several treatment options to choose from based on your specific need. The general length of rehab programs are:
- 30-day program
- 60-day program
- 90-day program
- Extended programs, such as sober living facilities or halfway houses
When choosing a program, you should focus on what will bring you the highest chance of long-term success. Most addicted individuals need at least three months in treatment to get sober and initiate a plan for continued recovery. Research shows that the best outcomes occur with longer durations of treatment. Lengthier treatment programs can seem intimidating at first, but they may end up bringing you the best results.
How Long does Addiction Treatment Need?
Rehab is about more than overcoming a physical addiction to a substance. Addiction affects many areas of a person’s life, and all of these areas should be addressed in treatment. While it is necessary to eliminate the addictive substance from the body (something that occurs in relatively short order at the start of treatment), it is also necessary to work on the psychological aspect of addiction. The length of time for all forms of addiction treatment can vary. However, studies have shown that a longer stay in rehab can have more benefits and be more successful than shorter treatment, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
"Studies have shown that a longer stay in rehab can have more benefits and be more successful than shorter treatment..."
Rehab programs that are 90 days or longer are beneficial for a number of reasons. People who suffer from addiction need time to cleanse their bodies of the addictive substance the right way. Detoxification (detox) is the first step in the recovery process, and depending on the substance or substances used, there may be medications that can ease the symptoms of withdrawal, making it as safe and comfortable as possible. The detox process is only the first step, and while it allows the individual to safely remove alcohol or drugs from the body, it does not address the underlying issues of addiction.
Another reason a longer rehab program can be beneficial is that it allows individuals who struggle with addiction the opportunity to work on the root causes of the addiction. In order to successfully overcome an addiction, the individual must understand why she is using substances. In contrast with relatively short treatment programs, longer addiction rehab program may provide individuals in treatment with the chance to more deeply explore the factors that contributed to their substance dependence.
Longer addiction rehab programs also allow the patient more time to work with trained professionals to determine the most effective ways for him to understand and cope with his addiction. It can take time to trust staff and open up about issues, and having a longer period of treatment can make this easier. The length and severity of the addiction should also be factored into the length of treatment. The time it takes to explore the reasons behind an addiction is a factor many patients should consider when they are wondering how long rehab takes.
Drug treatment program lengths do vary, not only for each individual but for each treatment facility, as well. While a certain length of stay may be appropriate for one person, it may not be appropriate for another.
Did You Know?
About 2.5 million drug addicts were treated on an inpatient basis in the past year, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
“How Long does Addiction Treatment Need?” is a complex question when examining the different substances as well as the preferences and natural tendencies of people addicted to these substances. Successful recovery could require more than an-encompassing treatment program, showing the importance of treatment for multiple types of addiction. According to the publication Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, published in 1997, relapse for cocaine addiction within a year of treatment happens in 55 percent of people who have undertaken a treatment of 90 days or fewer and 28 percent for those with more than 90 days in treatment. The rates of relapse for general drug use are 53 percent for the fewer-than-90-day treatment period and 19 percent for more than 90 days in treatment.
The length of time for addiction treatment also depends on whether the user:
- Uses multiple drugs
- Is involved in crime
- Has mental health disorders
- Suffers from unemployment
These individuals will benefit from a treatment program that takes more than 90 days.
Treatment retention can be a problem for certain addicts. The level of association with family, friends or colleagues who are drug users or involved in a crime can directly affect this. Sanction or enticement by one’s family, employer or the criminal justice system to get treatment can improve the likelihood of treatment entry and retention. This can also increase an individual’s internal motivation to seek treatment and ultimately change. Other factors associated with increased retention are:
- Having a good relationship with the counselor
- Satisfaction with treatment
- Attending education classes
- Exposure to experienced staff within residential programs
- Attitudes and beliefs about oneself and the future
- Motivation and the feeling of readiness for treatment
The Process Of Getting Treatment
The various treatment programs available mirror the degrees of addiction an individual can have. Try to begin the process of your treatment with realistic expectations. In the life of your addiction, your body chemistry and the wiring in your brain has changed as you have become dependent on the substance. Therefore, the process of getting treatment and reaching long-lasting sobriety may take an extended period of time. The more patient you are with yourself and accepting of the treatment process, the more effective it will be. There are benefits to each program type, and it’s important to take each one into consideration.
The Benefits of A 30-Day Program
A 30-day program is a great way to start treatment. You may not know how long you’ll need to stay in treatment, so this will provide you with insight into whether you should continue into a longer program or not. This program offers you time to get through any physical withdrawal symptoms you may have and will allow you to begin establishing relapse prevention techniques.
"[I went to]Inpatient treatment for two weeks then I did outpatient treatment for 30 days coupled with local AA meetings. My advice to anyone who wants to succeed is to take one day at a time. Don’t think ahead. Listen. Listen. Listen."
It will also be a time to define a course of treatment and aftercare going forward. A 30-day program is easier to commit to because it’s the shortest period of time recommended for rehab. Usually, this also means it’s offered at a lower cost, so many insurance companies will typically cover this type of program.
The Benefits of a 60-Day Program
A 60-day program has the benefit of added time and support through treatment. In this program, you have the time to detox from the substance you’ve become dependent on and therapy sessions are provided to work through any familial, behavioral or situational circumstances that may have contributed to your addictive behavior.
A 60-day program will give you more time to fully detox from drugs or alcohol and also begin to actively practice positive and healthy habits to help you maintain sobriety. Though insurance may not cover the full 60-day program, many rehab facilities offer payment plans that allow you to make smaller monthly payments.
The Benefits of a 90-Day Program
A 90-day program may at first seem intimidating. But as mentioned before, the longer you seek treatment and have support, the higher the chance you will have at maintaining sobriety while in recovery.
"These programs have shown to have the highest success rates of the three."
In this program you will go through intake and evaluation, detox, therapy, self-help groups and set up an aftercare plan. This program is great because it gives you more time to become adjusted to life without drugs or alcohol. You’ll be able to strengthen your skills in resisting any temptations in the future and clearly identify any potential triggers. This program is also recommended for those who have severe or long-term addictions.
Extended Care Options
Sometimes additional care is needed after a 90-day program, or you may want to enter into a more structured home environment while you stabilize your long-term sobriety. There are additional programs available in which you can immerse yourself in a sober living environment. A sober living house is an affordable, drug and alcohol-free environment where you can find support in the peers around you to work through your own recovery plan. This is an additional step available if you aren’t quite ready to go back out into the world yet and need that extra support and structure to learn to be successful with the skills you’ve gained through the program.
Choosing the Best Rehab Center
Most inpatient treatment programs perform extensive evaluations and assessments to determine the personality of patients, the best program for them, their medical history and whether mental health problems are present. These types of evaluations help target the treatment for each individual entering a drug rehabilitation program.
Until a patient is physically stable, rehab is continued. After the initial assessment and a thorough evaluation, patients undertake medically monitored detoxification, if necessary, which can take from three to 14 days, depending on the type and amount of drugs, alcohol or combination of these that the patient has taken.
In answering the question — “How Long does Addiction Treatment Need?” — examine the different types of inpatient and outpatient treatment options available. The different types of programs are:
- Gender-specific treatment centers
- Faith-based therapies
- 12-step and non-12 step programs
- Adult or adolescent offerings
- Wilderness therapies
- Hospital-based options
- Long-term extended-care programs
Different drug treatment program lengths are available for every person needing treatment for drug abuse. To speak to a knowledgeable professional about programs in your area, call us now.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2012). Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (3rd Edition).
Laudet, A.B., Savage, R., and Mahmood, D. (2002). “Pathways to Long-Term Recovery: A Preliminary Investigation.” Journal of Psychoactive Drugs. 34(3): 305-311.