How Long Does Drug Rehab Usually Last?

The amount of time an addict spends in a drug rehab really depends on a variety of factors. Once an addict checks in to a treatment facility, they will be examined by a doctor to determine the magnitude of their situation. From there, a custom treatment program will be designed for the addict to utilize in order to begin recovery.

Overview of Addiction and the Necessity of Treatment

Addiction is a brain disease that requires medical treatment just as does any other medical disease. Here is why: addiction impacts several brain circuits including those involving motivation and the reward system. It also affects the learning, memory and control over one’s behavior. While a person initially chooses to use substances, over time the drug’s exposure to the brain compromises the individual’s ability to make choices. Substance abuse becomes an obsessive need to seek out and consume, in essence, an addiction that now requires treatment.

Addiction impacts each area of one’s life after taking control in one’s mind and functioning. Dysfunctional behaviors commonly result from substance abuse, which gets in the way of normal interaction within a work-place, or social community and even in families. Addiction is multi-dimensional and fully disruptive to one’s life, getting effective treatment is by no means simple. Treatment that is effective often incorporates a vast range of components that address the chronic illness as well as its overall consequences.

Spending a good amount of time in treatment for addiction will help an individual stop using drugs or drinking alcohol, as well as maintain a happy and positive substance free life. Treatment for addiction is comprehensive in addressing all issues faced by a drug addict. It will help return an individual go back to being productive within society, family and work.


Does the Length of Stay in Rehab Matter?

Yes, the length of time someone stays in treatment does matter significantly. Because addiction is a chronic illness, most often, an individual can’t just quit using or drinking for a couple days and recover.  Alcoholics and drug addicts often require multiple episodes of care or treatment. However, if willing to commit to long-term inpatient residential treatment, the rate of maintained abstinence is greatly increased.

The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) claims that most individuals who struggle with addiction need at minimum, three months of treatment to make any significant difference in reducing or stopping their substance use altogether. Achieving recovery that lasts a life time is not easy task, however, it is possible with the right amount and degree of care. Unfortunately, there is not a cure for addiction, however addiction can be successfully managed.

With the right amount of time spent in treatment, an individual does not have to be disturbed by the illness of addiction and can continue living life on their own terms. The most appropriate length of treatment is dependent on the individual’s needs and issues. Similarly, the longer an individual receives services within a treatment setting, the better the outcome of recovery from addiction. Addiction recovery is an extensive process and includes many complex components to be successful. Overall, an individual remaining in addiction treatment for a proper amount of time is critical to treatment and recovery success.

The Amount of Time in Treatment and its Effects on Sobriety

Addiction is a chronic illness that has shown high rates of relapse. The relapse rates of addiction are quite identical to the rates of other chronic illnesses, including, asthma, diabetes and hypertension. Committing to long-term residential treatment allows many individuals to move past living in an active addiction. Long-term treatment allows the necessary healing at a deeper level than is achievable in a short-term treatment setting. Programs dependent upon Cognitive Behavioral Therapy require at least 3 months to retrain the brain.

Although treatment for an extended amount of time is not easy, it is far worth the commitment. Getting treatment for enough time to carefully look at and address any underlying causes for addiction, triggering thoughts or situations, and the potential to address any additional mental health disorders is vital to being successful in recovery from addiction. NIDA research also claims that individuals who get treatment for addiction over a significant amount of time and remain in treatment, often times stop using substances altogether.

Also these individuals have been found to have a decline in the amount of criminal activity and also shown improvement in social, occupational and psychological functioning. If addiction has been a progressive and present problem in your everyday living, getting sober may seem like your only option left. Getting treatment for addiction in aims to have recovery that lasts a lifetime is possible, however will most likely require extensive treatment and care.

For many individuals living with addiction, the lifestyle was no longer serving them and was not an option any longer. The individuals in long-term sobriety and recovery from addiction, committed to not starting over. Addiction is chronic and commonly a disease of relapse, which involved constantly having to start over. You can put your foot down and refuse to start over, just like many of us have.


How Effective is Addiction Treatment?

Treatment for addiction is the more effective than it has ever been. Treatment programs today are based off of extensive research and evidence-based, scientific methods to ensure a genuine, solid chance at a life-long recovery from addiction. Effective treatment offers individuals the appropriate tools to counteract the side effects of addiction. It can help stop the disrupting and unpleasant effects that addiction has on an individual mind and behaviors.

Obtaining the ability to cease substance abuse is only one part of a large process. The pathway to recovery is complex and long, however, getting back the control of your life is possible. Often times, when initially beginning treatment, addiction has taken over all control in one’s life. Constant, obsessive thoughts about substances have begun to debilitate living any sense of a regular life. Addiction often takes over all areas, claiming priority over anything or anyone else in an individual’s life.

Addiction is also a cause of other serious illnesses, physical and mental. Treatment must be designed to meet an individual’s current needs, as well as, changing needs. Additionally, if treatment is not easily accessible and adjusted to the specifics of an individual seeking treatment, the effectiveness is lessened. No two individuals are the same, so treatment should not be outlined in one way. Getting effective treatment for recovery from addiction is simple, it’s getting to treatment that can present difficulty.

What is Treatment?

Treatment for addiction is aimed to support individuals with an addiction to quit the cycle of compulsive substance use and seeking. Treatment takes place in many different settings and can take various forms, as well as, last for a variety of different time lengths. Treatment for addiction, which is a chronic medical disorder, requires extensive care to address and individual’s needs in all aspects. There are several evidence based methods and approached to treating this disorder.

Treatment for addiction often includes behavioral therapies, such as, contingency management, cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical-behavioral therapy and many more. Treatment also includes a combination of these therapies with medication and clinical supervision. Each type of treatment will be specified depending on an individual’s personal needs as well as what substances they were addicted to.


Typical Length of Treatment for Addiction

Every individual progresses through treatment for addiction at different rates. There is ultimately no predetermined length of time in treatment for individuals with addiction. There are many different treatment options for someone to choose from. The most common treatments are: short-term inpatient treatment, long-term residential treatment and intensive outpatient treatment.

Short term residential is quite similar to inpatient treatment programs. Short-term inpatient treatment is typically from one to three months, or 30, 60 and 90 days. Long-term residential treatment is known to last from six months to a year or even multiple years. Outpatient is not as extensive as either of the inpatient treatment options.

Research from the NIDA shows that positive treatment outcomes are equally connected to the amount of time spent in treatment. For inpatient and outpatient programs, participating for less than a 90-day time period is off little effectiveness. If treatment for addiction is to be successful, individuals need to stay in treatment for a significantly longer amount of time.

Short Term Residential Treatment

Treatment programs for addiction that are short-term and residential offer brief treatment at an intensive level. Short-term treatment is usually modified to approach a 12-step model program. The original residential model of treatment consisted of a length of only one to two months, which was typically based in a hospital setting of inpatient. When completing care in an inpatient treatment setting, individuals often follow up with extensive treatment through an outpatient program.

Continuing care with outpatient programs also includes becoming involved in self-support groups such as 12-step meetings. Going to 12-step meetings helps to lessen the risk of relapsing after leaving the inpatient care setting.

Long-Term Residential Treatment?

Treatment that is long-term and residential provides 24-hour care. This type of treatment is generally not in to hospital-like setting. The number one type of residential treatment model is known as therapeutic communities.

This type of methods allows individuals to go into their sobriety and confidently achieve recovery. The length of stay often times is around 6 to 12 months. Long-term treatment helps individuals reintegrate into a social setting with a recovery supportive community.

Since addiction is viewed to impact an individual’s psychological and social aspects of living, treatment for an extensive amount of time helps those with addiction to break free and learn how to live life efficiently without substances.

Long-term treatment is the basis for comprehensive treatment, due to the length of time, individuals are able to have a more fulfilling recovery process. Being able to address a multitude of external and internal issues, individuals who get treatment in a long-term residential setting are more often able to move on from treatment and never look back.

Long-term residential treatment is great at fulling helping individuals overcome barriers and prevent relapse to the strongest degree. When an individual is committed to achieving recovery from addiction long-term treatment will help provide the desired freedom from the chronic illness of addiction.

What Are Therapeutic Communities?

Much like the standard long-term residential treatment, therapeutic communities are a residential living for treatment people with addiction and substance use disorders. Although, therapeutic communities specifically, have been researched and recognized by the NIDA, to be the most effect form of treatment for addiction.

The very first therapeutic community known of was a residential rehab community, called, Synanon. Synanon was originally founded in the state of California in 1958.

Throughout the 1960s, the beginning approach of therapeutic communities was discovered and spread through numerous areas within the United States. Today the approach of therapeutic communities has been widely adopted and is utilized in more than sixty-five countries throughout the world.

Therapeutic communities differ from the standard long-term treatment in the aspect that they are able to modify treatment methods and approaches to meet individuals with specialized needs.

Specialized treatment needs reflect around individuals with the following issues: pregnant women, individuals with disabilities and seriously mentally ill individuals as well. However, these individuals are not the only types of specialized treatment needs.

There are many different ways in which individuals will need a modification of treatment services. Therapeutic communities are fully supportive to individuals dealing with co-occurring disorders and are open to treatment individuals with medications for addiction and additional psychiatric disorder, where as in past years, this type of treatment approach did not welcome the idea of assistance through medications.

In order to meet the needs of individuals seeking treatment, therapeutic communities have incorporated professionals, rather than being peer-run. The professional staff are fully licensed, experience and certified in supporting addiction treatment. Additionally, more than half of professional staff persons in therapeutic communities are in recovery from addiction themselves.

Recovery Housing

Recovery housing is often referred to as sober living or transitional living. Recovery housing is a short-term residential environment for individuals, which often follows more extensive treatment. Many individuals go into recovery housing after completing a short-term inpatient treatment program or even long-term residential treatment. Recovery housing helps individuals transition into independent living, without chaos and stress of being fresh out of treatment for addiction.

A few things recovery housing is known to help with are: vocational services, such as, school and employment; learning how to take care of finances and financial obligations; and also how to access any resources within the community that are available to them. Recovery housing is known to show great results if pursued after initial treatment completion. Going into a recovery housing environment after inpatient and residential treatment offers individuals an increased chance of success at maintaining recovery for a life time.

Individuals who go into recovery housing are known to have inclined stability with emotions as well as finances. Individuals that live in recovery housing for over a year have lessen chance of relapsing to substance use. In addition to recovery housing, those who actively attend and join recovery support groups such as 12-step meetings have higher likeness of continuous sobriety and recovery from addiction. Recovery housing usually requires individuals to attend many recovery support groups each week.


Aftercare is recommended upon completing any kind of treatment for addiction. Aftercare is important for maintaining stability and self-sufficiency in recovery. When getting sober, life can feel very overwhelming and stressful. Getting out of treatment for addiction, may seem intimidating and way too much too stand. This is why aftercare is suggested as a part of your recovery program and path.

Aftercare options are wide in range; some individuals go to outpatient for continuing care after completing inpatient or resident treatment. Additional options are recovery housing, 12-step groups and therapy. Aftercare supports your transition back into living, which should be priority and in a positive light.

Helping Someone Stay in Treatment

Due to a common ending of treatment services on a premature basis, programs are being directed to implement strategies to keep individuals in treatment and actively engages. Treatment success outcomes do depend on an individual’s ability and willingness to pursue treatment with a stay long enough to receive all benefits.

This is why implementing strategies to keep individuals in treatment services is so important. An individual’s stay length in treatment depends of various factors associated with the program offered as well as the individual. The program factors include: clinical treatment plans are carefully designed and followed; the expectations of treatment are understood fully; social, psychiatric and medical care should definitely also be inclusive.

An individual’s factors that affect one length of stay in treatment are often similar to: engagement in services; ability to retain information; motivation for changes; support systems; employers; family, pressure from a criminal justice system, and child protective services. As a solution, clinicians should offer plans of transition to less intensive care after a period of time in intensive addiction treatment.

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