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How Long is Rehab?

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One of the most asked questions when it comes to treatment is “how long is drug rehab”? The answer is that addiction treatment can take as long as necessary for your recovery. Below is a look at recommended treatment lengths for inpatient and outpatient treatment.

How Long Do Most Addiction Treatment Programs Last?

Addiction treatment can last anywhere from four weeks to several months. Length depends on factors such as the severity of the addiction, the amount of time it takes to detox, and whether co-occurring disorders are present. Your doctor will use these factors to recommend an ideal program length for you at the time of intake and assessment.

Inpatient treatment programs: at least 90 days

Inpatient treatment programs that last between six and eight weeks are ideal for those with good cognitive abilities. But 90 days is optimal for those who must go through a long detox phase before beginning behavioral therapy, or for those who need help adapting to a healthier lifestyle and new routines. Programs that last 28 days are also available. But treatment programs of this length may be less effective at treating substance use disorders in full.

Outpatient treatment programs: at least 12 months

Outpatient treatments are generally slower moving and tend to last longer. They allow you to live at home and visit the treatment center several hours each week to receive medication and behavioral therapies. For instance, outpatient methadone maintenance therapy for opioid addiction tends to last a minimum of 12 months.

Why Is Longer Treatment Recommended?

Addiction treatment programs that last a minimum of 90 days are generally recommended since shorter programs are shown to have limited effectiveness. Extended treatment programs offer countless benefits for those who want to restore their physical and mental health. They allow you to develop new, healthy lifestyles that leave no room for drug and alcohol abuse.

Longer programs give you enough time to overcome physical dependence on drugs and alcohol. They also provide time to normalize brain chemistry affected by substance abuse. Long-term programs focus on individual and group therapies that teach you skills for identifying and avoiding triggers that commonly lead to relapse. If you have broken relationships due to addiction, marital and family therapies are available at some centers to help the healing process. Other therapies available through long rehab programs include 12-step support groups, cognitive behavioral therapy, and community reinforcement.

Why is Addiction Treatment Viewed as a Process?

Addiction treatment is a process and journey that can take many years. Relapse rates for drug use disorders are between 40% and 60%. This means many people may need long-term or repeated care to overcome addiction. Most addiction treatment centers offer aftercare and extended care programs to provide ongoing counseling, behavioral therapy, and support to those who need continued care.

Support group and 12-step meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous are available in nearly every city to help you build a stronger support system after becoming sober. Mutual support programs connect you with peers who can motivate you and hold you accountable for your sobriety. Attending support group meetings is an ideal way to continue learning and applying new life skills that help you stay sober.

How Long Will My Treatment Take?

Customizable treatment plans allow you to recover at a pace that works best for you. Finding the right program length is key to a successful recovery. Programs that are too short may not be long enough to allow you to make permanent, healthy changes. Treatment programs that are too long may not benefit everyone recovering from addiction. Patients may become accustomed to a controlled environment and fear integration back into society.

You and your treatment team can determine the length of your treatment program. No matter which program length you choose, your treatment should never end abruptly. Instead, it should transition smoothly into programs that allow you to continue receiving ongoing support or treatment in some form. If your treatment begins with a 60-day inpatient program, talk to your treatment team about transitioning to an outpatient program. This will allow you to continue attending behavioral therapy and support group meetings one or more times per week.

Speaking to an addiction treatment specialist can help you find the best program. Inpatient and outpatient programs are available to everyone who needs help overcoming addiction. Call to find out if your insurance covers addiction treatment.

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