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American Addiction Centers National Rehabs Directory

Addiction Rehab: Length of Stay

Many people seeking help for substance misuse often find themselves typing “drug and alcohol rehab near me” into a search engine when they first reach out to change their lives. Unsure of what rehab is and all that it entails, it is normal to have questions about where to go and what to expect regarding rehab length.

Rehab facilities vary in what they offer and how long their programs last. Before entering treatment, most people ask, “How long does rehab last?” The amount of time a person stays in treatment may be unique based on his or her specific needs.

This article will provide an overview of the different types of rehab centers and what happens while you’re there. We also look at what influences the length of stay and help you figure out which rehabilitation program is right for you.

What Is Addiction Rehab?

Drug rehabilitation and addiction treatment services exist to help individuals with substance use disorder (SUD) break free from the confines of addiction and begin their journey toward lifelong recovery.1 Services for addiction treatment come in many forms, including outpatient therapy, inpatient rehab, medication management, and more. A single form of treatment is usually not sufficient to overcome addiction, as it is a complex, chronic disorder.1,2 It isn’t as easy as just quitting, and it isn’t a moral failing. Addiction is a serious medical disease that impacts the brain’s function and structure, but it is treatable with the right support.1

Addiction treatment is a long-term process that involves various interventions and methods of care, including a plan for aftercare. A person may enter multiple programs before finding the right equation of recovery. For some, detox and long-term residential rehabilitation may be the best course of treatment. For others, the best treatment may look like a short-term rehab stay followed by outpatient therapy. Either way, outcomes are best when treatment extends for 3 months or more, and it is critical that each person be matched with the right program that attends to his or her needs.1

Rehab services for addiction provide support from trained staff, can attend to mental health issues alongside treatment for substance use, and can provide the tools that are needed to build a drug-free life. Rehabilitation benefits the mind, body, and overall lifestyle of the person in treatment by providing new ways to manage life circumstances and teaching effective coping skills.

Detox is frequently the first stop along the path of addiction treatment. It is sometimes a necessary step for people struggling with acute intoxication and withdrawal as it may prevent life-threatening complications.3 The length of stay at a detox center will depend on factors like what substances were used, and frequency and duration of use.

How Long Is Drug and Alcohol Rehab?

Ultimately, the length of rehab depends on the person engaging in services.1 Upon intake, trained staff assist with developing a treatment plan that is tailored to each patient. A treatment plan is based on a person’s mental health, physical conditions, medical history, family dynamics, and severity of use, among other factors.4

Some inpatient stays are considered short-term rehab and can last from 28 to 30 days, while others are considered long-term rehab and last for 60 days to 90 days or longer, depending on the person’s level of need, treatment goals, and the program’s structure. Studies have shown that a longer stay in rehab can have more benefits and be more successful than shorter treatment.1

Benefits and Effectiveness of Longer-Term Rehab Programs

Rehab programs that are 90 days or longer are beneficial for a number of reasons. First, people who suffer from addiction need time to cleanse their bodies of the addictive substance the right way. Detoxification 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.

Another reason a longer rehab program can be beneficial is because 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 they are using substances. In contrast with relatively short treatment programs, longer addiction rehab programs 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 them to understand and cope with their 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. Many treatment facilities typically offer patients short-term stays between 28 to 30 days. However, certain residential facilities may also offer extended stays for an additional fee, provided the patient is showing positive signs of recovery.

What Is Addiction Rehab Like?

Inpatient and residential drug and alcohol treatment programs require that the patient live at the center as a resident. This is so that support can be provided at any time. Committing to a rehab stay means spending time away from work, school, and other obligations until treatment is completed.

A typical day in inpatient rehab will likely be highly structured. Mornings, afternoons, and evenings may look the same from day to day to create a stable routine. Each day is likely to begin with getting an early start and taking necessary medications, followed by scheduled programming such as group therapy and drug and alcohol classes. The schedule may allow for time to work on assignments or to engage in exercise or other prosocial activities. Individual therapy will be integrated as well as support groups such as 12-Step meetings.

It is common for a mental health disorder to co-occur with substance use disorder, so treatment programs will assess for and treat underlying mental illness as part of the patient’s care plan.1 Common mental health disorders that co-occur with substance use include:5

Behavioral therapies will be used to help patients recognize and avoid triggers, increase their motivation for change, assess and improve family functioning, and plan against relapse.6

Drug use increases the likelihood of medical complications and the risk for disease.7 A rehab program will assess physical health and provide screenings for infections like HIV and HEP-C (liver disease).7

Outpatient centers provide a level of addiction treatment that is less intensive than inpatient care, as people are not required to reside at the facility to take part in services.8 Patients may participate in therapy and educational groups as well as management of medication used to assist and improve treatment outcomes.8

Sober living facilities are houses designed to provide an environment that is supportive of recovery.9 They are communities that offer a drug-free living space to help people maintain abstinence and stay anchored in a network of support.9 People living in a sober living space may still participate in therapy as well as attend support groups like the 12-Step program.9

Will Addiction Treatment Help Me?

Since 2011, there has been a growing understanding and acceptance of addiction as a brain disease that can be treated into remission and recovery.2 Research has discovered that people tend to have better outcomes the longer they remain in treatment.1

After inpatient rehab, patients can step down from services into an intensive outpatient program (IOP) or partial-hospitalization program (PHP), both of which provide support and continued structure and accountability.3 PHPs are the most intensive of the outpatient options and provide medically managed detoxification in addition to behavioral therapies.3 IOPs require a minimum number of hours in treatment that may include individual therapy, group therapy, and medication management.3

Therapy and support groups for addiction are helpful as they aid with mental health issues, connections to community supports and resources, take a whole-person approach to treatment, and equip people with the tools they need to build a drug and alcohol-free lifestyle. Connecting patients to a community of support is an important component of continuing care.10 Programs also help plan for relapse prevention through connection to aftercare programs such as the 12-Step program meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) as well as secular support groups.11

Inpatient Addiction Treatment Settings

Inpatient rehab treatment involves staying overnight with 24/7 care and support, which is different from outpatient programs that do not require patients to be residents. Inpatient care may be a better option for people who have struggled with prior relapse, require medical supervision for physical complications related to substance use, have experienced severe or complicated withdrawal (such as prior seizures), require medication management and monitoring, have an unsupportive home environment, or simply wish to exercise increased focus on their recovery.

Inpatient rehabs include 24/7 access to trained staff, a highly structured routine, and a high level of accountability and monitoring. Outpatient programs, while effective, do not provide the same level of accountability and structure. People are responsible for showing up for scheduled therapy and medication appointments when they are enrolled in outpatient services, whereas a patient is assisted with maintaining a focus on their recovery when a resident of an inpatient facility.8 Patients partake in a comprehensive evaluation and receive dual-diagnosis care, medical supervision, and medication management at an inpatient facility.8

Choosing a Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Program

Finding the right rehabilitation program is an important step toward recovery. It may help to speak to a friend or loved one, discuss treatment with your physician, or research treatment options that could be right for you.

Things to consider when choosing a rehab facility include:

  • Need for withdrawal management (medically monitored detox).
  • History of prior relapse.
  • Level of support in the home environment.
  • Physical health risks and concerns.
  • Co-occurring mental health disorders.
  • Motivation toward recovery.

Admissions navigators at American Addiction Centers (AAC) can help you find the facility that offers what you need. Reach out today to get started. Call .

How Can I See How Much Insurance Will Pay?

Insurance can help you pay for some, if not all, of the cost of addiction treatment. If you have insurance, you can find out what is and isn’t covered by calling your insurance provider or checking your benefits online. You can also verify your insurance coverage using the online insurance checker below. It’s confidential and free and you’ll get a response in just a few minutes.

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