How long do drug rehab programs last?
Research has shown that the length of time in drug rehab treatment is directly correlated with better outcomes of maintaining sobriety. 90 day residential or outpatient drug programs are suggested as the minimum length of time. Methadone maintenance treatment should continue for at least 12 months, with some individuals continuing to benefit for over a year. Rehab programs last as long as they need to for quality treatment and recovery.
For individual patients, there are a multitude of factors that determine how long their rehab programs last. The first step toward initial length of program starts at an addiction assessment.
Addiction assessments determine whether patients are actually addicted to their substance of abuse, what the extent of addiction is, whether co-occurring conditions are present and how the individualized treatment plan should be developed. These assessments are privately conducted by trained addictions professionals. They are confidential and only used to ensure patients receive the right treatment for their recovery needs.
Addiction assessments are often conducted by:
- Social workers
- A mix of these professionals
Being assessed by multiple professionals enables them to work together to develop a thorough treatment plan, including initial determination of how long the individual patients’ rehab programs last.
The addiction assessment is only an initial top-level view of addiction and co-occurring conditions. Therapies and other activities may provide insight regarding deeper need, additional diagnoses and other causes for an extension of the rehab program length. Likewise, patients who fully engage and work hard in rehab may garner better results than expected, resulting in a shorter stay or transition into outpatient care.
There is no exact science for determination of individual rehab program duration. A best estimation is provided for insurance billing and other purposes, but only the patient’s individual addiction and rehab results can determine program length in the end. This is why individualized treatment plans are so important and play a major role in patient rehabilitation. Treatment plans are fluid and change according to patients’ changing needs.
Detox, the initial phase of drug rehab, can last as little as three days. This procedure cleanses the body of drugs and alcohol and should be overseen and managed by medical professionals as the withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable and even dangerous. The substance used will determine the length of the detoxification process; alcohol can last a few days where heroin or meth can require a week. Generally, the length of stay in a drug rehab varies from person to person taking as long as it takes to gain balance and a foundation in recovery.
Short-term residency programs usually have a set amount of time- 30, 60, or 90 days. After this time, patients are discharged, usually recommended to an outpatient drug rehab program and/or sober living environment. For many, insurance coverage determines a patient’s length of stay. For a drug rehab to be as successful as possible, it is recommended to receive support for 3-6 months in a structured, drug-free environment.
Long-term drug rehab programs can last anywhere from nine months to a year. These programs are recommended for those who have gone in and out of jail on drug charges, struggle with keeping a job or house, are in danger of becoming homeless or re-incarcerated, or chronic relapsers.
Many who enter drug rehab programs drop out before receiving all the benefits that treatment can provide.
12-step programs are worked a day at a time. However, long-term sobriety is the goal and suggests a daily reprieve. Attending meetings, working with a sponsor, and being of service will hopefully be a lifetime commitment.