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Alcohol Rehab: How Long Does it Last?

The length or duration of a program is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a rehab program for alcohol use disorder or alcoholism.

How Long Do Most Alcohol Rehab Programs Last?, What are the Stages of Rehab?, What is Considered Short Term Rehab?, Does Rehab Work for Depression?, Rehab is Your Best Chance


When a person struggles with addiction, it may be difficult for them to admit that they need help. Some of them are in denial about their drinking problem, while others are simply intimidated by the thought of going to rehab.

Answering common questions about rehab can help ease these fears for some addicted individuals, so it is important to openly talk about the addiction treatment process.

Entering rehab is a big decision, but it is a necessary one for a person who wants to recover from their addiction. Today we will talk about how long alcohol rehab lasts. We will also answer some questions that will help addicted individuals and their loved ones understand what to expect from a rehab program.

The length or duration of a program is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a rehab program for alcohol use disorder or alcoholism. Different facilities may offer different types of programs, and they may also vary in terms of the length of treatment. Because of this, it is important to realize that people have different treatment needs. Some may require a longer stay in rehab, while others may benefit from a shorter stay.

Let’s take a closer look at the alcohol rehab process.

How Long Do Most Alcohol Rehab Programs Last?

Rehab programs may range from 30 to 90 days—or sometimes even longer. But the three most common programs are 30-day programs, 60-day programs, and 90-day programs. Some patients may have to stay longer depending on their progress, but most of the time, they will stick to the set duration of treatment so that the patient can return to their normal life outside of rehab.

Extended programs include residential treatment and outpatient treatment. It is also possible to receive continuous care even after leaving the facility. Aftercare and sober living can play an important role in ensuring long term sobriety for a person who just got out of rehab.

Those with more severe problems with alcohol may require a longer stay in rehab. But at the end of the day, the duration doesn’t matter as much as the program itself. The patient needs to go through proper medical detox and behavioral counseling. These methods will help them conquer their addiction if they cooperate and work hard on achieving and maintaining their sobriety.

Since people experience addiction differently, the effectiveness of these treatments may also vary from one person to another. Therefore the duration of treatment likely depends on the patient’s specific condition.

The length of time it takes to properly detox from alcohol depends on a number of factors such as alcohol intake, frequency of alcohol intake, family history of alcoholism, age, weight, co-occurring health disorders, mental health, etc.

When a person enters rehab for alcohol addiction, they will most likely go through medical detox, which is a process wherein their intake is gradually lowered. During their period, they will experience withdrawal, which is an uncomfortable situation, but in rehab their symptoms can be managed by medical professionals. Although rehab will still be difficult, rehab will make it as comfortable and as safe as possible for the person in recovery.

While they go through detox, or sometimes after they finish detox, the person will receive counseling and behavioral therapy. This will allow them to address the underlying issues that caused their alcoholism in the first place.

Withdrawal symptoms can start manifesting within 6 hours after taking their last drink. They may get worse over the next 48 hours, but they will peak after 72 hours. Withdrawal symptoms may last for two weeks. In rehab, the person can receive round the clock care as their body goes through these difficult changes. Medications may be used to keep withdrawal symptoms and cravings under control.

Some heavy drinkers may experience minor withdrawal symptoms for up to a month. The reason withdrawal happens is because the body has become dependent on alcohol. This means the person can no longer function or “feel normal” without their regular intake of alcohol.

When they suddenly stop drinking, this puts the body off balance, and it struggles to adapt to an alcohol-free condition. Alcohol rehab aims to tackle the physical and mental effects of alcoholism.

Therapy begins after the worst of their withdrawal symptoms have subsided.

In general, inpatient treatment is considered better than outpatient treatment because of its safe and focused environment. Inpatient treatment is structured so that patients can restore balance to their daily lives. While outpatient treatment for alcoholism can still work for many patients, it has a lower success level than inpatient alcohol rehab. Outpatient works best for those with milder addictions and those who cannot leave their responsibilities behind to enter an inpatient facility.


What are the Stages of Rehab?

Detox, behavioral therapy, and aftercare are the stages of a rehab program. But addiction recovery goes through several stages as well. In fact, because addiction is a chronic condition, there is no specific cure for it. But it can be treated and addicted individuals can learn proper coping mechanisms so they can maintain their sobriety on their own once they step out of rehab.

The stages of rehab are designed to help patients visualize their path to recovery. This is referred to as the Stages of Change Model. It outlines the steps that patients take throughout their journey to recovery.

The first stage is pre-contemplation. It’s when the person is already suffering from the effects of addiction but is still not interested in seeking help. At this stage, they may be defensive about their alcohol use. They may even think that they can quit whenever they want to. It takes a big event or an intervention for them to realize that they may have a drinking problem.

The next stage is contemplation. This is when the person is beginning to consider changing their habits. This will involve weighing the pros and cons of going to rehab. This is the perfect time for loved ones to have honest and non-judgmental conversations about the person’s situation. It is important for them to receive proper emotional support from the people they care about as they make the decision to go into rehab.

The third stage is preparation. This is the first real step towards recovery. It involves making the commitment to change. They may start taking small steps away from their negative habits—and that includes doing research on rehab so they know what to expect. By understanding what it entails, they can prepare themselves mentally for the difficult journey ahead.

The fourth stage is action. If the third stage is all about preparing the mind for treatment, stage four is about committing the body. This is the stage where the addicted individual is most likely to seek support. They will go through detox and therapy during this stage. Eventually, their situation will stabilize and they will regain their sobriety.

The treatment journey doesn’t end there because dealing with addiction is a lifelong journey. It is important that the recovering individual learns how to maintain their sobriety. Stage five is maintenance. The focus will shift to practicing the coping mechanisms and recovery techniques learned in rehab. They will begin to live a normal life that does not involve the use of alcohol. They will even begin to pursue new hobbies and fulfilling activities that will help them live their life to the fullest.

Although relapse is a real possibility in any stage of recovery, it is not a sign of failure or weakness if a person does succumb to relapse. It also does not indicate that the treatment was a failure. This is just another obstacle in the path to long-term sobriety. The person may choose to reenter rehab and relearn some essential coping techniques, or they can reach out to support groups and their community to help them get back on the right track.

There is a sixth stage in this model and it is referred to as transcendence. It is when the person no longer feels the need to return to their old habits or lifestyle. It will seem like a distant memory. It is at this point that the person feels like an entirely new individual. The length of time it takes to reach this stage depends on the person. But it can be achieved by maintaining a commitment to recovery each day.

What is Considered Short Term Rehab?

Short term rehab refers to a treatment program that provides round-the-clock medical care and therapeutic services for a person dealing with addiction. As the name implies, the treatment duration is shorter—typically around 30 days.

A short term rehab program is only meant to last a couple of weeks to a few months—hence “short term”. It is ideal for those with relatively mild addiction. Most short term rehab programs are done in a comfortable space rather than a complete hospital setting. But medical care and therapy are provided just the same, so that patients can recover quickly from their addiction.

Does Rehab Work for Depression?

A survey conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that about 300 million people in the world suffer from depression. Unfortunately, because of the stigma surrounding it, it is not discussed properly and most people don’t receive proper help for it.

For those with a serious case of depression, long term residential treatment can go a long way. In rehab, they can receive the proper care they need, both in the form of counseling and medications.

Rehab programs have a number of benefits for depressed individuals. Rehab provides holistic treatment, which means it tackles every aspect of the person’s situation, including their mind, body, emotions, relationships, etc. This can help the person make necessary lifestyle changes that will support their long term recovery.

Rehab can teach people how to live happy, meaningful, and productive lives, all while staying away from harmful substances such as alcohol.

A rehab program can help people with depression to communicate their emotions properly to those around them as well as how to handle those emotions in a healthy way. They will also pick up effective coping mechanisms that will be applicable to them once they leave rehab and have to face the pressures of everyday life once again.

Rehab is important because it tackles the main issues that cause depression, from childhood trauma to substance abuse. It helps people process these events and situations so they can respond properly and heal themselves.

It is important for depressed individuals to receive proper support. Seek proper medical treatment for your depression today.

If you or someone you care about is struggling with alcohol or drug addiction, look for an addiction treatment facility near you today and get started on the path to recovery.


Rehab is Your Best Chance

Treatment is an addicted individualʼs best option if they want to recover. Beating an addiction not only requires eliminating the physical dependence, but also addressing the behavioral factors that prevent them from wanting to get better. Simply quitting may not change the psychological aspect of addiction. Some people quit for a while, and then take alcohol again, only to overdose because they did not detox properly. Recovery involves changing the way the patient feels, thinks, and behaves.

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Fel Clinical Director of Content
Felisa Laboro has been working with addiction and substance abuse businesses since early 2014. She has authored and published over 1,000 articles in the space. As a result of her work, over 1,500 people have been able to find treatment. She is passionate about helping people break free from alcohol or drug addiction and living a healthy life.

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