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Long-Term Inpatient Drug Rehab

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How Effective is Long-Term Inpatient Drug Rehab?

Long-term inpatient drug rehab is a residential treatment program that typically lasts for 90 days or more.

Navigation: Understanding Long-Term Inpatient Drug Rehab, How Long Does Long-Term Inpatient Drug Rehab Last?, Who Benefits from Long-Term Inpatient Drug Rehab?, Advantages of Long-Term Inpatient Drug Rehab, Challenges of Long-Term Inpatient Treatment Programs for Drug Abuse, Rehab Is Your Best Chance


Substance abuse and addiction are pervasive problems that impact individuals and communities worldwide.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) defines addiction as a chronic, relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disorder because it involves changes in the structure and function of the brain, particularly in areas related to judgment, decision-making, learning, memory, and behavior control

While there are various treatment options available, long-term inpatient drug rehabilitation programs have gained prominence for their potential to provide comprehensive care and support.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), long-term rehabilitation is a type of substance abuse treatment program that provides intensive, structured, and extended care for people who are struggling with addiction or substance use disorders. These programs are designed for those who require a more extended period of treatment and support due to the severity of their addiction or the complexity of their needs.

For most patients, the main goal of long term treatment for drug or alcohol addiction is to achieve and maintain abstinence and sobriety. However, this may take multiple attempts because relapse is so common. If a patient does not accept that abstinence is necessary, then treatment programs will have to focus on minimizing the effects of harmful substances through counseling, education, and other methods that reduce risky behavior. [1]

Long term treatment programs don’t just seek to eliminate addictive behaviors but also strive to help patients build new relationships, change their lifestyle, and channel their energy into healthy, productive, and meaningful activities. [1]

In this article, we’ll explore the concept of long-term rehab treatment, its effectiveness, and the benefits of seeking addiction treatment for those who are struggling with substance use disorders.


Understanding Long-Term Inpatient Drug Rehab

Long-term inpatient drug rehab is a residential treatment program that typically lasts for 90 days or more. Some programs can extend to a year or longer, depending on the individual’s needs and progress. It is a highly immersive and intensive form of treatment, offering round-the-clock care and supervision.

These programs are for people who are struggling with a drug or alcohol problem and need round-the-clock care. Unlike outpatient treatment programs where patients go home after receiving treatment throughout the day, inpatient treatment requires patients to stay in the facility for a set period so they can focus on their recovery. Inpatient rehab is typically done in a non-hospital setting. [2]

Some people hesitate to sign up for a long term rehab program because they are afraid or simply do not know what to expect. But we have you covered.

The journey usually begins with a thorough medical assessment of the person seeking addiction treatment. They will then go through a supervised detoxification to safely remove the substance from their system.

For those who have been abusing drugs or alcohol for a long time, the withdrawal process can be very unpleasant. People often relapse because of the withdrawal symptoms and intense cravings. But with inpatient detoxification, they can be kept safe by medical professionals who can administer medications to keep their symptoms and cravings under control. [2]

During detox, the patient’s drug or alcohol intake is gradually lowered until they are no longer dependent on the substance.

Withdrawal symptoms may vary, but common ones include body aches, vomiting, diarrhea, high blood pressure, and fever. In some cases, withdrawal can be life-threatening, so it’s better to go through this process while under the supervision of healthcare providers. [2]

But that’s not the only thing done in rehab. Long-term rehab also provides daily therapy and counseling sessions. These can include individual, group, and family therapy to address the psychological and emotional aspects of addiction.

It is also important to address any co-occurring disorder such as existing mental health issues.

Patients follow a structured daily routine that helps build healthy habits and coping strategies. This may include physical fitness, nutrition, and mindfulness practices. In rehab, they get to learn essential life skills, such as stress management, communication, and problem-solving, which are all crucial for maintaining sobriety.

Being in a residential setting also allows patients to form strong bonds with peers who are also on their recovery journey. Peer support can be invaluable for motivation and encouragement. After all, addiction also has a social aspect to it.

Many programs offer educational components to help patients understand the science of addiction and its impact on their lives.

Another crucial aspect of treatment is aftercare planning. Long-term rehab facilities often offer assistance with developing an aftercare plan, because patients need to prepare for life after rehab. Aftercare planning can include ongoing therapy, support groups, and other resources to prevent relapse.


How Long Does Long-Term Inpatient Drug Rehab Last?

Long-term inpatient drug rehab varies in duration depending on the patient’s needs and progress. It typically spans 60 to 90 days, but some programs can extend for 6 months to a year or even longer if necessary.

The length of stay is determined by several factors, including the severity of addiction, the specific substances involved, the person’s response to treatment, and their personal circumstances.

In these programs, patients receive intensive, 24/7 care in a controlled and supportive environment. The extended duration allows for comprehensive therapy, counseling, and life skills training, which can be particularly beneficial for those with chronic or complex addiction issues. This extended commitment to recovery helps recovering individuals develop strong foundations for long-term sobriety and reduces the risk of relapse.

It’s important to keep in mind that the optimal duration of inpatient rehab can vary from person to person. It’s determined through ongoing assessment and collaboration between the individual, their treatment team, and any relevant healthcare professionals.

Who Benefits from Long-Term Inpatient Drug Rehab?

Long-term inpatient drug rehab programs are often the preferred choice for those who are struggling with substance abuse disorders that require intensive and comprehensive treatment. But who benefits most from such an approach?

Those with Severe Addictions

Long-term inpatient drug rehab is most beneficial for patients with severe or long-standing addiction issues. These programs provide an extended period of care, which allows recovering individuals to delve deep into the root causes of their addiction and develop coping strategies. People with severe addictions often require more time to stabilize and make lasting changes, making long-term rehab an ideal choice.

People with Multiple Relapses

For those who have tried and relapsed multiple times, long-term inpatient rehab can offer a fresh start and break the cycle of addiction. It is done in a highly controlled environment, where access to addictive substances and triggers is minimized. The extended duration of treatment also allows participants to reinforce their recovery skills and build a stronger foundation for a substance-free life.

Dual Diagnosis Patients

Long-term inpatient programs are well-suited for those with a dual diagnosis, where they struggle with both substance abuse and co-occurring mental health disorders. These programs offer integrated treatment, addressing both aspects simultaneously. The extended stay ensures that the complexities of dual diagnosis cases can be adequately addressed, promoting better outcomes.

Individuals with Unsupportive Home Environments

A stable and supportive living environment is essential for recovery. Those who lack such an environment, whether due to a dysfunctional family, the presence of other substance users, or an unsafe home, can benefit greatly from long-term inpatient rehab. It provides a temporary sanctuary where patients can just focus on their recovery without external distractions and negative influences.

People Seeking Comprehensive Skill-Building

Long-term inpatient rehab is not just about detoxification and abstinence but also about acquiring essential life skills. Participants learn how to cope with stress, manage triggers, and build a support network. They receive education on relapse prevention, self-care, and communication. This comprehensive skill-building can significantly improve their chances of maintaining sobriety after leaving the program.

Those Wanting to Reconnect with Their True Selves

Addiction often causes people to lose touch with who they are and what they value. Long-term inpatient rehab offers the space and time for self-reflection, personal growth, and reconnecting with one’s true self. This is vital for establishing a sense of purpose and identity outside of addiction.

Individuals Committed to Recovery

Finally, long-term inpatient rehab is most beneficial for those who are truly committed to their recovery. It requires dedication and patience to stay in a treatment program for an extended period. Those who are motivated and willing to put in the effort can experience profound transformation and a better chance at long-term sobriety.

Overall, long-term inpatient drug rehab programs are a valuable resource for a wide range of people, especially those with severe addictions, a history of relapse, dual diagnoses, challenging living environments, a desire to acquire essential life skills, a need for self-discovery, and a strong commitment to their recovery journey. These programs provide the time and structure needed to make significant strides toward a healthier, substance-free life.

Advantages of Long-Term Inpatient Drug Rehab

One of the biggest benefits of being in an inpatient treatment facility is that you do not have access to your drug of choice, which means it’s not easy to relapse. Inpatient treatment programs are associated with higher success rates compared to outpatient treatment. In fact, more people in inpatient rehabs complete their detox treatment than those in outpatient rehab. [2]

Here are other benefits of being in a long-term inpatient drug rehab program:

Structured Environment: Long-term inpatient drug rehab offers a highly structured environment that helps patients establish a routine. This structure minimizes the chances of relapse by reducing exposure to triggers and facilitating a focus on recovery.

Continuous Support: Patients in long-term rehab receive continuous support from a team of healthcare professionals, therapists, and peers. This extended support can be crucial in overcoming addiction, addressing underlying issues, and learning coping skills.

Comprehensive Treatment: Long-term programs often provide a more comprehensive approach to addiction treatment. They may include individual therapy, group therapy, family counseling, and holistic therapies to address all aspects of addiction.

Detox and Stabilization: Inpatient programs typically offer medical detox and stabilization services, ensuring that patients can safely withdraw from substances under the supervision of medical professionals.

Peer Support: Patients in long-term rehab have the opportunity to build strong bonds with others who are on a similar journey to recovery. Peer support can be a powerful motivator and source of encouragement.

Relapse Prevention: The extended duration of inpatient rehab allows for a more intensive focus on relapse prevention strategies. Patients can learn and practice these strategies in a safe, drug-free environment.

Skill Development: Long-term programs provide ample time for recovering individuals to develop essential life skills and coping mechanisms. These skills can be crucial for maintaining sobriety in the long run.

Therapeutic Progress: With more time in treatment, patients have the opportunity to delve deeper into therapy and explore underlying issues contributing to their addiction. This can lead to more sustainable recovery.

Accountability: Inpatient rehab holds patients accountable for their actions and commitments. This accountability helps instill a sense of responsibility and commitment to their recovery.

Reduced External Influences: Being in a residential facility minimizes exposure to external influences that might trigger relapse, such as access to drugs, negative peer groups, or stressful living conditions.

Aftercare Planning: Long-term rehab programs often include extensive aftercare planning, ensuring that individuals in recovery have a support network and resources in place as they transition back into everyday life.

Increased Success Rates: Research suggests that longer durations of treatment are associated with higher success rates in achieving and maintaining sobriety.

With higher success rates and a more structured approach to treatment, inpatient rehab is a great choice for those with moderate to severe addiction.

Challenges of Long-Term Inpatient Treatment Programs for Drug Abuse

Inpatient treatment is not without its challenges and limitations. Long-term inpatient drug rehab programs can be highly effective for those who are struggling with substance abuse, but this approach is not for everyone.

Relapse following discharge is still possible even for those who completed inpatient treatment. One study found that the most common barriers to a successful transition into sober living are: unmet basic needs, financial instability, strained relationships, lack of a support network, and peer influence. [3]

This emphasizes the importance of aftercare planning. People should know where to go and what to do after completing their treatment. Without it, it is harder for people to adjust to the drug-free lifestyle once they are finally out of rehab.

While long-term inpatient rehab can provide a solid foundation for recovery, individuals still face the risk of relapse once they return to their normal lives. Without proper aftercare and support, the gains made during treatment may not be sustained.

Other challenges include cost, lack of flexibility, isolation, lack of motivation, and program quality.

Long-term inpatient rehab programs are often more expensive than outpatient or short-term programs. The cost of extended stays in a residential facility can be a significant barrier to access for many people. It should be noted that there are many rehab centers that offer payment plans and other options to help cover the costs of rehab. Insurance can also help.

But speaking of limited access to treatment, some people living in rural areas and certain regions may struggle to find an appropriate program nearby.

Once you do get in, you need to make a commitment to stick with the program for the extended period. This can be emotionally and mentally challenging. The isolation and detachment from the outside world can prevent from distractions, but it can also make the patient feel homesick.

Long-term inpatient programs require a substantial time commitment, making it difficult for some individuals to participate due to work, family, or other obligations. This is where outpatient treatment truly shines.

Finally, the quality and effectiveness of long-term inpatient rehab programs can vary widely. Not all facilities offer evidence-based treatments or have qualified staff. It’s essential for people seeking treatment to thoroughly research and choose a reputable facility.

Despite these challenges, long-term inpatient drug rehab programs can be highly effective for those who commit to them and receive appropriate care. It’s crucial for addicted individuals and their families to carefully consider their options, evaluate the quality of available programs, and seek support and aftercare to help maintain recovery after completing treatment.

Long-term inpatient drug rehab programs offer a well-documented and effective approach to treating addiction. By addressing the complex nature of substance abuse, these programs provide individuals with the tools and support needed to achieve sustainable recovery. When considering addiction treatment options, it’s essential to consult with healthcare professionals and explore which approach is most suitable for the individual’s needs.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, look for an inpatient treatment center near you today and learn more about the various rehab options.

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 drugs or 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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