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Length of Stay in Rehab

People who want to receive addiction treatment often have several questions. The most common one is regarding the duration of treatment. People who are struggling with addiction often want to find out just how long they will be staying in rehab.

Navigation: Factors that Affect Length of Substance Abuse Treatment, How Long Does Short-Term Rehab Last?, Are Longer Drug Addiction Treatment Programs Better?, How Long Are Each of the Steps of Rehab?, Rehab is Your Best Chance


People who want to receive addiction treatment often have several questions. The most common one is regarding the duration of treatment. People who are struggling with addiction often want to find out just how long they will be staying in rehab.

Truth is, there is no straightforward answer to this because programs may vary. Even patients themselves may have unique needs that have to be addressed in rehab. A lot of things may influence the duration of a rehab program, and so it is important to discuss what patients should come to expect.

It is difficult to tell just how long rehab programs would last because this will change depending on several circumstances. But we can tell you that the average rehab program in an inpatient rehab is between 30 and 90 days. To be more specific, some of the most common inpatient rehab programs are 30-day rehab programs, 60-day rehab programs, and 90-day rehab programs.

Some patients may stay in rehab for longer, while others may make significant progress quickly and leave treatment prematurely.

Here we will talk about what to expect in terms of treatment duration in addiction treatment. Let’s take a closer look.


Factors that Affect Length of Substance Abuse Treatment

While a brief treatment program may be effective for some patients, treatment for an addiction is a complicated process that may even last for years. They say the addiction recovery process is a lifelong journey. After all, addiction is a chronic disease. So while there is no particular cure for it, it is highly treatable. The amount of progress you make towards treating your substance use disorder may vary depending on numerous factors.

It is not ideal to just try and get through rehab as quickly as possible. Patients who stay in rehab longer have been shown to enjoy lower relapse rates, according to research.

Drug rehab programs can be classified under two categories: short term programs and long term programs. While short term rehab lasts around28 to 30 days, longer rehab programs may last 90 days or more. It is usually the severe cases that last beyond 90 days.

Both of these options for treatment will include a combination of medical detox and behavioral therapy. Take note that some facilities will only offer one or the other. There are facilities that specialize in detoxification. Some rehabs offer both as part of their comprehensive treatment plan.

The duration of a rehab program will be influenced by factors like the person’s age, gender, family history of substance abuse, co-occurring mental health disorders, career, living environment, etc. Of course, as they make progress in the rehab program, the duration of treatment may change as well.

For example, if a patient is making significant progress towards sobriety because their condition is mild to moderate and they are really cooperating in the treatment, their stay in rehab may be cut short. In other cases wherein the patient’s condition is severe and they aren’t making a lot of progress, they may need a longer treatment.

In any case, before the patient enters rehab, they will be assessed by a medical professional who will determine the severity of their condition. The goal of this medical assessment is to figure out a treatment plan that will provide the best outcomes for the patient. It will be based on their specific needs. A personalized approach is always preferred when it comes to addiction treatment because people experience addiction in different ways.

The rehab process, including its duration, is unique to each person. For those with drug dependence or alcohol dependence, these problems have to be addressed during treatment, so their stay may be affected by their progress.

The thing about treatment is that some people do not even have to stay in rehab at all. This is why there are inpatient rehab and outpatient rehab options. For those with severe withdrawal symptoms and addiction, staying in a rehab facility for a certain duration may be beneficial because it will allow them to focus on their recovery. But on the other hand, some people may have mild to moderate conditions that do not require round the clock attention from medical staff.

These people in outpatient rehab centers are able to go home in between treatment sessions. This flexible setup allows them to keep up with their responsibilities outside of rehab like work and school, while still receiving the care they need for their addiction. However, outpatient treatment programs are only effective for those who have mild to moderate conditions.

Regardless of the patient’s condition, medical staff will always try to ensure that they are comfortable all throughout their treatment journey.

Unfortunately, not everyone who needs treatment for their addiction actually receives it. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reported that over 21.7 million people aged 12 or older needed addiction treatment back in 2015, but only 2.3 million actually went to rehab.


How Long Does Short-Term Rehab Last?

The general consensus is that 90-day rehab programs are more effective than short-term rehab. But short-term rehab programs still have their benefits. For some patients, a quick 30-day stay in an addiction center is enough for them to reflect on their situation and make some real positive changes in their life. They can use it to take a step back from the distractions and triggers of their everyday life and just focus on healing for a little bit.

If someone is committed to their recovery, a short stay in rehab may be enough to leave a lasting impact. These short-term stays are also beneficial for those with very busy schedules.

When choosing a rehab program, you have to consider these practical concerns. A lot of people will struggle to clear 30 days from their schedule, so a 90-day rehab stay may be out of the question.

Are Longer Drug Addiction Treatment Programs Better?

The short answer is yes, rehab programs with longer durations tend to be better, especially for those with severe cases of addiction. This is often the last option for those who have tried short term rehab but struggled to significantly reduce their drug intake.

Long term sobriety is difficult to achieve. So for those who have gone through multiple relapses, it may seem discouraging. But longer rehab stays tend to produce greater results. This gives patients enough time to pick up and learn healthy habits and coping mechanisms that will keep them away from the addictive substance. They can also spend their time in rehab learning essential life skills that will help them stay on the right track and build a better life for themselves.

Longer rehab stays also ensure that detox doesn’t take up most of the patient’s time. Detox should just be one part of the program. It’s supposed to eliminate the drug from your system so you can get sober enough to focus on therapy and counseling. A shorter rehab stay means you will spend more than half of your time in detox.

Addiction is a serious condition and you need to give your mind enough time to heal. In a 90-day rehab program, patients are given more time to address psychological concerns like their co-occurring mental illnesses.

It even gives patients enough time to rebuild their relationships with friends and family members. This goes a long way in the addiction recovery process because substance use disorders tend to affect the person’s relationships as well.

Patients are not required to stay in rehab, but they do need to give themselves adequate time to receive the help that they need and truly process what they are learning in rehab. After leaving rehab, they will go back to their usual environment and face the same challenges they used to face. They need to be healthy enough and in a good enough mental state to face these challenges and stay sober through it all.

Addiction recovery is a long-term process. Relapses are common and should not be seen as a sign of weakness or failure. It simply means that the patient has a lot more to learn. Consider it as just another obstacle towards lifelong sobriety.

The best outcomes occur with longer treatment durations. But again, this depends on the patient and their specific condition. At the end of the day, there is no right answer for how long rehab should be.

How Long Are Each of the Steps of Rehab?

Medical detox involves gradually lowering a patient’s drug or alcohol intake while their withdrawal symptoms are managed by medical professionals. Medical detox takes 7 to 10 days on average, but more serious cases may require longer stays.

It is essential to flush the drugs and alcohol from a person’s body. With fewer health problems to worry about, they can focus on putting in the work during therapy.

Addiction treatment is the next step of rehab, and like we mentioned, there are 30-day, 60-day, and 90-day programs. It is worth noting that there are shorter and longer durations for these programs as well.

Hospital residential treatment programs and partial hospitalization programs may vary in terms of duration. But generally speaking, those with more serious conditions may require longer stays.

Finally, aftercare is a step that occurs after the rehab program. This is where patients receive continuous care after leaving the rehab facility so they can stay sober and maintain sobriety. Aftercare is all about relapse prevention. Remember that the fight to stay sober only begins after you leave rehab.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the relapse rate for drug addiction is between 40 and 60 percent. A person may crave for drugs or alcohol long after they have left rehab. It’s all about knowing how to handle yourself during these situations.

Whether you went through inpatient treatment or outpatient treatment, you need some form of aftercare. The length of aftercare also depends on the severity of the addiction.

Your length of stay in a treatment facility will depend on how much progress you are making towards sobriety. But the real fight begins after you go back to living your normal life.

A lot of people are hesitant to seek medical care because they are afraid of being judged by the people around them. There is still a stigma surrounding addiction and rehab. But hopefully, answering these common questions about the addiction treatment process can help break that stigma. Look for a rehab facility near you today to learn more.


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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