When looking for a high-quality inpatient addiction treatment program, the length of the program is an important consideration to take into account to ensure a good fit. Here’s what you need to know when evaluating different types of treatment programs.
Long-Term vs. Short-Term Rehab
The majority of inpatient drug and alcohol addiction treatment centers provide a 30-day (or 28-day) program. This usually includes medically supervised detox, some form of therapy, and sobriety education.
Long-term programs – usually 90 days or more – are on the rise as studies have emerged showing that relapse is less likely after programs that last three months or more.
While shorter programs allow enough time to detox and are less expensive up front, long-term programs are better able to help people address the underlying causes of addiction, increasing the chances of permanent recovery.
The Benefits of 90-Day Addiction Treatment Programs
Let’s dive into detail on why long-term programs have a higher success rate than short-term treatment.
Time to Address the Root Cause of Addiction
The goal of addiction treatment is twofold:
- Rid the body of the harmful substance (i.e., detox).
- Build a foundation for lifelong sobriety.
For treatment to be successful in the long term, both of these goals must be met.
While 30-day programs may succeed in helping a person detoxify, if the underlying cause of addiction isn’t removed, then relapse is likely to happen once the person leaves the controlled environment of rehab.
We highly recommend a 90-day program to clients because it provides enough time to let them regain physical and mental clarity, address underlying issues, practice relapse-prevention techniques and then have plenty of time left over to plan aftercare, without being rushed or short-changed.
Time for Full Detox
It typically takes a person 30 to 45 days to cleanse the addictive substance from their system and get their body back in balance to where they are thinking and feeling with clarity again.
Even when physical withdrawal symptoms have passed, mental symptoms may still be present. Methamphetamine, for example, can cause psychosis that lasts up to several weeks, and most psychiatric medications have latent withdrawal symptoms for 30 days or so, depending on the user.
Paced to Clients’ Needs
The length of time needed for detox can vary depending on the substance and the person. The time needed to address underlying issues also varies. This is why Elevate clients move through the program at their own pace, based on when they’re ready to progress to the next level, not because of arbitrary scheduling.
If a person has been to 30-day programs in the past and relapsed – especially if they’ve done so more than once – then a long-term program may be more suitable to their needs.
Time to See the True Benefits of Sobriety
Many clients go to rehab reluctantly, either because their families make them go, or they have legal requirements to attend treatment. They enroll in a 30-day program with the mentality that they’ll still use after treatment, and are just counting the days until the month is up and they can leave treatment and use again.
Although people also come into 90-day programs with this mentality, with so much more time to truly uncover the deeper issues they’re dealing with, they often change their perspective and decide to commit to sobriety.
Time to Build Habits and Plan Aftercare
Sobriety education and relapse-prevention skills are standard in all treatment programs. But while a 30-day program only has time to teach the concepts, a longer program gives clients time to actually practice sobriety skills for two months or more.
This helps them build healthy new habits and give them a chance to enjoy the benefits of a healthy lifestyle while they’re still in a controlled environment. As a result, those habits are more likely to continue after graduation from inpatient treatment.
A strong aftercare plan also supports the individual in maintaining the healthy habits he or she has started in rehab. Oftentimes, in 30 day programs, aftercare plans are rushed – simply due to lack of time to really address them.
Time to Build Community
A long-term program also provides more time to create and emphasize the importance of community. Addiction is self-centered behavior that causes disconnection from friends, family members and social situations.
Some 30-day programs can feel like revolving doors where people come and go before being able to put down roots. A 90-day program gives time for clients to connect with one another and form a community, which encourages the client to reengage with society and care about others again.
Is Long-Term Rehab Worth the Money?
While a long-term program may cost more money up front than a 30-day program, it’s important to also consider the long-term costs of shorter programs. Since there is a higher rate of relapse with shorter programs, families often end up paying for multiple stints in rehab over time.
Especially in cases where the addicted person is merely humoring his or her family or law enforcement requirements by going to 30-day rehab, a longer program may save money in the long term.
The Addiction Program Length at Elevate
There’s no one-size-fits all answer to the question, “How long does rehab take?” Each person is unique, their addiction is unique, and their circumstances and life goals are unique.
In fact, this need for flexibility is one of the reasons why we strongly recommend the 90-day program at Elevate Addiction Services. It gives the greatest opportunity for each individual to fully detox, address underlying issues and create a solid aftercare plan that continues to support them in creating their new life.
That being said, we know that clients may need other options. As a result, we have now expanded our services to offer a 30-day program for clients who require a shorter program, as well as an outpatient program for clients who need to maintain work, school and/or family obligations while undergoing treatment.
Through all our programs, regardless of length, we strive to give clients the complete healing they need to achieve long-term happiness through sobriety.