There isn’t a set period of time in rehab that is right for everyone. The duration of treatment will be individual, but most programs offer 30-day, 60-day, or 90-day options as standard.
Rehabilitation length comes down to how severe the addiction is. Substance type is also an important factor. Someone who is seeking treatment for marijuana addiction, for instance, might require less of a time commitment than someone who is addicted to opioids or methamphetamine.
The length of stay in a rehabilitation center might also come down to economic factors. The cost of inpatient rehab can range from $6,000 to $10,000 for a 30-day program. Insurance plans often cover a substantial chunk of that fee, and outpatient treatment options tend to be more affordable.
Optimal Length of Time in Rehab
A 30-day rehab program is considered the minimum needed for addiction treatment to set an individual up for success and put them in the best possible situation to maintain sobriety and avoid relapse. Progress should be monitored over the course of the program in order to determine if it is best for the individual to continue treatment for 60 or 90 days.
Oftentimes, a person will complete an initial course of rehab in a more intensive program, such as 30 days in an inpatient treatment program. Then, they may progress to a less intensive form of treatment, such as standard outpatient treatment, for a longer period of time.
Is it Better to be in Rehab Longer Than 30 Days?
Longer durations of time in treatment are associated with lower rates of relapse in addiction recovery. The National Institute on Drug Abuse recommends treatment continue for at least 90 days since shorter time periods are linked to limited effectiveness.
Generally, the longer an individual stays in rehab, the better their chances of making a full recovery and abstaining from drug and alcohol use.
Staying in rehab for 90 days or longer will ensure the individual remains sober for the particular length of their time in rehab. The individual will have access to resources and gain essential tools for coping with life and its related stresses without turning to drugs or alcohol for relief.
This extended time in treatment allows the person to build a strong foundation in recovery. It gives them plenty of time to practice the coping skills they learn in treatment.
Comprehensive aftercare should also be given to the individual after they graduate from their respective treatment program. This ensures ongoing support as they transition out of more intensive treatment.
How Short Is Too Short in Rehab?
A program of 30 days is considered the minimum as far as effective rehabilitation programs are concerned. But this program should include ongoing aftercare that continues well beyond 30 days.
At a bare minimum, the individual should achieve physical sobriety, which includes drug or alcohol detoxification. Once physical detox has been achieved, the individual generally has the option to explore rehab programs unless the individual is court-ordered to attend a specific program.
However, it’s important to stress that detox is not rehab. If a person simply goes through detox without additional treatment, it is unlikely they will remain abstinent. They need therapeutic treatment to address the underlying causes that led to their substance abuse and to build tools to resist relapse.
The Importance of Ongoing Care
A variety of studies suggest that when individuals complete a rehab program and seek proper aftercare after completing the program, their chances of remaining abstinent drastically improve. For instance, one study showed that incarcerated individuals receiving treatment in prison as well as comprehensive follow-up care upon release experienced drug use declines of around 50 to 70 percent when compared to those who did not receive any sort of treatment.
It is an unfortunate fact of reality that a majority of those with a drug or alcohol addiction don’t end up getting the treatment they need, either due to lack of resources or lack of willingness to complete a program. Less than 42 percent of individuals entering any sort of treatment for drug or alcohol abuse end up fully completing the respective program.
Regardless of the length of an addiction rehab program, it’s important that ongoing care is part of the big picture. These continued levels of support and treatment are essential throughout life, but they are particularly important during the first year of recovery.
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Substance Abuse Intensive Outpatient Programs: Assessing the Evidence. (June 2014). Psychiatry Online.
Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition). (January 2014). National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Criminal Justice DrugFacts. (June 2020). National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Addiction Recovery: A Systematized Review. (April 2020). Iranian Journal of Psychiatry.