One of the most common questions among people preparing for addiction treatment is, “How long does rehab take?”. Most people want to be rid of their addictions as quickly as possible. They also want to enjoy their freedom and start rebuilding their lives.
Most short-term drug addiction programs last just 28 to 30 days. Longer options in treatment can range from three months to six. In fact, some patients opt to remain in treatment even longer. Studies show that success rates for those in recovery tend to be highest among people who commit to long-term addiction treatment.
These rehab programs give them more time to understand their addictions and work through the underlying causes of addiction. They also learn new ways of responding to outside stress and addiction triggers among other things.
There are many factors that determine the right treatment length for individual needs. Some substances are far more addictive than others. Some people have spent longer periods of time addicted to drugs and using them heavily.
For these individuals, more treatment is often necessary for creating a solid foundation for recovery. Committing to longer treatment is also a good idea for anyone who’s tried and failed in recovery multiple times before.
Understanding Length of Treatment Options
If you’re anxious to get back to work, continue with your schooling, or resume the care of your minor children, even a program that lasts just 28 to 30 days can seem long. In reality, however, most people in short-term treatment will spend the majority of their time dealing with the physical symptoms of withdrawal, and recovering from them.
Given the significant impact that drug use has on the brain and on its chemical processes, physical withdrawal symptoms are frequently followed by post-acute withdrawal symptoms, which are largely psychological. These typically include:
- Difficulty focusing
For many patients, by the time that both physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms have completely abated, a short-term addiction treatment program will be nearing its end. With both primary and post-acute withdrawal symptoms that can last for several weeks, 28-day programs leave little time for people to focus on other elements of treatment.
Although successfully detoxing from drugs or alcohol is a tremendous accomplishment on the part of patients, it is only the very first step in recovery. Thus, an extended length of stay makes it easier for people to address all of the factors that will ultimately determine their success in sobriety.
Short-term addiction treatment certainly has its merits. These programs can work well for people who:
- Have been using moderately addictive substances for short periods of time
- Do not have histories of repeated relapse
- Want additional support after completing long-term, inpatient programs or other treatment types
Beyond detoxing, the goal of treatment is to help people learn why they’ve been using, and to help them address the underlying causes of their addictions. For some people, effective addiction treatment includes efforts to:
- Rebuild their self-esteem
- Correct negative and self-defeating thoughts and actions
- Properly diagnose and treat secondary, underlying mental health issues
- Teach new and healthier coping strategies
There is a tremendous amount of work that people do while in rehab. Although some people are able to accomplish quite a bit in month-long programs, short-term addiction treatment is not for everyone. Many patients require a greater rehab length in order to achieve their goals, and establish a solid foundation.
Long-term treatment typically lasts between 90 days or longer. For patients who need more time in treatment, rehab length can be extended to up to 12 months or even beyond. With long-term treatment, people have more time to learn proper self-care, and to heal from the physical and psychological ravages of addiction.
With long-term inpatient or residential treatment programs, people are removed from harmful relationships and environments for extended periods of time. This allows them to learn more about identifying and nurturing healthy relationships, setting strong boundaries, and identifying and avoiding enabling behaviors and individuals.
Not only do patients have a better opportunity to successfully manage the disease of addiction with an adequate length of stay, but they also have the chance to benefit from services that support continued success post-rehab. When treatment isn’t rushed, people can take part in goal-setting activities, life-planning workshops, and other services that prepare them for the most common barriers and challenges to long-term sobriety.
Benefits of Longer Treatment
One of the greatest benefits of longer treatment for addiction is that it gives the brain ample opportunity to heal. This is a very important thing to keep in mind when asking, “How long does rehab take?”. Substance abuse alters the chemistry of the brain by negatively affecting its reward system.
When people use drugs or alcohol, this system releases “feel-good” chemicals called neurotransmitters. By artificially triggering the release of neurotransmitters, drugs and alcohol make people feel confident, happy, and euphoric.
Unfortunately, regular surges of neurotransmitters like dopamine can cause the brain’s reward system to get burned out. Once this happens, people can struggle with feelings of depression, hopelessness, and loss of motivation.
The longer that recovering addicts remain sober; the more the brain is able to heal. With an adequate amount of time in treatment, the brain is often able to again maintain mood balance on its own. This healing limits the amount of medical support that people require, and makes it easier for them to take thoughtful approaches to dealing with cravings, temptations, and stress after their programs have ended.
Individualized Treatment for You
Finding the right drug addiction treatment is one of the most important parts of establishing your recovery plan. In addition to the length of your treatment, you also want to find a location that can take a customized and needs-specific approach to care.
At Mississippi Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center, we offer an expansive range of addiction treatment services. Our facility is staffed by professionals who can provide dual diagnosis treatment, cognitive behavioral therapy, life-planning assistance, and more.
If you’re ready to explore your options in addiction treatment, and want to find the right program for you, we can help. Get in touch with us today by calling 855-334-6120.