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How Long is Drug Rehab Anyway?

According to the NIDA, “Because addiction is a chronic brain disease, people cannot simply stop using drugs for a few days and be cured” and “remaining in treatment for an adequate period of time is critical.”

Unique to each individual are their needs, goals, and motivations which can be matched to treatment levels of intensity, durations, and settings to obtain the maximum outcomes of success in drug rehab. Some people have a greater severity of dependence or more problems than others and some need more motivations or time. Whether it’s 30, 60, 90 days, or more, the ideal goals of drug rehab are to help the person stop using drugs, avoid relapse, and successfully recover their lives.

Importance of Retention

treatment retention

Treatment retention helps prevent relapse.

Studies show that people who leave a drug rehab prematurely, before they have had the time to get to the root of underlying issues that may have caused or been exacerbated by their drug abuse, will go right back to the same imaginations and ideas, people, places, drug abuse, and dangers that they have become accustomed to. Treatment retention is important. Drug rehabs are the most humane and safe places for a person to recover in the fellowship of peers going through similar circumstances and professionals who know how to help.

According to the NIDA, “Effective treatment attends to multiple needs of the individual, not just his or her drug abuse.” Sadly after a person detoxes and feels better, they often think they are prepared to manage their problems on their own. Staying in a drug rehab for an adequate time can bring about the motivations and positive changes needed to live a satisfying and drug-free life.

Short-Term vs. Long-Term Drug Rehabs

A 30 day program may be sufficient to detox and stabilize an individual who has a lesser severity of dependence such as those who have never been through treatment before and who have few relative issues to resolve. A 30 day program, however, does little to help people identify or treat some of the more critical problems after chronic or heavy drug abuse, to develop the strategic skills they need to prevent relapse, or to significantly improve their health and social functioning capabilities.

Typically, a 90 day program may be reserved for those individuals, but, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) , “Individuals progress through drug addiction treatment at various rates, so there is no predetermined length of treatment.” Still, for others, recovery will require ongoing support for extended periods of time. In which cases, a drug rehab may last for several months with a transition to a sober living facility where they may stay for longer.