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Can an Inpatient 28 Day Program Be Effective?

The decision to get needed treatment help doesn’t come easily, with many going through any number of crises before realizing the need for help. After making this decision, it becomes especially important to find the type of program that best meets a person’s treatment needs.

The inpatient 28 day program model offers a range of benefits in terms of addressing the physical and psychological aspects of the addiction cycle. Over the years, addictions treatment has gone through many changes with treatment models changing and evolving in light of ongoing research and development. The 28 day program derives from a standardized treatment approach that’s evidence-based, though different types of 28 day programs specialize in addressing specific problems in recovery.

Overall, addiction recovery entails a process that unfolds in stages. At the same time, each person faces his or her own sets of challenges and circumstances in recovery so no one “formula” works everyone. While inpatient 28 day programs can be effective, a person’s individual treatment needs ultimately determine whether he or she can benefit from this type of treatment program.

The Inpatient 28 Day Program Treatment Model

First developed in the 1980s, the 28 day program evolved out of the Minnesota Model, the very first standardized approach to treating addiction. Prior to the development of the Minnesota Model, custodial care was the sole method for “treating” substance abuse disorders.

28 day inpatient program

The 28 day inpatient program is a popular addiction treatment plan.

With the development of the Minnesota Model came a structured format for addressing the various problems that addiction breeds, according to the U. S. National Library of Medicine. In effect, this approach provides a continuum of care in terms of treating addiction in stages over time through a series of interventions designed to address the specific components that drive the addiction cycle.

Interventions incorporated into the 28 day treatment approach include:

  • Detoxification
  • Psychological evaluation
  • Individualized treatment planning
  • Drug education and counseling
  • Support group work
  • Group therapy

The 28 day program approach also takes place within an environment that’s removed from the addict’s daily life, which is essential to breaking the pattern of drug-using behaviors that feed the addiction problem.

Individual Treatment Needs

While different treatment programs may vary in approach, all work towards meeting certain key goals in recovery, including:

  • Providing needed tools for building a drug-free lifestyle
  • Enhancing a person’s overall functional capacity
  • Reducing the likelihood and/or severity of relapse episodes

With these goals in mind, inpatient 28 day programs also work to identify a person’s specific treatment needs based on his or her background, present situation and future treatment needs, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

To do this, 28 day programs develop individualized treatment plans that assign short- and long-term goals based on a person’s current condition. Ultimately, the effectiveness of any one inpatient 28 day program hinges on its ability to design a treatment plan that specifically addresses a person’s treatment needs.

Types of Inpatient 28 Day Programs

As one of many different types of residential facilities, 28 day programs provide intensive, short-term care and support services. Also known as acute care, these programs can vary in overall purpose as well as in the types of circumstances they address.

According to the Executive Office of Health & Human Services, 28 day programs fall into three separate categories:

  • Acute Treatment Services
  • Transitional Support services
  • Tewksbury Stabilization Programs

As people entering recovery often require both medical and psychological treatment help, inpatient 28 day programs treat any conditions or disorders caused by or associated with a person’s drug using behaviors.

Acute Treatment Services

Acute Treatment Service programs specialize in providing medically monitored detoxification services. People coming off chronic long-term addictions stand to experience the very worst of withdrawal effects as stopping drug use leaves the brain in a highly unstable state.

Medically monitored detoxification services work to reduce withdrawal severity using treatment medications. As severe withdrawal symptoms can be life threatening in some cases, this type of inpatient 28 day program provides round-the-clock medical care and monitoring.

Considering the intensity of care and services offered, high-risk populations, such as homeless individuals, people with chronic medical conditions, pregnant women and injection drug users make up the majority of patients who frequent these programs.

Transitional Support Services

Transitional Support Service programs act as a bridge between acute care services and long-term residential, outpatient or other forms of aftercare services. After completing detox treatment, people with moderate to severe addiction problems may still require a structured treatment environment to maintain ongoing abstinence from drug use. Though structured, this type of 28 program offers a less intensive form of care and monitoring while still providing needed behavioral-based treatment interventions. People most likely to enter these programs have been referred by detox facilities, acute treatment service providers and homeless shelters.

Tewksbury Stabilization Program

Tewksbury stabilization programs specifically treat individuals affected by homelessness who require transitional care and housing after completing detox treatment. As homelessness creates its own sets of life challenges, this type of inpatient 28 day program provides services designed to assist people in these circumstances on top of addiction treatment.

Services offered by Tewksbury stabilization programs include:

  • Case management
  • Referrals to 12 Step support groups
  • Group therapy
  • Drug education and counseling

The most likely candidates for this program type include those referred through acute treatment service programs, homeless shelters, and community mental health agencies.

Inpatient 28 Day Program Benefits

Generally speaking, 28 day programs offer a short-term solution for people who need help stopping drug use without requiring a long-term commitment to ongoing treatment. The residential aspect of these programs enables a person to make a clean break from the addiction lifestyle, which can be near impossible to do when living at home. Residential settings also create a community-type environment where recovering addicts can develop healthy relationships with like-minded individuals.


It’s not uncommon for people first entering drug treatment to expect to be “cured” once they’ve completed a program. If addiction were solely a medical condition, this may well be the case.

Unfortunately, addiction has its greatest impact on a person’s mind in terms of his or her belief systems, priorities and motivations. For these reasons, the effectiveness of any one program depends on where a person is at in the recovery process. In this respect, inpatient 28 day programs offer the greatest benefit during the early stages of recovery, at crisis points as well as during transitional periods within the recovery process.

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Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Calls to any general helpline will be answered or returned by one of the treatment providers listed, each of which is a paid advertiser: Rehab Media Group, Recovery Helpline, Alli Addiction Services.

By calling the helpline you agree to the terms of use. We do not receive any commission or fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a caller chooses. There is no obligation to enter treatment.

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