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How Long Term Inpatient Drug Rehab Reduces the Risk of Relapse

Not every individual will need the same type of treatment or even the same type of treatment center. That aside, inpatient drug rehab is often necessary for many individuals and helps to reduce their risk of relapse. Furthermore, many individuals who attend inpatient, or residential, treatment especially need a long term stay at the facility. For these individuals, long term inpatient drug rehab reduces the risk of relapse. Here’s how.

Longer Treatment Length Leads to Better Outcomes

Individuals who need inpatient care are often dealing with more intense issues as a result of their drug abuse or somehow involved with their abuse. While there is more to it than that, longer treatment for these individuals is often more successful as they are able to work on all facets of their recovery and have more time to heal.

inpatient drug rehab

Long-term inpatient drug rehab is likely to lead to a better recovery.

According to the NIDA, “Research has shown unequivocally that good outcomes are contingent on adequate treatment length.” In many instances, adequate means long term. The NIDA states treatment times that last at least ninety days are much more effective than those that don’t, but long term treatments are commonly those which last for a year or so. Inpatient treatment programs can last this long, especially those which follow the TC or therapeutic community model. This kind of long term treatment has actually been proven to lead to better recoveries and fewer relapses.

Intensified Treatments

Longer treatment in a residential setting like those of TCs can be extremely beneficial to individuals struggling with many issues involved in their drug abuse. The NIDA states, “Treatment [in TCs] is highly structured and can be confrontational at times, with activities designed to help residents examine damaging beliefs, self-concepts, and destructive patterns of behavior and adopt new, more harmonious and constructive ways to interact with others.” These types of treatments can be difficult to work through and take a long time.

These treatments may be very intensified, but they can be extremely rewarding for particularly troubled patients. They can help patients who would otherwise be much more difficult to reach with traditional models or with less hands-on treatments, like those which might be used in outpatient facilities. These intensified treatments can actually help patients wake up to their feelings and their issues and feel stronger afterwards, leading to stronger recoveries and a lower risk of relapse.

Treatment for Co-occurring Disorders

Co-occurring mental disorders are extremely common in those who struggle with addiction. While some may have turned to drugs in order to help them cope with depression, generalized anxiety, or other mental disorders, other patients may have experienced issues with psychosis, anxiety, depression, or schizophrenia-like problems as a result of their drug abuse.

It is difficult in some cases to know for sure which came first: the mental disorder or the addiction. But in all individuals who struggle with co-occurring disorders, treatment of only one will not actually help as much as treatment for both.

As stated by the NIDA, “The high rate of comorbidity between drug use disorders and other mental illnesses calls for a comprehensive approach that identifies and evaluates both.” Inpatient drug rehab centers, especially those which treat patients in the long term, are usually more fully equipped to handle patients with these needs and treat them accordingly for both issues. This can help reduce the risk of relapse because both of the most problematic issues the patient is dealing with are being treated together instead of allowing one to continue on unabated.

Social Support and Resocialization

In many cases, individuals who abuse drugs in the long term either feel isolated from everyone or without a strong social support system. In some instances, these individuals have lost their social support systems because of their uncontrollable drug abuse that family members and friends finally would not stand by and continue to watch. This can be very difficult for the individual, especially if no one is encouraging them when they are trying to quit.

Social support is very important to a strong recovery and a lower probability of relapse. That’s why long term inpatient drug rehab can be extremely helpful in this case. According to a study on inpatient treatment vs. outpatient treatment, “Patients with… a poor social support system are predicted to have a better outcome in inpatient treatment” and after treatment has ended (NCBI). They are not alone for large parts of the day, as they would be if they were staying by themselves and attending outpatient treatment, and they have the chance of meeting new people in treatment.

Also, resocialization is a common tool used in long term inpatient drug rehab, especially in those which follow the TC model. “TCs focus on the ‘resocialization’ of the individual and use the program’s entire community––including other residents, staff, and the social context––as active components of treatment.” This way, even individuals who have a social support system can benefit from from long term inpatient drug rehab, as many individuals in their support system may not understand exactly what they are going through. Those in the facility itself will understand and will also be able to provide positive feedback that will carry with the individual, in some cases even after treatment ends.

This type of treatment can help patients meet other individuals who may influence them in and out of treatment and give them time to change their beliefs about their drug use through socialization with other individuals, especially during a time when relapse may otherwise be the most likely.

Does Long Term Inpatient Drug Rehab Really Help Reduce the Risk of Relapse?

In a study from 1996, patients in long-term, community-based inpatient centers were studied against those in hospital-based care. Those in the former had lower readmission rates than those in the latter. Also, according to the study, “Longer episodes of residential care and more outpatient mental health care were also associated with lower readmission rates” (NCBI). For many individuals, long term inpatient drug rehab can really help reduce the risk of relapse, and if you are experiencing intense issues as a result of your drug abuse, you should absolutely consider this treatment.

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