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How Long Does Rehab Last for Drugs and Alcohol?

When considering rehab, many patients have concerns about what to expect. One of the most common questions is, “How long does rehab last”?

When you or someone you love has a substance abuse problem, there’s no more important priority than sobriety.

Having said that, it’s understandable that patients wonder about what kind of commitment they’d be signing up for when entering rehab. After all, everyone has jobs, families, friends, and other obligations to attend to. 

Regarding the length of rehab; it’s not a question that’s easily answered early on.

The typical patient will start with a 30-day standard rehab program and make adjustments as needed and recommended. Some patients need less time, and many others require longer. 

Let’s take a look at some of the factors that determine how long you can expect a rehab program to last:

How Long Does Rehab Last?

Whether you’re considering entering rehab yourself or looking into for someone that you love, you’re likely curious how long the typical rehab program lasts. 

The simple answer to this question, “How long does rehab last?” is: it varies. The length of your rehab program is going to depend on you (or your loved one), and your needs as an individual.

It will also depend on the severity of your addiction, your response to treatment, and your willingness to participate fully in the rehabilitation process. 

There are many people who can benefit very well from shorter treatments. These treatments might involve detox, therapy, and support in a briefer period of time.

For most people, however, treating substance abuse or addiction disorders is a complex process and requires more time. 

You may hope to get through rehab as quickly as possible, however, research has shown that longer rehab programs tend to lead to lower relapse rates. 

To help you get a general idea of how long you can expect a full rehab process to last, it’s important to get a sense of the different phases.

The Detox Phase

The detox phase is the first phase of rehabilitation and typically takes anywhere from 7 to 10 days. Those struggling with a more serious substance abuse disorder might require a longer stay. 

There are some treatment medications that can aid in moving the detox phase along. Medication such as “buprenorphine”, can sometimes shorten the length of the detox phase. 

You never want to rush the detox phase along, however. Before you or your loved one can reach true sobriety, it’s so important that all the alcohol or drugs are fully flushed from the body.

This experience can be uncomfortable due to withdrawal symptoms. Detoxification is supervised by a well-trained, experienced medical staff to help the patient through it. 

The Treatment Phase

The treatment phase is where the bulk of the work takes place. Substance abuse treatment can last anywhere from 30 days to a year or more.

This will again depend upon the severity of the addiction and the patient’s willingness to overcome the addiction. Those who are addicted to certain drugs will require longer stays. 

The treatment phase utilizes both therapy and counseling to help pinpoint and work on behavioral issues and emotional triggers that prompt drug use. The goal is to replace the negative coping mechanisms with positive behaviors. 

Counseling sessions take place both one-on-one and in small group settings. 

Medication might also be part of the treatment phase. 

Your team of doctors and experienced counselors and therapists will make recommendations along the way. Following their advice will help you make the most of your rehabilitation efforts. Dismissing medical advice can lead to a longer rehabilitation. 

Once certain goals are met and the patient has made the necessary improvements, the next phase can begin. 

The Aftercare Phase

Many people mistakenly believe that the detox and treatment phase of rehab are the most important. The truth is, the aftercare phase is crucial to maintaining long-term sobriety.

Even with the best treatment available, cravings for drugs and/or alcohol can resurface at any time, often unexpectedly. 

The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that the rate of relapse for drug addiction is anywhere from 40-60%. By really focusing on adequate aftercare, you can beat these odds and better ensure long-term success. 

Preventing relapse will likely include a combination of efforts from medication to counseling to changing behavioral patterns.

You or your loved one might have to make drastic changes such as eliminating certain people from their life, changing jobs, or even moving. 

There’s no time limit on aftercare. Even if you wean yourself off of certain medications meant to minimize side effects, or taper off your counseling sessions, aftercare is taking precautions for the rest of your life to ensure that you don’t fall into old habits. 

How long does rehab last? In a sense, a lifetime. 

The Importance of Finding the Right Program for Your Needs

Hopefully, this article has provided some insight into the question, “how long does rehab last?” and the basics of a traditional rehab program. 

The key to successful rehabilitation is a combination of choosing the right program (and length of program), your determination to succeed, and having a strong support system in place. 

If you have questions about rehab, feel free to contact us to discuss them. We’re here to help. 

We’re happy to walk you through the different treatment options that we offer including residential treatment, partial care, and outpatient treatment. We want to help you find the rehabilitation program that’s best for you and your family. 

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