A group comforting a woman who is going through a long-term rehab program.There are various levels of drug and alcohol rehab, and when you’re struggling with addiction and making a decision about going to rehab, figuring out what care you will get in inpatient, outpatient and long-term rehab can be confusing. Specifically, you might be wondering: What’s the difference between long-term rehab vs. outpatient rehab?

Long-term rehab is a drug rehab program that lasts longer than 30 days. The 30-day (or less) drug rehab programs are usually referred to as inpatient rehab—but anyone who has experienced substance abuse or seen a loved one suffer knows that 30 days in a program is often not enough. It takes time to “reset” behaviors and dig to the root cause of addiction.

Outpatient rehab is not for everyone but is available if you have successfully completed inpatient and can manage to balance your daily routine—work, family—with rehab programs. With outpatient rehab, you continue with your everyday life while making time for individual or group therapy, or a range of rehab programs that an addiction treatment center might offer.

What’s confusing is, outpatient rehab is also long-term rehab because you might continue participating in outpatient programs for a year—or much longer. There really is no limit. The idea is to have that continuum of care so you can receive support and ongoing counseling while successfully moving forward with recovery. Here’s what you need to know when comparing long-term rehab vs. outpatient rehab:

Better Results with Long-Term Drug Rehab

A range of studies point to the recovery success people struggling with addiction or substance abuse can achieve when they commit to a long-term drug and alcohol rehab program. According to the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse, a rehabilitation period of 90 days or longer is usually necessary to allow enough time to fully recover from addiction.

The longer the stay at rehab, usually the higher the chances of successful recovery.

If you or someone you love have wrestled with a drug or alcohol problem for years, it will take longer to form new, healthy habits and stop the old, harmful ones.

Ultimately, you get more time in long-term rehab—more time to deal with the mental and physical side effects of addiction, and more time to uncover through therapy the underlying causes of your addiction. You get more time to attend group, individual and family therapy to regain a positive sense of self, and to rebuild important relationships in your life. You get more time to establish healthy habits – to take advantage of complementary holistic drug rehab programs, from massage and meditation to art therapy and nutrition counseling.

More time in rehab is associated with greater success. It gives you a chance to really examine the triggers that make you reach for substances—and form new, productive habits so you can deal with cravings successfully. Your healthy behaviors become more ingrained over time, and long-term rehab gives you that constant support.

What Happens in Long-Term Drug Rehab?

Long-term drug rehab generally follows the same course of treatment as a short-term rehab program. You’ll begin with detox to rid the body of harmful substances. Then, you will enter into inpatient drug or alcohol rehab, which is an intensive period of counseling and therapies that can include 12-steps, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and recovery support groups.

Along with this care, some addiction treatment centers like Beachway provide holistic drug rehab to help you manage stress, regain health and foster a healthy mind, body, and spirit. After a period of about 30 days, or less, if your inpatient stay is successful, you will transition back into everyday life with the support of outpatient drug rehab services.

The Bottom Line: Long-term drug rehab is a program that lasts longer than 30 days for an inpatient stay. It follows the same course as shorter, inpatient drug rehab programs with the benefit of more time receiving support for recovery.

Who Is a Candidate for Outpatient Drug Rehab?

If you are just thinking about entering drug rehab and are not sober yet, then the first steps are to enter into a program that includes detox and inpatient/PHP rehab. If you are still using substances, then you are not a candidate for outpatient drug and alcohol rehab.

If you have successfully completed drug and alcohol rehab and are currently clean and sober, then you might be a candidate for outpatient rehab if you can manage to balance your daily routine along with outpatient rehab programs.

Outpatient drug rehab is ideal for a person in recovery who is seeking additional therapy for continuing recovery. They must have a clean drug screen to participate, and periodic drug screenings are conducted to ensure that outpatient rehab is still a fit. If a screening comes back “dirty,” then a referral to more intensive drug rehab will be given to replace outpatient rehab.

The Bottom Line: If you are clean, sober and have successfully completed an intensive drug and alcohol rehab program, then you may be a candidate for continued support and therapy through outpatient drug rehab. This is one of the main differences between long-term rehab vs. outpatient rehab.

What Happens In Outpatient Drug Rehab?

With outpatient drug rehab, you gain access to individual, group and family counseling at the treatment center. You can continue meeting with your counselor or will be assigned to a different counselor who will support your recovery. You can also attend various holistic drug rehab programs. You might come to the rehab center as often as five days a week to attend programs—or less frequently, depending on your needs. The purpose is to provide a continuum of care and ongoing support during the recovery journey.

There is no time limit on outpatient drug rehab.

Outpatient drug rehab often offers alumni programs that provide peer support—a group of people who gather regularly for dinner or outings. This is a safe place to establish healthy relationships with people who are living a healthy lifestyle and support each other. If you have any further questions about the differences between long-term rehab vs. outpatient rehab, feel free to contact our dedicated team.

The First Step to Recovery

If you are currently struggling with addiction, or know someone who is, the first step is to call a drug and alcohol rehab center like Beachway. Don’t worry about whether you’ll enter a long-term rehab vs. outpatient rehab program. The first step is to get help.

We are here for you. Call us any time—ask us anything. We just want to be sure you get the care you need when you need it. Contact Beachway at (877) 284-0353, or fill out this simple contact form and we’ll get in touch with you.