A man considering a drug or alcohol addiction treatment center to finally find freedom from addiction.

How long should drug rehab last so the results are sustainable? If someone begins a long-term program, how might that impact employment, family obligations—like caring for children—and home life after the rehab program is completed? What does long-term rehab mean, anyway?

These are important questions to ask when considering what type of inpatient addiction rehab is the right fit. The reality is, drug and alcohol dependence does not occur overnight. It might begin with casual use and can gradually escalate as a person’s tolerance increases, and it takes more drugs or alcohol to achieve the same high. Eventually, it can impact the brain. Basically, the brain tells the body that it needs substances to feel good.

According to the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse, recovering from addiction is a process that usually takes a rehabilitation period of 90 days or longer.

What About The Time Away From Home?

We know that the thought of extended stay rehab can be daunting. It can feel overwhelming, and some will resist addiction treatment due to a fear of the unknown. What happens during those months? Why does it have to take so long to recover? What about their job, friends, family, life at home?

It’s important to consider the benefits of long-term rehab and why this drug and alcohol rehabilitation model is an effective strategy for sustainable addiction recovery. If someone wants to live free from addiction, getting there is a process.

When to consider long-term rehab? What are the benefits? How does it work, and what outcomes can occur from a long-term program vs. outpatient therapy? Let’s answer some of those questions now.

Who Should Enroll?

One might think that rehab is for the “worst cases” and wonder if that’s the type of program they should pursue to break the addiction cycle. The fact is, drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs come in a variety of forms and serve a broad segment of the population. When someone admits to a treatment program, they create a new, sober lifestyle, and that takes time. A rehabilitation program might be a fit for someone if they:

  • Suffer from severe substance addiction.
  • Have abused substances for many years.
  • Have tried other detox or short-term rehab programs in the past with little success.
  • Quickly relapse after each treatment episode.

If someone identifies with one or all of these situations, then a longer addiction treatment program is a viable option.

How Long Does Successful Recovery Take?

Expect a program to last at least 90 days—and up to 6 to 12 months. Short-term rehabilitation usually lasts 30 days, with several of those first days dedicated to detox. The drawback here is less time for reshaping behaviors and establishing a healthy, sober lifestyle.

No two long-term rehab experiences are exactly alike because every person enters rehabilitation with different underlying causes, including mental health problems like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or experiencing trauma or tragedy. Many patients are on different journeys toward recovery. One person might find success in addiction treatment that is 90 days long—while another person could require a year or longer for rehabilitation to transition into a healthy lifestyle. If someone has wrestled with drug and alcohol problems for years, it will likely take more time to drop ingrained, harmful habits and adopt new, healthy, productive ones.

Rehabilitation centers provide the support and time to examine a person’s life, repair broken relationships, and re-integrate into society with support like employment assistance and ongoing therapy. The idea is that this is a long-term process—and a lifelong commitment.

What Happens During A Rehab Program?

During drug therapy, patients attend individual and group therapy, along with family therapy. They experience recovery groups and go through addiction education to understand what is happening with their minds and bodies and create new, healthy habits. Relapse prevention helps secure new, positive behaviors; 12-step meetings or faith-based rehab is also available. There’s no one-size-fits-all plan, as long-term programs are tailored to the individuals’ needs.

What Are The Benefits Of a Longer Program?

Why enroll in a long-term rehabilitation center vs. a short-term rehab program? There are several benefits, including:

  • A Support Network. A therapist team becomes an extension of the family while patients are in rehab. They walk with them as they work through detox, rehabilitation, and transition back to everyday life.
  • Addressing Underlying Causes. The time in rehab allows for addressing underlying mental health problems that can make a person vulnerable to addiction. We explore dual diagnoses and treat the root cause of addiction. Then, therapies and treatments can be tailored to address those issues and support drug and alcohol rehabilitation.
  • Taking a Holistic Approach. During rehab, patients tap into a range of holistic practices that can mend their mind, body, and spirit. From yoga and tai chi to horseback riding, massage, chiropractic, and spa services, they’ll find ways to fill their body with what it needs to heal.
  • Transitioning to Everyday Life. Patients gain tools to ease their re-integration into everyday life, including employment support and group/family therapy to rebuild relationships. Long-term rehab begins with a solid, comprehensive rehabilitation program—and continues with lifelong, healthy behaviors.

Rehab Happens One Day At A Time

Addiction doesn’t happen overnight, and neither does recovery from drug or alcohol abuse. A rehabilitation facility provides a supportive environment, comprehensive treatment approach, professional support, and aftercare to help you start a new, healthy life again.

Contact our team or give us a call at 877-284-0353 to learn more about Beachway and our CARF-accredited facility in Florida. We are ranked in the top 1% of treatment facilities in the United States—and we’re here to help, no obligations. Call us anytime. Ask us anything.