How Long Does a Drug Rehab Program Last?

how long is rehab

People interested in getting addiction help at a drug rehab center are often concerned about the average length of addiction treatment. The length varies depending on multiple circumstances making it difficult to determine an exact average length. We can tell you that on average, individuals stay in treatment between 30 and 90 days. Brief treatment that involves detox, therapy, and supportive care may be effective for some people, but treating substance use disorders is a complex process that could last years. While it may seem desirable to get through rehab as quickly as possible, research shows that longer stays in rehab lead to lower relapse rates.

Success is not guaranteed, but some treatment is always better than none. However, a majority of people with substance use disorder do not get help. According to the SAMSHA National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 21.7 million people aged 12 or older needed addiction treatment in 2015, yet just 2.3 million went to rehab.

Drug rehabilitation stays can be broken into two categories: short-term and long-term. The average stay in short-term rehab is about 28 to 30 days. However, long-term rehab averages around 90 days, though longer stays aren’t uncommon in severe cases.

Both treatment options include one to two weeks of detoxification followed by an assessment of the personal issues that contribute to your addiction. These can include psychological trauma, chemical imbalances, and an overabundance of addiction triggers.

How Long Does Short-Term Rehab Last?

While is said that programs of at least 90 days are the most effective, short-term rehab still has a place in addiction recovery. For example, a 30-day stay is a great way for a person to take a step back and get a good look at their life. Often, these stays are enough to prepare someone into committing to recovery.

Short-term visits are also preferable for people with very busy schedules. After all, most people will struggle to find ways to clear 30 days from their schedule, let alone 90. These practical concerns do need to be considered when choosing a treatment option.

Insurance coverage is another practical reason that many people choose short-term rehabilitation. Unfortunately, insurance coverage of drug rehabilitation programs isn’t always a reality, meaning many people simply can’t afford to pay for longer, more intensive treatment options.

Why Longer Drug Rehab Stays Are Preferred

In spite of the advantages of short-term rehab, long-term treatment is often necessary in severe cases. Often, it is the last option for people who have struggled with short-term treatment or multiple relapses.

Other benefits of long-term rehabilitation include:

  • Extra time to relearn vital “life skills” you may have neglected
  • 24-hour health care options
  • Detoxification doesn’t completely dominate the treatment
  • Help give the brain time to recover and heal
  • Provides more time for discussing psychological concerns
  • Rebuilds relationships with estranged family and friends
  • Includes nutritional assistance for rebuilding a healthy diet

Government agencies agree that for chronic substance abuse, long-term rehab stays are preferred for maximum success. According to NIH:

Remaining in treatment for an adequate period of time is critical.  The appropriate duration for an individual depends on the type and degree of the patient’s problems and needs. Research indicates that most addicted individuals need at least 3 months in treatment to significantly reduce or stop their drug use and that the best outcomes occur with longer durations of treatment. Recovery from drug addiction is a long-term process and frequently requires multiple episodes of treatment. As with other chronic illnesses, relapses to drug abuse can occur and should signal a need for treatment to be reinstated or adjusted. Because individuals often leave treatment prematurely, programs should include strategies to engage and keep patients in treatment.

Ultimately, there is no “right” answer for how long anyone should stay in treatment. Everyone is unique and has different needs and expectations from the rehabilitation process.

addiction recovery

Individualized Treatment for Your Circumstances

At Garden State Treatment Center, the length of your treatment stay depends on a variety of factors. We examine the progress you’re making during treatment, consult with loved ones, and create the most appropriate treatment plan and discharge date.

Located in the heart of Northern New Jersey, we are is outpatient and partial care addiction treatment facility that offers nuanced levels of care for individuals struggling with the horrors of substance abuse. It is our explicit goal to help addicted clients rebuild their lives from the inside out and reintegrate themselves back into society. The most important thing you can expect from your experience is that you will emerge from it transformed, stable, and ready to begin a lifetime of recovery.


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