How Long Does Rehab take?

Substance use does not have to mean your life is over. People who struggle from addiction find help through rehabilitation (rehab). But how long does rehab take? Will I be away from my family? What can I expect? Length of stay and type of treatment depends on the individual needs of the person. Find out more about the length of rehab and what to expect.

The Rehab Facility

Rehabilitation facilities help people with addiction not only rid their bodies of the addictive substance, but to also learn how to live and cope with addiction. Inpatient facilities are usually private centers that offer counseling and 24/7 care to the recovering addict.

Outpatient centers allow the addict to live at home while participating in the rehab program. After completing the rehabilitation phase, the addict must continue with recovery for the remainder of his/her life.

Length of Stay

Rehab involves overcoming a physical addiction to alcohol and/or drugs. The length of time a person is in addiction treatment varies from person to person, and studies show higher success rates connected to longer stays in rehab. Some rehab programs often have the patient go through detoxification (detox), which is a process of coming clean in a short amount of time.

Other programs have the patient reduce the amount of substance slowly until he/she completely stops use. Some programs are as short as 3-6 weeks, whereas others are 90 days, 120 days, 6 months, and 12 months. The longer the program, the more time is available to stop abusing a substance. The addict has time to gain skills, knowledge, and connections necessary to stay clean.

Why Longer Programs are Beneficial

One reason why a long rehab program is beneficial is because it allows the addict the opportunity to focus on the root causes of his/her addiction. To successfully overcome any addiction, the person needs to understand the reason why he/she is addicted.

Differing from shorter programs, a longer rehabilitation program allows the addict to explore the reasons for the substance dependency. An addict works with licensed and trained professionals in an ongoing effort to determine which ways help him/her cope with addiction. The timeframe can vary from person to person, and many factors contribute to failure and success.

Extended Stay Rehabilitation, Residential Facilities, and Sober Living Environments

Many rehabilitation centers offer a variety of programs, which vary in lengths of stay. A certain length of stay may be right for one individual, but it may not be helpful to another. Short-term stays are not always best. The addict needs to put time between the substance use and himself, so an extended stay rehabilitation experience could be the answer.

At a residential facility, the extended stays are offered for an additional fee, provided the client is showing progression in his/her recovery. Another option is a sober living environment, where the addict resides in a facility for an unspecified length of time. The recovering addict is around other people who live a sober life while they work, participate in social and work activities, and make plans for the future.

The Stages of Recovery

To give you an idea regarding the time needed to recover from an addiction, it may be useful to understand the stages of recovery. These include:

  • Acknowledging the problem.
  • Willingness to change.
  • Taking action to end the addiction.
  • Learning skills to stay sober.
  • Abstinence maintenance and building a support network.
  • Advanced recovery.
  • Emotional sobriety.