How long should I stay in rehab?

If you or somebody that you care about is considering going to rehab or getting treatment for their drug addiction, you may have wondered at one point - how long this is going to take?

This is not an uncommon worry among people who are struggling with addiction or who have family members or friends who are dependent on drugs or alcohol. Drug and alcohol addiction does not occur overnight, and unfortunately, treatment for these problems cannot occur overnight either.

The length of that somebody must stay in a treatment facility depends greatly on their addiction. The substances involved in the addiction and the length of time that these substances were used can both affect the amount of time that the user will have to spend in treatment. Hopefully this guide can provide you with the information that you're seeking.

Treatment Program Lengths

There are various lengths of programs for various degrees of addiction. These can vary between different rehabilitation facilities, but these are generally good estimates for the amount of time that is required for treatment.

The detox process is not always required for somebody to attend rehab. Regardless, medically supervised detox is often recommended and is sometimes mandatory, especially for people who run the risk of experiencing potentially fatal withdrawal symptoms. This is usually only people who have extremely severe addiction to alcohol or benzodiazepines.

Detox programs typically run for one of 3 time periods

  • * A short, 3 day detox is often recommended for people who have mild substance abuse problems and are mostly worried about relapsing during the withdrawal phase. Attending a medically supervised detox for these two or three days is often enough for them to get through the worst of the withdrawals. If withdrawal is the only thing leading of the user to relapse, then this should be enough.
  • * 5 day detoxes are for people who have more severe withdrawal symptoms to deal with. People who are addicted to opioids like heroin or morphine will often and need of 5 day detox minimum. Short-acting opioids like these typically peak by day 3, and after day 5, recovering users will be able to return to normal life.
  • * 7-Day detoxes are for people who have much more serious addictions and who will have to face serious withdrawal symptoms. People who are addicted to alcohol or benzodiazepines, which can seriously lower the seizure threshold, leading to fatal seizures, are often referred to 7 Day detoxes.

Sometimes, in the most serious cases of addictions, 7 days will not be enough time for a detox process to finish. These patients must inform the treatment facility about the severity of their addiction, and they will be treated accordingly.

The Program Itself
The rehabilitation program itself can be any length of time. Some people consider themselves to be in lifelong rehabilitation after they have quit using drugs.

If we are speaking about rehabilitation in terms of the amount of time that you actually have to spend at a facility, then treatment times are usually between a month and a year. Let's look at the different time schedules for different types of addictions.

Outpatient Rehabs
The scheduling for outpatient rehab varies immensely between different patients. This is because outpatient rehab is designed in a manner that allows patients to attend school and work while they are also a part of the rehab program. Since they are not as intensive as inpatient programs, they are often protracted over a much longer period of time.

Since outpatient rehabs only require their patients to attend a certain number of counseling or therapy sessions per week, and this number is set based on the client’s schedule, outpatient programs can take anywhere from a month to several years.

Inpatient Rehabs
inpatient rehabs are treatment programs that require the patience to be present at the facility at all times. These are most often what people are concerned about when they are asking about the length of time somebody is going to spend in rehab.

Friends and family of the recovering addicts will not be able to see them, or at least not for extended periods, while they are in treatment. This is for the benefit of the patient and for their friends and family as well, because there's no telling who might contribute to a relapse if they are allowed to spend too much time with the recovering addict.

Inpatient rehab programs can vary in length.

  • * 30-day programs are recommended for people who have not had serious drug addictions, or who are not severely struggling. These programs are good for people who have not attempted to quit using drugs before.
  • * 90 day Rehabilitation programs are sometimes considered to be the standard. These often require you to have a detox base before attending the actual program. During a 90-day program, patients are able to cleanse their body of any addictive substances. They may be given medications to ease the symptoms of withdrawal and post-acute withdrawal symptoms, and any addiction or withdrawal to these temporary medications can also be managed during the 90 days
  • * Treatment programs longer than 90 days can be beneficial for people who suffer from extremely serious or recurring addictions. These programs allow the patients to take the time that they need to truly learn how to stop abusing substances.This can involve extensive therapy, lots of group counseling, and anything else that is required to help reframe the user's mind so they do not need to use drugs as a crutch.

Typically, even the longest stays at rehab are not longer than a year. Stays that are longer than 90 days often allow for visiting time for family and sometimes for friends, though these visitation periods may be closely monitored.

In conclusion
There is no way to answer the question of a how long somebody will need to stay in rehab. It depends on a lot of things - the state of their addiction, the drugs they are addicted to, their current mindstate, their past experiences, their willingness to change, and anything else that might impact their recovery time.

Generally, you can assume that the more serious the addiction, the longer it will take to treat. One way to look at this is to remember that it takes years for a drug user to reach the point that they want to go to rehab. It may take years for them to get back to where they were. Rehab itself will probably not take up all of these years, but it can at least give them the tools they need to survive.