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  • How long you stay in drug or alcohol rehab depends on your individual needs and the type of treatment you choose. There are both short-term and long-term rehab programs available, but there really is no one-size-fits-all amount of time.

    Common Length Of Stay

    While the length of different drug or alcohol rehab programs can vary greatly, there are some common program lengths. They include:

    The length of stay can also be determined by how much time you need in detox and individual and group therapy, as well as how long you participate in aftercare services.

    Length Of Detox

    Detoxification or detox is the first step in treatment and the length of time depends on a variety of factors including: 

    • how much you used drugs or alcohol
    • how long you’ve been using
    • type of substance use disorder
    • how long withdrawal symptoms last
    • age and weight
    • physical health and mental health
    • whether or not you’ve gone through detox before

    Because withdrawal symptoms vary, detox can last anywhere from three to ten days. Once the person is through detox, they can begin addiction recovery at an inpatient treatment center or an outpatient rehab facility.

    Length Of Inpatient Treatment

    Inpatient or residential treatment requires people to live at a treatment facility under supervision and monitoring. It can last between 28-90 days on average (although some last up to 6 months). 

    Inpatient rehab likely includes both individual and group therapy, 12-step support groups, and other activities. The short-term programs usually last from 28-30 days and are recommended for people with mild addictions and access to a strong support group. 

    The length of short-term programs can be extended by going to outpatient treatment after inpatient treatment wraps up.

    Long-Term Drug Rehab Programs

    Longer stay programs last from 30-90 days and are for those with more severe addictions or a dual diagnosis/co-occurring disorder. Longer programs include everything shorter ones do but therapists and doctors can go more in-depth with a patient.

    Long-term programs may also include other levels of care outside of the residential treatment facility, including outpatient counseling, recovery meetings, and sober-living arrangements. 

    Length Of Outpatient Treatment

    Outpatient treatment can last much longer than inpatient because therapy sessions are scheduled around the person’s life. 

    Treatment length also depends on the person’s needs and how much they have already progressed in addiction recovery. Outpatient treatment may be recommended after inpatient treatment, but it can be the primary treatment setting as well. 

    Outpatient programs, on average, the last one to six months (or more) and consist of therapy that focuses on relapse prevention, life skills, support groups, and reinforcing learned coping mechanisms. 

    Benefits Of Each Length Of Stay

    No matter what length of treatment you pick, there are benefits for each length of stay.

    Benefits of 30-Day Programs

    A 30-day treatment program is good for those who don’t know where to start. You have time to go through physical withdrawal, begin learning relapse prevention strategies, focus on mental health issues, and work on family or relationship issues.

    Thirty days is also easier to commit to. When you’re first deciding on whether to go to alcohol/drug rehab, 30 days could seem like a doable option. Insurance coverage is also likely for 30-day alcohol or drug addiction treatment.

    Benefits Of 60-Day Programs

    A 60-day program has the main benefit of giving the person more time and more support through the treatment process. You have time to practice healthy habits and relapse prevention strategies. Insurance may not cover this length of rehab program but many rehab centers have payment plans.

    Benefits Of 90-Day Programs

    90-day substance abuse treatment programs are most recommended because they give the person enough time to go through detox, therapy, and a complete treatment plan. 

    It’s also been proven that the longer someone stays in treatment, the more likely they are to achieve long-term sobriety. 90-day programs can be a combination of inpatient and outpatient care, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse recommends this length as the best option. 

    Benefits Of Outpatient Treatment

    The main benefit of outpatient rehab programs is that you can stay home and practice recovery skills outside of addiction treatment. You can go to one or two sessions a week and go to support group meetings with very little inconvenience to your other responsibilities. 

    Because of how to open outpatient treatment is, it’s recommended for people who have already been through inpatient treatment, are highly motivated to recover, or whose addictions are less severe. 

    If you or a loved one is dealing with drug or alcohol addiction, you’re not alone. Call our helpline today to find out what treatment option is best for you.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) - Principles of Effective Treatment
    National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) - Types of Treatment Programs
    Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) - Specialized Substance Abuse Treatment Programs
    Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) - Types of treatment

    Medically Reviewed by
    Kimberly Langdon M.D.
    on June 24, 2022
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