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How Long Is The Average Stay At A Drug Rehab Center?

David Hunter, MA.Ed, LPC

Medically reviewed by

David Hunter, MA.Ed, LPC

January 23, 2019

People interested in attending drug rehab centers are often concerned about the length of their stay. Treatment length varies depending on multiple circumstances making it difficult to determine an average length, but typically, individuals stay in treatment for 30-90 days.

Treatment In Short- And Long-Term Rehabilitation Programs

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 18-month visits 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, such as psychological trauma, chemical imbalances, and an overabundance of addiction triggers.

These problems will be assessed with a variety of treatment options, including:

  • Group counseling
  • Family meetings
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • The 12-Step program
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy

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The Advantages of Short Term Rehabilitation

While the US National Institute on Drug Abuse has stated 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 stun 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 of 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 Rehabilitation is Still Preferable

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 heath care options
  • Detoxification doesn’t completely dominate the treatment
  • Helps 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

Choosing Between Short-Term or Long-Term Rehabilitation

Ask yourself the following questions to decide whether short- or long-term rehabilitation is right for you:

  • Have I suffered from multiple relapses in the past?
  • Is this my first attempt at drug rehabilitation?
  • Are there any health problems I need to treat while recovering from addiction?
  • Do I just need a break from life that 30 drug-free days can help me achieve?
  • Has my drug use taken over my life, driven away friends, and made it impossible to function?
  • Do I need to be isolated from a negative group of people who contribute to my addiction?

Learning More

If you or someone you know is suffering from drug addiction and needs to decide on a treatment plan, please contact us today at We can provide you with free guidance towards a drug-free life.

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