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Find Long Term Alcohol And Drug Rehab Centers Based On Your Needs

John Schaffer, LPCC

Medically reviewed by

John Schaffer, LPCC

February 1, 2019

Long-term recovery programs allow individuals to take as much time as they need with their recovery so that they can ensure they are well on the path to sobriety before leaving treatment.

A long-term inpatient drug rehab program lasts 60 days, 90 days, or even longer. Short-term programs are typically 28 or 30 days. The extra days, or even months, in treatment may mean the difference between a return to substance abuse and a strong, healthy recovery.

Individuals who need more time in recovery will find the space and environment in which to heal in long-term alcohol and drug rehab, without the restriction of time.

Additional time in drug or alcohol rehab is especially beneficial to those with severe forms of addiction, dependencies to serious drugs, and/or a co-occurring mental health disorder. Long-term inpatient treatment allows individuals more time to build the coping, interpersonal, and relapse prevention skills which are so crucial to a balanced, drug-free life.

Long-Term Vs. Short-Term Programs

When considering long-term versus short-term treatment options, understanding the vital role of both forms of treatment within addiction recovery is important.

For more serious addictions, or for those who have used drugs or alcohol chronically for a long period of time, a short-term program may not offer the most optimal opportunity for recovery. From the standard 12-step program, to various behavioral therapies, and a peer-supported therapeutic community, long-term rehab programs provide a multitude of treatment options.

Short-term rehab may provide many of the same options, but the difference lies in the amount of time an individual will have to engage in them. Short-term programs may not allow for the intensity of care and time necessary to build a stable, healthy recovery.

Just as an individual begins to make deep and lasting changes within shorter programs, treatment could end. Having double or triple the time, or even longer, gives individuals who need it more of an opportunity to undo the damage caused by addiction. Long-term drug and alcohol rehab programs also gives people time to build a healthy, sober future.

Some people simply can’t afford a longer program, or they find that the commitments in their lives will not allow them the time to enroll in one. No matter an addicted individual’s need, any amount of treatment is always better than none.

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Chronic drug and alcohol abuse strips away a person’s morale and ability to carry out important social and personal responsibilities, leading to adverse effects on their mental health, family, and career. Choosing an individualized treatment program helps to ensure that treatment addresses these needs, in a way which is customized to a person’s life.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states, “To be effective, treatment must address the individual’s drug abuse and any associated medical, psychological, social, vocational, and legal problems. It is also important that treatment be appropriate to the individual’s age, gender, ethnicity, and culture.”

With the time constraints of a short-term program, fully addressing these elements may be difficult. Long-term programs tend to provide the time needed to commit to a state of sober, intentional living.

When Are Short-Term Programs Best?

Short-term recovery can be effective for a client who isn’t heavily addicted, or who is seeking an opportunity to brush up on principles of a strong recovery. This may include a person who has recently relapsed, one who is on the verge of relapse, or someone whose heavy substance abuse puts them at risk for addiction.

Because short-term programs usually last about a month, they sometimes don’t fit the needs of the patient as much as they fit the patient’s health insurance parameters or financial means. Many people may choose short-term rehab programs because their insurance covers a shorter stay, and not primarily because of their need.

The price associated with residential treatment can be daunting, and for this reason many rehab centers provide sliding fee scales, private scholarships, and other payment plans. For people who cannot cover the cost of drug and alcohol rehab, grants through their state may be available.

How Much Time Do You Really Need In A Long-Term Rehab Center?

The length of time will vary depending on numerous factors. The NIDA states, “Research indicates that most addicted individuals need at least 3 months in treatment to significantly reduce or stop their drug use and the best outcomes occur with longer durations of treatment.”

Here are some questions to ask when choosing a program length:

  • What’s the drug of abuse?
  • How severe is the addiction?
  • How long has the person been addicted?
  • Is a medical detox necessary?
  • Does the person have a co-occurring mental health disorder?
  • Is there a substantial support system for the individual?

The long-term nature of extended rehabilitation gives individuals more time away from not just the drug, but also the distractions, temptations, and stress of daily life which may encourage substance abuse.

Long-Term Programs With Medical Detox

A medical detox is used to treat the physical addiction for those who suffer from an alcohol, benzodiazepine, or opioid use disorder. The best inpatient drug rehab programs offer this service directly on site, allowing clients to transition to treatment once detoxification is complete.

During detox, the chemical toll of the substance on a person’s body will be addressed, as the drug clears from their system. Medications, nutritive interventions, and compassionate support round out the comprehensive care individuals receive during this time. Once detox is completed, formal treatment can begin to address the psychological, behavioral, and emotional effects of addiction.

Long-Term Drug And Alcohol Rehab Programs

Inpatient drug and alcohol rehab programs are meant to address more than just physical dependency. Once a person has successfully completed detox, the mental and emotional toll of addiction still lingers. Some programs release individuals directly after detox, or provide only brief, outpatient follow-up care. For the majority of individuals, these methods simply do not allow enough time to combat addiction as a whole.

Addiction is a disease of the brain, yet many other elements within a person’s life are affected by it. A large component of rehab is behavioral modification. Through the guidance of therapists and counselors, clients learn to identify and change any maladaptive behaviors which could be advancing addiction.

The following behavioral therapies are often a large part of this process:

As individuals develop an initiative for change, they learning coping skills to manage addiction long-term, as recovery is a long-term process. Mindfulness and stress management practices are often integrated to help with this pursuit.

Long-Term Programs With Dual Diagnosis Care

Successful long-term programs should deal with the secondary mental illness, or dual diagnosis, if present. Mental illnesses quite often accompany, cause, or result from substance abuse, and many people who abuse substances also develop or currently have a mental health disorder.

As with addiction, a longer duration of care is often needed to address these dual diagnosis concerns. Dual diagnosis, also called co-occurring disorders, may require long-term programs with access to treatment professionals with experience treating both addiction and mental disorders. A person who receives treatment for one disorder, but doesn’t receive treatment for the other, may find it difficult to succeed in treatment.

Benefits Of Long-Term Drug And Alcohol Rehab

A large advantage to long-term treatment facilities is that recovering members become a part of the community and learn to take on responsibilities as sober, functioning members of society. This helps to develop:

  • accountability
  • boundaries
  • interpersonal and communication skills
  • personal awareness
  • respect (both for self and others)
  • self-confidence

Drugs and alcohol addiction can make it nearly impossible to take part in the things which bring meaning to a person’s life. Important responsibilities are forgotten as addicted individuals become fixated on finding and using the substance. Long-term treatment allows these individuals to restore health so they rebuild their lives.

Many inpatient rehab programs offer a blend of holistic therapies, including acupuncture, massage, meditation, Reiki, tai chi, and yoga. While these programs can be fun, invigorating, or even relaxing, they actually serve a therapeutic benefit within treatment as well.

Engaging in challenges, relieving stress, and getting in touch with personal interests (or making new ones) are all part of building a balanced recovery. The more time a person has in treatment, the greater opportunity they have to renew and revitalize their life.

What Happens After Long-Term Drug And Alcohol Rehab?

A variety of different treatment options are offered at long-term rehab centers from more natural approaches to researched-based scientific modalities. In some cases, attending meetings or peer support groups may be necessary for the rest of the individual’s life. Even if a person doesn’t attend meetings, a good aftercare program is an essential part of recovery, especially in the first year after rehab.

If someone you love needs long-term treatment for addiction, contact us for more information.

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National Institute on Drug Abuse - Principles of Effective Treatment

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