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30 Days In Rehab Is Not Enough


The standard, inpatient, drug rehab program lasts 30 days, or less.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, programs consisting of 90 days or more are necessary for increasing the success rates of recovering addicts. Thirty and 60 days rehab programs do not give addiction specialists enough time to teach addicts vital coping and life skills they need to avoid relapse.

In addition, the risk for overdose rises for addicts in short-term rehab due to their tolerance for drugs dropping following detoxification. In other words, if they start using soon after leaving drug rehab, they typically use the same amount of drugs they were using before entering rehab.

  • The industry success rate for patients who stay in residential rehab for 30 days or less is approximately 10-15%. However, the success rate for people who stay 90 days or more is 60-70%

An article published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that inmates detoxifying in short-term prison programs “are 129 times more likely to die from an overdose during the first two weeks of their release.”

Unfortunately, the time spent in a facility depends on how long an addict’s health insurance will pay for the program. Since most addicts rely on Medicaid, they only qualify for less time treatment.

  • Unfortunately, 1 month (or less) is not enough to address the unique and complex needs of drug  and alcohol addicts. In fact, addiction experts claim one month only detoxifies addicts but does nothing to prevent relapse.

Another study put out by the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse found that length of stay in residential substance abuse treatment “was a major determinant of treatment effectiveness”.

Patients in treatment for at least 90 days achieved a nearly 80 percent abstinence rate (no relapse events), about the same for patients remaining in treatment for six months.

The article notes that patients successfully completing drug rehab treatment required at least six months of treatment to achieve sobriety without relapse.

Research further indicates there is indeed a minimum amount of time, (specifically, at least 90 days), patients must spend in a drug rehab program to benefit from the program’s personalized, in-depth services.

In addition, studies have found “windows of time” during which patients are most likely to drop out of a program. For example, addicts in IOPs (intensive outpatient programs involve five to seven days of counseling) are at risk for dropping out between weeks four and six while patients in outpatient programs (two or three days of counseling per week) tend to drop out between week two and four.

For people to successfully complete a drug rehabilitation program and avoid relapse, they must be helped by counselors to understand the biopsychosocial aspects of the disease of addiction.

Patients must master identifying high-risk “trigger” situations and learning to manage these situations by changing self-defeating thinking patterns before they leave their program.

  • Short-term program simply does not provide enough time for addicts to adjust to detoxification and learn how to live life without using addictive substances.

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