How Long Is a Drug Rehab Program?
How long is drug rehab varies considerably. In theory it is 30 days. However, health insurance dictates the actual amount of time, and as a result, is often less.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, programs consisting of 90 days or more are ideal for increased success rates. Research indicates thirty and sixty-day programs do not give specialists enough time to teach the vital life skills they need to avoid relapse.
Also, the risk for relapse rises for short-term rehab due to their tolerance for drugs following detoxification. In other words, if they start using soon after discharge, they typically use the same amount of drugs.
- The industry success rate for patients who stay in treatment for 30 days or less is approximately 12%. However, the success rate for people who visit for 90 days or more is 65%.
- A shorter-term program does not provide long enough for addicts to adjust to how to live without using addictive substances.
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 of an overdose during the first two weeks of their release.
Unfortunately, the facility’s time depends on how long the health insurance will pay for the program. Since most addicts rely on Medicaid, they only qualify for less time treatment.
- Unfortunately, one month or less is usually not enough to address those suffering from this disease’s unique and complex needs. Addiction experts claim one month only detoxifies but does nothing to prevent relapse.
Another study by the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse found that length of stay in residential substance abuse treatment was a significant determinant of treatment effectiveness.
Patients in treatment for at least 90 days achieved a nearly 80 percent abstinence rate, about the same for patients remaining in treatment for six months. The article notes that completing treatment requires at least six months of treatment to achieve sobriety without relapse.
- Research further indicates a minimum amount of time, specifically, at least 90 days.
Also, research has found periods during which patients are most likely to drop out of a program. For example, addicts in intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) involving five to seven days of counseling are at risk of dropping out between weeks four and six.
For people to complete rehabilitation and avoid relapse, they must receive treatment from counselors to understand the biopsychosocial aspects of the disease.
Patients must master identifying high-risk trigger situations and learn to manage them by changing their self-defeating thinking patterns before leaving their program.