How Long-term Rehab Differs from Traditional 90 Day Programs
Addiction recovery happens in stages, much like the stages of addiction that gradually take over a person’s life. Detox treatment is the first stage of the process. For many people, inpatient rehab becomes a necessary second stage where a person receives needed medical care and emotional support. Likewise, traditional 90-day residential programs offer yet another support stage where recovering addicts learn to apply newly learned principles and tools within a structured treatment environment.
Long-term rehab programs, though mostly looked upon as optional, provide the type of real-world experience recovering addicts need to maintain abstinence on a long-term basis. While not everyone necessarily needs long-term rehab treatment, those wanting to do things right the first time around can greatly benefit from this often-necessary stage of the recovery process.
In general, the longer a person engages in drug use the greater the need for ongoing, long-term treatment. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, detox, inpatient, 90-day and long-term rehab programs are designed to treat different aspects or effects of addiction. While someone who’s only just started using may not require in-depth treatment, the extent of the addiction in terms of the amount of damage caused in a person’s life ultimately determines the type of treatment he or she needs.
Once passed the detox stage, treatment programs focus on breaking a person’s psychological dependency on drugs. Unlike breaking the body’s physical dependency, it can take months and even years before a person’s mental processes return to normal.
When comparing detox, inpatient, 90-day and long-term rehab programs, the most noticeable difference has to do with how structured each treatment environment is. As most people experience a total loss of control as part of the addiction lifestyle, these programs become less and less structured the further along a person is in the recovery process. Within this framework, addicts can work through recovery in stages rather than stopping short and risking relapse.
Long-Term Rehab vs. 90-Day Programs
It’s not uncommon for people in recovery to experience a relapse episode shortly after completing a 90-day treatment program. Expecting a person to go from full-blown addiction to a stable, drug-free lifestyle in 90 days time is often a recipe for disaster, especially when someone’s been using drugs for a long time.
In terms of helping recovering addicts manage withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings, 90-day programs serve a valuable purpose. By helping recovering addicts develop the needed skills to maintain a drug-free lifestyle, long-term rehab programs can pick up where 90-day programs leave off.
Therapeutic Community Effects
Living drug-free for any length of time after recovery requires a person to develop effective coping skills while forming supportive lasting relationships with self and others. The type of treatment offered through 90-day programs focuses more on helping recovering addicts work through the underlying issues that trigger addiction behaviors. While participants still do learn new coping skills, there’s little time to actually implement these skills within a 90-day program.
Long-term rehab programs offer a community-based treatment environment where residents take on daily responsibilities, attend counseling and support group meetings while learning to form healthy, supportive relationships with one another.
Unlike 90-day programs, the therapeutic effects provided through long-term rehab gives recovering addicts the best chance of remaining abstinent long after the treatment program ends.