How Long Does Drug Rehab Take?

Recovering from drug addiction can take years and, even after a very long time, a person may still consider themselves to be in recovery. However, drug rehab itself can often take anywhere from a few weeks to 12 months or longer. According to the NIDA, “Individuals progress through drug addiction treatment at various rates, so there is no predetermined length of treatment. However, research has shown unequivocally that good outcomes are contingent on adequate treatment length.”

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Common Treatment Lengths

In general, patients may be in treatment for any one of these specific lengths of time:

  • 30 days
    • This is considered short-term rehab. A patient may stay at an inpatient facility or attend treatment at an outpatient center for this length of time.
  • 60 days
  • 90 days 
    • This is the amount of time between short- and long-term rehab.
  • 6 months
  • 12 months
    • Rehab programs that last 12 months are usually inpatient based or therapeutic communities.

These are the more common lengths of time for which a person may attend rehab. If someone leaves in the middle of their allotted treatment time or and longer continues attending rehab, relapse can be a much more likely outcome. This is just one of the reasons why adequate treatment length is so important.

The Best Rehab Length

Although every patient is different and there is no exact length of time that is right for everyone, “Generally, for residential or outpatient treatment, participation for less than 90 days is of limited effectiveness, and treatment lasting significantly longer is recommended for maintaining positive outcomes.” This is because 30 or even 60 days are often not enough for a person to stop experiencing cravings and truly focus in on their behavioral therapy.

As stated by the NIDA, “Treatment approaches must be tailored to address each patient’s drug use patterns and drug-related medical, psychiatric, and social problems.” But, for most individuals, this length of time has been considerably more effective than a shorter program.

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Is Further Treatment Necessary After Rehab?

long term drug rehab

Treatment can help you overcome drug addiction and get your life back on track!

Many people attend one rehab program and then consider themselves cured afterward. But truly, the process of recovery is often ongoing. Yes, rehab may last three months, but afterward, many patients choose to become members of a support group, attend an outpatient program (especially after leaving inpatient treatment), or start individualized drug counseling.

This option is very beneficial because the end of a rehab program does not necessarily mean that the individual is cured. Addiction is a “chronic disease” which means that it will often be ongoing, causing an individual to attend multiple recovery treatments or even multiple rehab programs during the course of their life.

While some rehab programs take a longer or a shorter amount of time, 90 days is considered to be the low-end length of time under which effective rehab is marked. However, patients must be able to attend a program in whatever way is best and most effective for them. This is why consulting your doctor about your treatment length is extremely important (because you may need a longer program given your specific needs), and why attending treatment for the allotted amount of time is necessary.