How Long Does Rehab Take?

how long does rehab take

How Long Does Rehab Take?

If you are considering beginning a rehabilitation treatment program to combat your addiction, it is important to consider how long a rehabilitation program may take and various types of treatment options available. The type and duration of program that is right for you is dependent upon a number of factors, including the type of addiction, severity of the addiction, and your individual personality.

How well you will respond to the treatment offered at a treatment center will be inherently dependent upon selecting the program most suited to your addiction, needs, and lifestyle. In order to help you make a decision about what type of rehabilitation treatment program is right for you, we have put together a guide for the types of treatment programs available, the respective duration of each drug rehab center program, and how to select the right program for you.

Types of Treatment Programs Available

There are a number of different treatment programs available, through programs will be individualized and differentiated based on the rehabilitation treatment center selected. Despite the differences between facilities, there are several overarching types of treatments from which to choose when embarking upon finding the right rehabilitation program for you. Below are a handful of the most common types of treatment programs available, as well as the respective pros and cons of each option.

Long-Term Residential Treatment:

For individuals with severe addictions, long-term residential treatment may be the best option for successfully beginning on a path to sobriety and recovery. Long-term residential treatment often provides patients with around the clock care, but is generally in a non-hospital setting. The most common long-term residential treatment model is known as the therapeutic community. This treatment model is centered around re-socializing patients with the outside world and their peers, while using the other patients and individuals within the treatment center as components in the treatment plan.

Therapeutic community model treatment programs place focus on the social and psychological ways in which an individual’s addiction has impacted them. This treatment model helps individuals to develop personal accountability and responsibility in order to aid them in leading socially productive and fulfilling lives when they leave the treatment center. Long-term residential treatment programs force individuals to confront their own faults, destructive patterns, and belief systems in order to help them form new, healthier patterns of behavior and interaction that will allow them to continue leading a sober, healthy lifestyle once they leave the treatment center.

Some long-term residential treatment programs also offer additional services, such as employment training or aid finding a job for once they leave the treatment center. This is an immersive, intensive form of rehabilitation treatment designed to foster a prolonged period of sobriety in which to form new behaviors and reach self-realizations that will influence the establishment of a sober lifestyle outside of the treatment center upon completion of the program.

Long-term residential treatment increases the likelihood that sobriety will be maintained after leaving the facility because of the duration and depth of care. However, this option can also be costly and requires an individual to put all other obligations and major relationships on the back burner while they seek treatment. This is the right choice for some individuals, but before making a decision it is important to consider your personality, addiction, and what you feel will be the best treatment option.

Short-Term Residential Treatment:

Short-term residential treatment programs provide treatment that is intensive, but much briefer than in a long-term residential treatment program. Often short-term residential treatment programs are based upon a modified twelve step approach. These programs can vary in duration based upon the type of program selected and the severity of the addiction. Short-term residential treatment programs can include a portion within a hospital setting, but are most often within rehabilitation treatment centers.

Many short-term residential treatment programs begin with a detox from all drugs and/or alcohol and include both individual and group counseling sessions. Short-term residential treatment programs do not end when the program ends, often they are linked directly into an outpatient treatment program to continue care. This structure helps reduce the risk of relapse and promotes the continuation of the healthy recovery and sobriety gained during the short-term residential treatment.

Short-term residential treatment is shorter in length than a long-term residential treatment program, which means that subsequently the cost of the program is also significantly lower. In addition, short-term residential treatment programs can be entered within the twelve-week window outlined in the Family and Medical Leave Act, which requires your employer to keep your position available to you while you seek treatment.

This option is a good choice for those who wish to return to their career, cannot sustain the financial impact of long-term residential treatment, or who are not well-suited to a long-term residential treatment lifestyle. However, the risk with short-term residential treatment is that it does pose a chance of relapse, as all treatment programs do. Short-term residential treatment does not sustain sobriety in a controlled environment for the same amount of time as long-term residential treatment. Before choosing short-term residential treatment as the right option, these pros and cons must be weighed in relation to your unique circumstances and personality.

Outpatient Treatment:

Outpatient treatment programs can vary significantly in the types and intensity of the program. Group counseling is often a major component of many outpatient treatments programs. The effectiveness of an outpatient treatment program can vary widely depending upon the individual and the intensity of the program. Some outpatient treatment programs may only offer drug education and occasional counseling, while others will be much more immersive and offer similar services to a short-term residential treatment program.

In general, the more intensive and comprehensive a treatment program is, the most likely it will be successful in fostering sobriety and a lifestyle that maintains recovery. Some outpatient programs are specifically designed to treat patients that are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol and also have other medical or mental health problems that they require treatment for. If you are suffering from a mental health condition or medical condition in addition to addiction, then it is best to seek out a specialized outpatient treatment program specifically tailored to your needs.

Outpatient treatment programs carry the benefit of being much more cost effective than most intensive treatment options like short-term or long-term residential treatment. However, for some patients the possibility of relapse increases during outpatient treatment as there is a heightened exposure to external variables that may prompt drug and/or alcohol use. Outpatient treatment is often more effective in creating lasting sobriety when it is immediately following short-term residential treatment.

Duration of Treatment Programs

With this general understanding of overarching types of treatment programs available, it is now possible to analyze the respective durations of each of these treatment options. Long-term residential treatment often lasts between six months and one year depending on the program. This length of stay helps to encourage and solidify the formation of healthy habits and boundaries that can lead to a more successful recovery upon leaving the program. However, for many individuals, leaving their career and home behind for this long can be an impossible option due to a number of factors.

For individuals who cannot undergo treatment in a long-term residential program, short-term residential treatment is often the right choice. The most common durations for short-term residential treatment programs are thirty, sixty, and ninety days. These programs generally include a detox at the beginning of the treatment to rid the body of any residual drugs and/or alcohol. Thirty days is a common timeframe for individuals to select when choosing a treatment program because it is a manageable timeframe. Often, signing up for a longer residential treatment can be daunting. It is not uncommon for individuals or their families to increase the length of stay upon seeing how the rehabilitation treatment program is benefiting them.

Outpatient treatment programs vary greatly in length between different rehabilitation treatment centers. Because they are often less intensive than long-term or short-term residential treatment, individuals often continue going to outpatient treatment for a longer period of time. Outpatient treatment programs can last anywhere from thirty days to one year. 

As mentioned above, many individuals utilize a combination of treatment types to combat their addiction. It is common for patients to undergo a short-term residential treatment and to continue with an outpatient treatment program upon exiting the residential treatment program. Choosing the right treatment type and duration for your lifestyle will be a decision that requires an analysis of a number of factors.

Choosing the Right Rehab for You

Choosing the right rehabilitation treatment program for your addiction, personality, and lifestyle will greatly increase the likelihood of achieving sobriety and entering recovery. It can seem intimidating to begin looking for the right treatment program and you may find yourself becoming overwhelmed by the volume of different programs and facilities available.

The first step to choosing the right rehabilitation treatment program for you is determining whether or not you want to seek treatment within your city or state or whether you would be better suited for receiving treatment in a different state. For some individuals, being close to family and friends that can visit and encourage them will motivate them to continue on the path to recovery.




This makes receiving local treatment a positive option as it will give you continuous support from your family and friends. However, for other people that do not have this support system or prefer to recover on their own, this may not be the best option. Traveling to another state to receive treatment offers insulation from the environment in which your addiction developed and offers anonymity from encountering individuals you may know.

Traveling to a rehab facility can also give individuals a clean slate and new environment in which to begin their journey to recovery. Once you decide whether or not you would like to receive treatment in state or out of state, it is important to research facilities and treatment programs that are best suited to your needs. Below are a handful of factors to consider and steps to take when choosing the right rehabilitation treatment program.

Type and Severity of Addiction

 The type and severity of your addiction will be one of the most important driving factors in choosing the right path to recovery. You may require long-term residential treatment to successfully achieve and maintain sobriety, or you may need an intensive outpatient treatment program. The right treatment program varies based on the type and severity of addiction. For help determining the right treatment program, it is best to receive a consultation from the treatment program you are most interested in to gauge how they would approach developing a rehabilitation program tailored specifically to your circumstances.

Financial Considerations

The financial feasibility of different treatment program options will be a determining factor in what level of care and intensity of program you select. In some cases, insurance may cover part of the cost for receiving treatment, but often the responsibility for the expenses incurred remains with the patient. To determine how much you can spend on a rehabilitation treatment program, conduct an analysis of your finances early on and develop a range in which you are comfortable spending.

This may influence which type of treatment program you are able to enter. Outpatient treatment programs often cost less than long-term or short-term residential treatment and short-term residential addiction treatment generally costs less than long-term residential treatment. Keep these considerations in mind as you research different options.

Research and Visit the Facility

Before selecting a rehabilitation treatment program, it is necessary to research the facility and staff and if possible to pay a visit before making a final decision. This will give you can introduction to the environment and the individuals you will be interacting with during your recovery. Visiting the facility gives you the opportunity to assess how the facility makes you feel, and whether or not you believe you can reach and achieve sobriety within their unique treatment model.  

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