For people who are battling addictions, going to rehab is one way to get back to normal life. There are often two kinds of rehab: inpatient and outpatient. The latter does not confine patients to a facility. Instead, they are only required to go to therapy sessions a few times a week. The rest of the time, they may stay home and live life as they would.
Inpatient rehab, on the other hand, requires patients to live in a rehab center for the entire duration of the rehab program. They are exposed to different therapies and taught to live new lifestyles while inside the center.
You might be wondering how long inpatient rehab lasts. It depends, and here are some things that influence the length of stay.
More severe cases of addiction require more time in rehab
Inpatient rehab often caters to people with moderate to severe cases of addiction. In other words, the addictions have already taken over their lives. They have come to a point where they can no longer live normally without taking substances. With that, they would need radical changes in their ways of life.
For these cases, rehab can last up to six months. That means patients have to spend half a year inside a rehab center. It may be a stretch, but in the long run, the time spent in rehab will be well worth it.
Basic treatments last between 30 and 90 days
The shortest rehab programs require a minimum of 30 days of stay in a center. There is nothing shorter than this one, though. So, at the very least, patients will have to spend one month in a facility.
Other programs last for 60 days or 90 days. In general, the longer the treatment period, the better the outcomes. With that, choosing the shortest path is not the wisest way to go through rehab. Rather, patients must pick a program that will ensure the best results for them in the long run.
Why is longer often better?
Data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse indicate that longer rehab programs produce better outcomes for patients. Why is that so?
Rehab is often a process with many things coming into play. There’s the biological side of addiction, like the concentration of drugs in patients’ bodies and their effects on their nervous systems. Then, there are the emotional, mental, and social aspects of addiction. It doesn’t only affect patients’ bodies, but also their states of mind, relationships with other people, and how they view themselves.
All of these aspects have to be addressed in rehab. Otherwise, patients would not fully recover. Getting them to stop taking drugs is not enough.
To correct the other aspects of patients’ lives affected by addiction, they have to go through a range of behavioral and psychological therapies. These are designed to teach them new mindsets, how to live life without substances, healthy coping mechanisms for stress, and many more.
Dealing with all of these factors takes time, especially if the addiction is more severe. So, the longer the duration of treatment, the more time patients have to be helped. The more time and attention they get from professionals, the higher their chances of making full recoveries.
What makes rehab take that long?
Successful recovery takes a lot of steps. Often, the first step is detoxing the body from addictive substances. Doctors and other medical professionals often closely work with patients in this step. The goal here is to remove all traces of substances from the body while managing withdrawal symptoms.
Detox is a necessary step because patients need to stop taking addictive substances first. They may also need medications to help reduce withdrawal or to manage its unpleasant effects. This step alone may take a while – it’s longer when the level of addiction is higher.
After patients have been weaned off drugs, they will still have remnants of addiction within themselves. These include self-destructive behaviors, aggression, and unhealthy ways of managing stress. These need to be corrected as well.
To remove these negative behaviors, psychotherapies and behavioral therapies have to be done. These also take time, as new habits do not form overnight.
These therapies also let patients address the root causes of their addictions. Once they know what made them addicted in the first place, they would understand what caused them to abuse substances. The longer the treatment period, the more time patients have to understand these root causes.
Another thing about psychotherapies is patients may not have the confidence to open up right away. Therapists are strangers to them, especially for the first few sessions. Opening up to someone they have just met is a huge challenge. But the more therapy sessions they go to, the more they would develop rapport and trust with their therapists. As patients open up more, therapists can help them deal with their behavioral problems better.
What is the best length of treatment?
There is no one-size-fits-all here. Different patients will respond best to different treatment durations. And it doesn’t mean that if a 90-day program worked for a patient’s relative that it will work the same for them as well.
Many rehab centers allow patients to extend their stay if necessary. Let’s say they enroll in a 30-day program, but they think that they can increase their chances of success by staying for one more month. That’s possible, but expect the center to charge additional fees.
There’s more to rehab than how long it takes
More than the length of treatment, patients must consider their individual situations. Again, each person is different, so treatment durations would vary. Sometimes, recovery may take longer than patients expect.
To know the right path of treatment to take, patients must discuss options with recovery professionals. Also, it’s wise to choose rehab centers with good reputations. If a center has many patients who relapsed, it’s probably not a good choice. Instead, pick a rehab center that produces a lot of fully recovered patients.