“How long is rehab” is a question many people ask when contemplating addiction recovery, but recovery doesn’t conform to a rigid timeline. Every addiction is different, just like every person is unique.
Maybe you are aware that a mild alcohol use disorder is becoming more problematic, and you want to take decisive action in an outpatient rehab before the issue worsens.
Perhaps you started using prescription painkillers and found yourself addicted to opioids.
In either of those scenarios, you would have radically different treatment needs to someone with severe alcohol use disorder or someone with an addiction to heroin or crack cocaine.
How Long Does Rehab Take?
To better gauge how long rehab takes, consider the following categories of treatment program:
- 30-day rehab
- 60-day rehab
- 90-day rehab
In addition to these programs, rehab can also unfold over the course of an extended program in a sober living home.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recommends treatment of at least 90 days for most addictions, whether in an inpatient or outpatient setting. We’ll highlight the core differences between the timelines of these different forms of rehab directly below.
Most addiction experts agree that the longer treatment lasts, the more favorable outcomes tend to be. This means you should not view rehab as an item on your to-do list, something to be hurriedly performed. Instead, view your recovery from alcoholism or drug addiction as a fluid and ongoing process, not an event that begins and ends with detox.
Inpatient Stay Length
For those with severe alcohol use disorders or substance use disorders, detox and withdrawal can be uncomfortable, dangerous, and possibly even life-threatening. If you feel you are at risk of developing serious withdrawal symptoms during detox, you should consider inpatient rehab.
Inpatient rehab, commonly referred to as residential rehab, is also typically recommended for those with unsafe or unsupportive home environments.
How long is rehab? More specifically, how long does inpatient rehab last?
According to SAMHSA (the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) addiction treatment lasting 90 days or more is most effective.
That said, a 90-day program is not always necessary or practical. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to recovery. You will find many treatment centers provide 30-day inpatient programs for those with milder addictions.
Maybe you don’t think you require a stint in residential rehab to get back on track. Outpatient treatment allows you to engage with therapy without the expense or the restrictions of residential rehab.
How Long is Outpatient Rehab?
Studies indicate that outpatient treatment is equally as effective as inpatient treatment for many mild and moderate addictions.
Outpatient programs involve scheduled therapy sessions at a drug and alcohol treatment center. In the evenings, you return home or to a sober living community. With inpatient rehab, by contrast, you remain at the facility for the duration of the program.
There are three primary delivery methods for outpatient rehab, with the only difference being the time commitment required. These are as follows:
- Standard outpatient program (OP): 2 or 3 hours of weekly therapy.
- Intensive outpatient program (IOP): 12 to 15 hours of weekly therapy.
- Partial hospitalization program (PHP): 30 to 35 hours of weekly therapy.
Additionally, more rehab centers now offer virtual intensive outpatient programs for those unable or unwilling to engage with treatment at a rehab center.
Outpatient treatment programs vary in duration from 1 month to 6 months or more. Often, people in recovery step down the continuum of care – from a PHP to an OP, for instance – for a more seamless transition back into daily living.
To reiterate, you should focus on achieving sobriety long-term and sustainably rather than obsessing over arbitrary timeframes.
How Long is Alcohol Rehab?
The duration of alcohol rehab is largely contingent on the severity of your alcoholism.
Most people with severe alcohol use disorder benefit from more extended forms of treatment, ideally in an inpatient setting. The same also applies to those with co-occurring mental health disorders like anxiety, depression, or PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). With dual diagnosis treatment, you can address both issues simultaneously.
Moderate alcohol use disorders usually respond favorably to a medical detox followed by anywhere from 30 to 90 days in an inpatient treatment center.
For most mild alcohol use disorders, outpatient treatment typically provides enough support and structure for a sustained recovery without relapse.
You will find the best alcohol rehabs offer a personalized treatment program in line with your finances, schedule, and needs.
How Long is Drug Rehab?
If you have been diagnosed with substance use disorder, treatment for drug addiction lasts anywhere from 30 days to a year or more. This depends on the extent and severity of the addiction, as well as any co-occurring disorders or underlying medical conditions.
Heroin addiction (opioid use disorder) and meth addiction (stimulant use disorder) usually require lengthier treatment programs. This also applies to the fiercely addictive crack cocaine.
Before addressing the psychological aspect of drug addiction, recovery begins with detox and withdrawal. This takes between 7 and 10 days, depending on the substance and the severity of the addiction.
After detoxification, you will engage with the core phase of treatment. This involves a combination of the following:
- MAT (medication-assisted treatment)
- Psychotherapy – CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and DBT (dialectical behavior therapy)
- Holistic therapies
SAMHSA’s Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) illustrates a wide discrepancy between the median length of rehab for drug addiction, from 27 days for short-term residential treatment to over 200 days for outpatient MAT for opioid addiction.
Most severe drug addictions warrant long-term treatment, especially when mental health conditions co-occur.
Opiate Addiction Rehab Length
Opiates are substances with active ingredients derived naturally from opium. Opioids, by contrast, are synthetic or semi-synthetic substances that deliver similar effects to opium.
The terms opiates and opioids are often used interchangeably, mainly because the substances produce broadly similar effects. Both opiates and opioids target opioid receptors in the brain, and both depress the CNS (central nervous system). Both opiates and opioids carry a strong potential for abuse and addiction.
Treatment for opiate addiction can unfold over a residential treatment program of between 30 and 90 days, or through a time-limited outpatient program.
As with all drug addiction treatment, there is no fixed timeline for opiate addiction treatment. Through a combination of MAT, psychotherapy, and counseling, you should reclaim your life from opiates in a matter of months.
Get Rehab Help at The District Recovery
If you need help with an addiction to prescription medications, alcohol, or illicit drugs, we specialize in the outpatient treatment of these challenging issues.
We offer therapy at varying levels of intensity, from a standard outpatient program to a PHP, the most intensive form of treatment outside of residential rehab.
All our gender-specific programs utilize evidence-based treatment. MAT can help streamline detox and the early phase of recovery. You will also work with counselors and therapists, exploring what triggers you to use drugs. From here, you will create healthier coping strategies, enabling you to navigate life’s stressors more confidently without reaching for alcohol or drugs.
Here at TRDC, we also ensure you have the right aftercare and relapse prevention plan in place to maximize your chances of ongoing recovery without slipping up.
If you feel ready to commit to your recovery, reach out to The District today at 844.287.8506.