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How Long Does Rehab Last?

Taking the first steps to overcome addiction is difficult. When you or a loved one is struggling through addiction or withdrawal, the last thing you want is ambiguity in terms of what comes next. However, the most important thing to bear in mind at this time is that every individual fighting addiction has a unique history and a unique journey ahead.

What helps one person to get and stay sober may not necessarily be enough for another. While different treatments and programmes can suggest potential outcomes, there is no guarantee that any specific duration of time in rehab will help you or a loved one stay sober.

Ultimately, each patient’s rehab journey will vary based on individual factors, including but not limited to:

  • Addiction severity
  • Length of the addiction
  • Support inside and outside of rehab
  • Presence of co-morbid physical or mental ailments

As you or your loved one go through treatment, it is vital to maintain open, honest communication about the patient’s health. If a patient can reflect honestly on their current state and ask for help when they need it, they will have a much greater chance of maintaining sobriety after rehab has ended.

Do not put pressure on yourself or your loved one to meet a deadline or keep up with a schedule; treatment should be centred around each individual’s unique needs.

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Duration of Rehab by Treatment

In general, the length of a stay in rehab varies significantly depending on the type of treatment in question. If you or your loved one is preparing to go to rehab and is unsure about the duration of the treatment, it is important to discuss these concerns with a medical professional.

Addiction treatment needs to be sustainable for a patient to get the most benefit from rehab, and communicating with doctors, loved ones, and even employers (as much as you are comfortable) can help determine what makes the most sense in each individual’s own life.

Your medical professional might recommend one or several possible options for treatment. Take the time to learn the differences between each option and, if any treatment does not seem to be benefiting you or your loved one as much as desired, be sure to raise these concerns with a trusted medical professional.

Finally, be aware that no treatment is a quick-fix, and even the best rehab programmes will require hard work and patience on the part of the patient in recovery and their loved ones.

Detox

Withdrawal can be a frightening, even painful experience for the individual fighting an addiction, but it is not an experience that an individual must face alone. Detox, generally the shortest rehab treatment offered to those facing addiction, offers patients a safe, healthy space to begin their journey to sobriety.

With health professionals to supervise the process, patients have access to support as they face the most difficult symptoms of withdrawal. Patients have the security of knowing that, if medical intervention is ever required during withdrawal, help from a professional will be swift and appropriate. For what can be a truly traumatic experience, detox ensures that an individual has the physical and mental support that they need to overcome.

Usually, detox will last around 7 to 10 days; however, certain drugs take significantly more or less time to clear out of the body, making this estimate extremely variable. Individual physiological differences or unique circumstances may also impact the length of time a patient will need to remain in detox.

Communicating regularly with an informed medical professional will allow a patient and their loved ones to stay updated on recovery progress and potential upcoming treatments.

Some individuals might be ready to end their recovery treatment after detox is complete. Alternatively, other patients might remain in rehab for days, weeks, or even months depending on their own individual response to their treatment.

In general, longer stays in a rehab facility are associated with higher long-term sobriety rates; however, every individual should take the time to carefully consider what next step is right for them. When in doubt, always discuss any uncertainties with an informed professional.

In-Patient Care

Depending on how well a patient’s recovery is progressing, they may be admitted to rehab for 1 or several months. For many individuals, the duration of their stay in rehab will be impacted by external factors, such as the ability to take time away from work and other outside responsibilities. Spending more time in rehab offers a patient the opportunity to structure their lives around healthy practices in a community where they are completely supported, so is generally preferred when it is possible.

Even a 1-month residential stay can be life-changing, though, and for many patients allows them the freedom to assess the costs versus benefits of rehab without serious disruption to their life.

In residential care, a patient has access to regular counselling with trained professionals, a controlled environment with predictable, healthy routines, and a community of individuals facing similar struggles. In this setting, an individual is able to reflect on their own progress in their treatment and learn from those around them better practices for maintaining sobriety in the future.

In-patient care is important to many confronting addiction because it provides a safe space to prioritise self-care and open communication – without the negative judgments or influences that can otherwise mark everyday life.

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Aftercare

It is important to acknowledge that addiction is a lifelong battle. Rehab can help an individual confront their struggle head-on and begin developing healthier patterns, but it is not a cure. Maintaining sobriety for most patients will require ongoing treatment even after rehab has come to an end.

Aftercare can take many shapes and forms, such as:

  • Ongoing one-on-one therapy
  • Ongoing group therapy
  • Regular check-in’s with a medical professional
  • Prescription medication
  • Support groups
  • 12-step programmes
  • 12-step alternatives

Not every patient will necessarily require aftercare, but for many recovering from addiction, aftercare offers support and community years after their original rehab experience. While there is always the potential for an individual to relapse, having peers to share concerns with or working through internalised trauma’s can help encourage an individual to remain sober through trying times.

As with so much of addiction recovery, there is no timeline for how long an individual might remain in aftercare treatment. Some individuals might not feel the need to engage in any treatment after therapy, while others will remain in an aftercare programme of some sort for the remainder of their lives.

While such uncertainty may be a discomfort for an individual confronting their addiction or supporting a loved one through the process, it’s important that treatment is not rushed or disinterested. A patient can and should remain in treatment for as long as they are benefiting from the process – therefore, the ultimate length of their addiction treatment can not be anticipated.

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