Why Length of Stay Matters for People Seeking Addiction Treatment


People who have addiction can choose different options when they seek treatment. They don’t have to go for 30 days or even 60 days. There are 90-day options for inpatient treatment, there are intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) and other options to consider. Any amount of time a person spends in rehab is good. Not everyone wants to go to treatment. If they feel they are there against their own desires or wishes, they are less likely to get the treatment that sticks. To maximize the benefit, people should check in with rehab professionals to design a program that works best for their individual needs. 

Shorter Stays

Shorter stays were the norm for a long time. Typically, people were considered to have attended a standard rehab if they spent a minimum of 30 days. Although this works for some people, there are those who need lengthier amounts of time in rehab to detox, get clean, and work on their recovery. This might include stays of up to 90 days or longer. Relapse is highest in the first part of recovery. People who left rehab too early can risk relapse at a higher rate than those who stay longer. For people with chronic relapse challenges or have struggled with addiction a long time, they may find longer stays to help them be more successful in recovery. Every person’s journey is unique and nobody is exempt from relapse, regardless of time spent in rehab. 

Why Rehab Takes a While

Addiction is a chronic condition. Rehab will take more than getting past substance use. To go to rehab is about supporting people’s physical addiction, mental addiction, and psychological causes for addiction. Substance use disorder (SUD) impacts the brain’s ability to function, including learning, memory, and behavioral control. Recovery is a lifelong pursuit. There is no easy answer or quick fix. People have to wander through the challenges on their own, but they can find others along the way who understand what they’re dealing with. Staff in a rehab center will come alongside them and offer some support the best they can. The person has to want to get help. When they get an assessment, they will review their history, severity of the addiction, and recommend further treatment. After this:

  • Detox starts the journey for most people to get rid of toxic buildup in the body
  • Medically supervised detox programs may help people with severe withdrawal 
  • People work through therapeutic interventions post-detox in a group and individually
  • Treatment procedures may be helpful in addition to these therapies: mental health, family therapy, and mental health treatment for co-occurring disorders

Aftercare programs may be recommended at the end of treatment, which may offer sober living and other similar programs or extended programs to help people find support in recovery. 

Sober Living Homes

When sober living is recommended, this is usually an extension of addiction treatment. Although there are fewer restrictions, the people who go to sober living often stay for a while as a bridge between rehab and the real world. People who need support and structure often find it helpful. Although sober living homes are helpful, they are not always the best way for some people to find help. They may want to try living on their own or with family but with structured support from intensive outpatient programs (IOP) which offer solid structure without living in an inpatient facility. 

Working Steps and Stepping Out

Going into 12-step therapy is part of the process for many from the time they start at their rehab program until they go back home. In recovery, 12-step programs are popular because they provide structure and a process that has worked to help millions in recovery find hope and healing. The process of working the steps is hard. Everyone that does it needs persistence and diligence. The integration of the family in recovery means helping people feel connected in sobriety together and working forward with similar goals in mind. One of the goals is to smooth the transition into daily life. Residents are taught skills like resume writing that helps them find hope for new beginnings. Lower arrests and less difficulty with co-occurring disorders are reported for people who work the steps and stay focused in recovery. It does work but it takes time to heal. 

Healing Journey

Going to rehab is not easy for anybody. Finding a positive mentality that supports healing and growth is important. The goal is to do what helps each individual person so they can find hope with recovery and aftercare programs. While some people can navigate recovery in 90 days, others might need sober living after or need longer programs. Some can do well with just 60-day treatment and others might want outpatient programming. The support they get is crucial to their success. Although longer stays can work for some people, shorter stays work fine for others. The goal is to find what works for each person and encourage full participation and connection to the process the entire time they are doing the program. With this in mind, they can focus on having a better recovery with support from loved ones.

Forge is a place to come and recover your life from addiction. We help you reimagine what is possible and create the life you’ve been dreaming of.

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