One essential factor we should consider about drug treatment and addiction as a whole is that we all progress at varying rates in treatment. There are a set of circumstances that play into the question. These include how long a person was using drugs, what kind of drugs they were using, and how were the drugs administered? The questions play a role in the success of treatment. 

With that said, you must remember that drug rehab is a process that must be customized and tailored around your specific needs. Those who found success after treatment went through a process where clinicians treated all of their needs. 

The length of treatment should never be capped, but research has shown that success is based upon adequate treatment length. Treatment dropout is a significant issue that treatment programs encounter, and they work to apply different methods to keep a client in treatment, including signing non-binding contracts. However, at the end of the day, the individual has free will to leave as they please. 

Drug rehab programs also aim to include techniques that are motivational and keep a client engaged, which has been proven to work. When addiction is seen as a chronic disease and is met with continued care and monitoring, programs are more likely to succeed. Unfortunately, this could mean multiple episodes of treatment and for the client to admit they’ve gone through setbacks in the form of relapse. This is a common theme in addiction treatment, but those who seek to get sober from drugs and alcohol give themselves a better than of success than those who continue using. 

The primary purpose of addiction treatment is to put a stop to compulsive drug seeking and use. Treatment can take place in various settings, which vary in form and length. Drug addiction is considered a chronic disorder where relapse is common. Short-term treatment or one-time treatment is not regarded as sufficient. For many, long-term treatment is a journey that will take multiple interventions and consistent monitoring for them to get on the right track.

There are several evidence-based approaches when it comes to treating addiction. As was mentioned above, the only way to treat addiction is with a tailored approach. 

28 to 30 Days in Treatment is Not Enough

In most cases, an individual will only spend a period of time in treatment approved by their health insurance, which may not always be enough. Many drug or alcohol addicts rely on Medicaid, meaning they’re only qualified for less than 30 days in a drug or alcohol rehab program. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) describes clients who stay in treatment for at least 90 days at the minimum are more likely to increase their odds of success than those who start for a short duration. 

A month-long rehab program isn’t enough time to address the complex or unique issues associated with drug or alcohol addiction. Addiction specialists describe how 30 days in a rehab program is enough to fully detox the user but does nothing to help prevent relapse. 

One of the challenges facing drug or alcohol addicts who leave addiction treatment early is their chance of overdosing. During the time spent in treatment, the drugs and alcohol left their body in its entirety, although the desire has not. With that said, the tolerance for drugs they had built up has decreased substantially, and a dose they’re accustomed to using that made them feel “normal” before treatment could now kill them. The rate of mortality rate increases dramatically, and a user is 129 times more likely to die from an overdose during the first two weeks of their release from drug rehab or prison. 

Short-term, which is considered 30 days or less in drug rehab, does not provide enough time for a person who abuses drugs or alcohol to adjust to their newly-founded sobriety and live their new lives without using addictive substances. A significant number of those in short-term rehab programs will eventually return to drug use. Addiction causes our brain to change both chemically and physically, so this short period won’t be enough to restore how things were before drug or alcohol use.

A substantial piece of this process is behavioral modification, and someone newly sober needs to learn how to change their way of living to support their sober lifestyle. In two to three weeks of treatment, you can’t accomplish as much as you would in 90 days. The recovering individual can’t learn enough about their disease or acquire healthier habits in such a short period. 

What Can Get Accomplished in 90 Days of Treatment?

how long is rehab

The science of addiction treatment continues to evolve, and information is learned daily. With that said, in the past several years, scientists have discovered that a 90-day treatment program is considered the gold standard for treating drug and alcohol addicts—only 17 percent of those in treatment for 90 days or longer reported relapse rates the following year. Extended stints in rehab offer many advantages. In the earliest stages of detox, you can’t process your recovery in a way that’s beneficial. Withdrawal symptoms will take up your thoughts and feelings, and your ability to focus on improvement is more challenging at this time.

Those who spent 90 days in treatment have a chance to master the skills they’ve learned in recovery. It allows you to become immersed in the daily activities and watch the weeks float by as you excel. Skills like engaging in conflict resolution, managing interpersonal relationships, and exercising personal discipline are crucial for prolonged recovery. Like any skill, practice is important for perfection, and staying in treatment for the suggested time will allow you to work on these skills before entering the daily challenges of life. 

For some, 30 days isn’t enough time from the chaos that was once their life, and a more prolonged stay within the confines of a recovery center will strengthen your recovery muscles and allow you to not think about the temptations outside. You’ll have the opportunity to go deep into the concepts of recovery and get to the root of your addiction.

The one factor that must be considered across the board is that no one is the same. You can’t say 90 days will work if it’s an extreme case – it could be more. The 90-day standard is merely a marker for when the brain starts resetting. Still, as humans, we all possess unique characteristics that make us different, meaning these tough decisions should be placed in the hands of professionals.

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