Rehab offers a place for those dealing with substance use disorders to get better. A comprehensive addiction treatment center provides various rehab programs that adapt to each patient’s needs and recovery goals. Now, many believe long-term rehab offers the best outcome for addiction recovery. In this case, patients attend a rehab program for at least three months, and the length of their stay depends on the severity of their disorder, progress made in treatment, and other co-occurring diseases. Read on to learn more about what’s considered long-term rehab and how you can help someone who needs addiction treatment. 

How Long Does Rehab Last?

For the most part, rehab centers shouldn’t specify a treatment timeline. Just as every addiction journey is unique, each treatment plan should be as well.

Nowadays, you can find many addiction treatment centers offering rehab programs that only last 28 days. While for some, this might work, long-term rehab is often required to achieve long-lasting recovery and sobriety. Short-term programs will likely happen in an inpatient rehab setting, while long-term rehab programs will likely occur in an outpatient setting. 

In the end, an addiction specialist should look at each patient’s symptoms, addiction signs, and progress to determine the best course of treatment. Then, they’ll be able to provide a more concise timeframe. 

What’s Considered Long-term Rehab?

When we’re talking about long-term rehab, we’re referring to any rehab program that extends over three months. These programs are designed to help people navigate through the various stages of addiction recovery and often involves three steps:

  • Detox: The first stage allows people to safely withdraw from their substance of abuse in a supervised environment. Here, patients are managed to prevent severe withdrawal symptoms and relapse. Most detox programs last for about a week.
  • Rehab: The second stage varies per patient, depending on various factors. Here, patients reside at a rehab facility or attend weekly behavioral therapy sessions to work on their substance use disorder. Most long-term rehab programs last for 3-6 months. 
  • Aftercare: The third stage involves preventing relapse and working on aftercare planning. Here, patients develop healthier life development skills to continue their rehab journey. Most aftercare programs last for about three months and extend indefinitely. 

When you see rehab under this timeframe, one could say the estimated timeframe for long-term recovery is at least a year. 

How to Find Long-Term Rehab

If you are looking for a long-term rehab facility for yourself or a loved one, there are a few things to consider. Long-term rehab lasts for at least 90 days. These facilities have a comprehensive approach that looks at patients in a case-by-case scenario. 

A quick search online will give you dozens of rehab centers in your area. Make sure to reach out and ask whether or not they offer long-term rehab programs. If they do, ask about the type of program for this timeline. Most facilities will provide either intensive outpatient or outpatient:

  • Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs): These programs provide a very similar structure to inpatient or residential rehab programs. However, patients don’t reside at the rehab facility in this case. Patients receive at least 20 to 25 hours of behavioral therapy, group therapy, and counseling per week, but they return home or go back to a sober living facility every night. 
  • Outpatient Programs (OPs): These programs offer more flexibility and are ideal for patients that have completed a more intense program. Here, patients receive about 9 hours of treatment per week, and they don’t reside at the treatment center. 

As always, discuss with a medical professional to see what’s best for you or your loved one. 

Is Long-Term Rehab Better?

It really depends. In most cases, long-term rehab is better. It provides people with enough time to work on their recovery and understand the source of their substance use disorder. People who choose long-term rehab tend to have more time to focus on life development skills, address any co-occurring mental health disorders, and learn relapse prevention skills that will serve them after leaving rehab. 

Primarily, those dealing with a dual diagnosis should consider long-term rehab. This allows patients enough time to address both conditions simultaneously. And some studies suggest that long-term rehab for dual diagnosis increases the likelihood of longer recovery times and fewer chances of relapse. 

However, there are many success stories from patients who choose the short-term rehab route. In the end, it all depends on the severity of the addiction, how well someone responds to treatment, and so many other factors. To decide which one is better for you or a loved one, it’s best to consult with a therapist, counselor, or addiction specialist.