Get help today 888-287-0471 or sign up for 24/7 text support.
American Addiction Centers National Rehabs Directory

Understanding Addiction Treatment Program Length

In answering a question as central as “How long does drug rehab take?” it is important to remember that there is no predetermined length of time for addiction treatment that is judged as ideal or adequate across the board. Individuals going through treatment for drug addiction do so at various speeds. However, it is important to keep in mind that better outcomes have been found with those who undergo drug treatment for longer amounts of time.

How Long Does Drug Rehab Take?

Residential drug addiction treatment designed for fewer than 90 days generally has limited effectiveness in long-term resolution of a drug addiction. Programs exceeding 90 days are therefore preferred. As part of treatment for certain addictions, such as those to heroin and prescription painkillers, methadone maintenance has a general minimum length of 12 months, and some individuals addicted to opiates can continue to benefit from methadone maintenance for a period of years.

Did You Know?

About 2.5 million drug addicts were treated on an inpatient basis in the past year, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Doctor talking to a patient about withdrawal “How long does drug rehab take?” is a complex question when examining the different substances as well as the preferences and natural tendencies of people addicted to these substances. Successful recovery could require more than an-encompassing treatment program, showing the importance of treatment for multiple types of addiction. According to the publication Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, published in 1997, relapse for cocaine addiction within a year of treatment happens in 55 percent of people who have undertaken a treatment of 90 days or fewer and 28 percent for those with more than 90 days in treatment. The rates of relapse for general drug use are 53 percent for the fewer-than-90-day treatment period and 19 percent for more than 90 days in treatment.

The length of time for addiction treatment also depends on whether the user:

  • Uses multiple drugs
  • Is involved in crime
  • Has mental health disorders
  • Suffers from unemployment

These individuals will benefit from a treatment program that takes more than 90 days.

Treatment retention can be a problem with certain addicts. The level of association with family, friends or colleagues who are drug users or involved in crime can directly affect this. Sanction or enticement by one’s family, employer or the criminal justice system to get treatment can improve the likelihood of treatment entry and retention. This can also increase an individual’s internal motivation to seek treatment and ultimately change. Other factors associated with increased retention are:

  • Having a good relationship with the counselor
  • Satisfaction with treatment
  • Attending education classes
  • Exposure to experienced staff within residential programs
  • Self-esteem
  • Attitudes and beliefs about oneself and the future
  • Motivation and the feeling of readiness for treatment

Strategies Used in Treatment Programs

One documented approach teaches cognitive strategies to improve self-esteem, develop roadmaps for positive personal change, cultivate better understanding of how to make the most of and benefit from drug abuse treatment, and develop the right expectations for treatment and recovery. This approach was proven to be most effective with those with lower education levels.

Did You Know?

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the average length of time for addiction treatment is 28 days.

Short-Term Rehab Treatment

That said, there are short-term treatment programs that could be suited to certain people. Short term usually means five to seven days of physical stabilization and detox. How long the rehab process takes will be a personal decision made in concert with a doctor or counselor. To discuss options for treatment or to obtain further information regarding drug treatment program lengths, call us now at .

Did You Know?

The National Institute on Drug abuse estimates that the overall costs of substance abuse in the United States, including those costs related to productivity, health and crimes, exceed $600 billion annually. This figure includes roughly $181 billion for illicit drugs, $193 billion for tobacco, and $235 billion for alcohol.

Choosing the Best Rehab Center

Most inpatient treatment programs perform extensive evaluations and assessments to determine the personality of patients, the best program for them, their medical history and whether mental health problems are present. These types of evaluations help target the treatment for each individual entering a drug rehabilitation program.

Until a patient is physically stable, rehab is continued. After the initial assessment and a thorough evaluation, patients undertake medically monitored detoxification, if necessary, which can take from three to 14 days, depending on the type and amount of drugs, alcohol or combination of these that the patient has taken.

In answering the question — “How long does drug rehab take?” — examine the different types of inpatient and outpatient treatment options available. The different types of programs are:

Different drug treatment program lengths are available for every person needing treatment for drug abuse. To speak to a knowledgeable professional about programs in your area, call .

Was this page helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is committed to delivering original, truthful, accurate, unbiased, and medically current information. We strive to create content that is clear, concise, and easy to understand.

Read our full editorial policy

While we are unable to respond to your feedback directly, we'll use this information to improve our online help.