Getting Your Fix: How Long Should You Stay in Rehab If You Want a Full Recovery?


You’ve chosen a great rehab center and you’re ready to embark on this journey.

As much as you know how important this is, there’s still part of you that thinks, ‘How long’s this all gonna take?’

Everybody’s journey is different, and the question ‘How long does rehab take?’ will be different for each person.

But let’s look together at a few types of treatment, and how long on average people spend here.

Inpatient Rehab

If you’re addicted to opiates, such as heroin, or other prescription or non-prescription drugs, then to achieve whole recovery is going to take a while.

It’s important to recognize that your substance abuse likely affected all areas of your life. That being the case, it will take time not only to physically recover from the effects of the withdrawal but more importantly to learn who you are and what life looks like without drugs.

Opiate rehab often begins with a detox program in a rehab facility as an in-patient. Drug Rehab will then continue with a period of inpatient treatment, which will prepare you to transition to outpatient services. 

The National Institute on Drug Abuse recommends that this treatment takes a minimum of 90 days. In fact, to achieve complete rehab from opiates, a much longer period is highly recommended.

Outpatient Rehab

An assessment may show that you are suitable for outpatient rehab, or you may have now transitioned onto this from detox and inpatient rehab.

This can last for several weeks, and usually takes a minimum of 9 hours a week. Some treatment centers offer alumni programs for people who have successfully completed treatment.

These programs offer what you need to achieve whole recovery – a support network of people who are also successfully fighting the same battle as you are.

However long you choose to engage will depend on you, your addiction and your recovery journey. Relapses often happen, and should never be viewed as a failure. Even if your recovery is taking longer than you had hoped, never give up.

You can only achieve complete rehab if you allow yourself adequate time for treatment.

30 Day Drug Rehab Programs

Having seen 30-day drug rehab programs advertised, some people have concluded that this is the answer to ‘How long does drug treatment take?’. 

The 30-day program is an intensive drug rehab program which includes an assessment, detoxification program, and intensive therapy and aftercare.

It’s inpatient treatment and is a great start to your recovery journey. However, it is only the first phase. You will be discharged from the initial program only when aftercare arrangements are in place.

Again, don’t rush your treatment in an attempt to get back to normal life. Part of the treatment is accepting that your life has changed, and you are now embarking on a new life as a sober person. To solidify this exciting change takes time, but it’s well worth it.

The Million Dollar Question: How Long Does Rehab Take?

The answer to the question ‘How long does rehab take?’ is as individual as you are.

However long it takes, stick with it. Whatever setbacks you experience along the way, commit to seeing it through to the end. 

It may be a long road, it may be a short one, but the destination is worth all the effort along the way.

If you have a loved one who needs treatment for drug addiction, then check out our complete guide on how to get help for your loved one.

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