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How Long is Rehab?

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Rehab, short for drug rehabilitation, is a form of substance abuse treatment or drug addiction treatment program designed to help individuals overcome drug addiction. The goal of drug rehab is to help individuals stop using drugs or alcohol, manage withdrawal symptoms, and learn new skills and behaviors that can help them maintain long-term sobriety. Drug rehab programs can vary in length of stay, intensity, and focus, but almost all inpatient rehab treatment programs involve a combination of group therapy, individual counseling, and life skills.

Making the leap into addiction treatment can be a difficult decision to make, but it’s a necessary step for those who want to break free from the cycle of addiction and drug abuse. The length of stay at a treatment center depends on the individual’s drug of choice, duration of abuse, and mental health needs.

It is important that the individual gets the care and support they need to address their addiction and learn new coping skills for managing triggers. Ultimately, recovery is a lifelong journey, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. However, below are some key factors that play a role in your substance abuse treatment length of stay, and what to expect so you can be prepared for the journey ahead.

First Stage – Detoxification (3 to 14 days)

The withdrawal symptoms from benzodiazepines, opiates, or alcohol can be fatal if not properly supervised by a medical professional. For these individuals, therapeutic treatment cannot begin until the substance has cleared from their system. This is why medical detox is the first step for these individuals. During the detox process, medical professionals can provide medications to help manage withdrawal symptoms and keep the individual comfortable. The length of stay during detox may last 3-14 days or longer depending on the substances used, body chemistry, metabolism, and how long a person has been regularly using drugs.

For instance, the average timeline to detox off opioids is around 4 to 10 days for short-acting opioids (like heroin) and up to 20 days for longer-acting opioids (such as methadone). More severe forms of drug or alcohol addiction may require a longer detox process. The ultimate goal is to stabilize the client so that they can comfortably begin therapeutic immersion for the next phase of treatment.

During detox, it can be extremely difficult for the individual to resist their cravings and stay sober, so emotional support and monitoring from professionals are essential. During these first couple days of rehab, you might suffer from withdrawal symptoms including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Headaches
  • Seizures
  • Agitation
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Stomach cramps
  • Joint and muscle pain

While these withdrawal symptoms can make the detox stage one of the most difficult parts of addiction treatment, it’s important to know these symptoms don’t last forever. They usually hit their peak between two to three days after detox begins and then start to improve.

Detox is one of the most critical stages of recovery, and the length of time here will depend on the individual’s needs. It is important that this process is done under the care of medical professionals to ensure safety.

Second Stage – Inpatient Rehab (14-30 days)

Once the individual is through detox, they can begin to focus on the psychological aspects of their addiction. This includes therapy and group sessions that help uncover the underlying issues related to their disordered coping mechanisms such as trauma, anxiety, depression, and any environmental factors involved.

Rehab length of stay will depend on how severe the addiction is, how long it has been going on, the individual’s progress and willingness during treatment, and how many days insurance will approve. Inpatient treatment at Clear Behavioral Health does not exceed 30 days as will last at least 30 days, and that is typically the longest amount of time that health insurance plans cover, though some may be shorter or longer depending on the person’s specific needs and ability to pay out of pocket.

Third Stage – PHP and IOP (3-4 months)

After completing inpatient rehab treatment, individuals may continue their recovery journey through various forms of outpatient programs. Two common types of outpatient rehab programs are PHP (partial hospitalization program) and IOP (intensive outpatient program).

PHP and IOP programs are structured treatment programs that offer more flexibility than inpatient rehab while still providing a high level of support and accountability. These programs are designed for individuals who have completed a residential rehab program and need ongoing treatment and support as they transition back to their daily lives.

PHP programs typically involve therapeutic programming up to 6 hours a day, 3-5 days a week in an outpatient setting. This level of care provides individuals with access to intensive therapy and counseling, as well as psychiatric medication management. This phase can last 2-4 weeks until clients taper down into IOP.

IOP programs, on the other hand, offer a more flexible schedule, typically consisting of 3 hours of treatment 3 days a week. Individuals in IOP programs receive individual and group therapy, as well as access to support groups and other psychiatric resources.

The length of PHP and IOP programs can vary depending on the individual’s needs and progress in recovery. At Clear Behavioral Health, our Dual Diagnosis outpatient programs last for between 3-4 months.

Fourth Stage – Aftercare and Lifelong Recovery

Though individuals may complete their inpatient rehab program, the hard work of recovery is far from over. Lifelong sobriety requires ongoing support, and follow-up care such as aftercare groups and outpatient services can provide that extra layer of security to ensure an individual doesn’t relapse into old habits.

Additionally, continuing therapy provides a safe space to address any new issues that may arise while in recovery, as well as giving individuals the opportunity to work on any unresolved emotions or traumas. Having professional guidance here can make a world of difference and help individuals stay focused on their sobriety.

In addition, you might choose to partake in follow-up care options including:

Sober Living (Weeks or Months)

Sober living is a great way to transition back into normal life after an inpatient stay at a rehab. During this time, individuals live in a safe and supportive environment with other people in recovery. The primary benefit of a sober living home is that it provides security and structure while allowing individuals some independence as they continue on the path to recovery. In addition, you can learn relapse prevention techniques to help during the recovery process, as well as partake in scheduled group therapy.

Ongoing Therapy (Several Months or Years)

Continuing counseling sessions is essential for long-term sobriety. Not only do they help individuals address any underlying mental health issues, but they also provide an ongoing support system that can be invaluable in helping them stay sober. Additionally, ongoing therapy allows individuals to process any new traumas or emotional challenges that may come up while in recovery. Therapy is not a lifelong solution, but it is good to have a layer of support when new triggers appear.

Ongoing Support Groups

Support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or 12-step meetings are a great way for individuals to stay connected and supported in their recovery journey. Joining one of these groups typically requires a commitment of at least one year, but can be helpful in providing ongoing support, motivation, and guidance on the path to sobriety.

Some factors that might affect the length of time someone receives counseling include the following.

What Dictates Treatment Duration?

Severity of the Addiction

In general, the more severe the drug abuse, the longer treatment will last. For individuals who suffer from milder addictions or those who have only recently started abusing substances, a shorter stay may be recommended. Alternatively, those who struggle with more severe addictions may need to stay longer to receive comprehensive treatment and support. Additionally, certain substances can be more difficult to abstain from than others.

It’s vital to plan ahead if you or a loved one is entering rehab, and make sure they are receiving the right amount of care. If you know your or your loved one’s addiction is severe, it’s best to plan for a full 30-day inpatient treatment.

Co-occurring Mental Health Disorders

If an individual has co-occurring mental health disorders such as depression or anxiety, it can take additional time for them to gain control over these issues. This is because there are often underlying issues that need to be addressed in order for them to feel better. As such, it’s important to ensure they have a therapy plan and enough time with their counselors to work through these problems and gain the skills necessary to control their mental health.

Some co-occurring disorders people need help to stabilize before beginning inpatient rehab include:


Suicidal ideation is a common symptom of depression, and it can be a serious mental health issue that requires immediate attention. If you’re suffering from severe depression, your treatment team will most likely want to stabilize your symptoms before beginning outpatient treatment.


Anxiety disorders such as panic attacks, phobias, and social anxiety can make recovery difficult if not appropriately addressed. They also go hand in hand with substance use disorders.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is often linked to substance abuse as individuals often use these substances to self-medicate and cope with their symptoms. To address the underlying issues related to PTSD, their assigned therapist will employ trauma-informed modalities throughout treatment.

Bipolar Disorder

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, as many as 30 to 50% of people with bipolar disorder also have a substance abuse disorder. This means that it’s important for those suffering from this mental health condition to receive comprehensive treatment that addresses both their addiction and underlying bipolar disorder.

Motivation For Treatment

Unfortunately, not everyone realizes just how vital the therapeutic part of treatment is. Some individuals may enter rehab and expect to be cured in a few weeks, only to find themselves struggling after they return home. It’s important to remember that addiction is a lifelong disease, and individuals need the necessary help and support from professionals and peers in order to maintain their sobriety long-term.

Additionally, motivation can be a major factor in how long someone stays in rehab. If an individual is motivated to stay and get the help they need, they may be able to move through treatment more quickly. However, if an individual is not motivated or feels like they can maintain sobriety on their own, it may take them longer to complete their program. The scary alternative is someone who refuses to complete treatment, cutting it short only to relapse.

Overall, how long someone stays in treatment depends on a variety of factors, including the severity of their addiction as well as any underlying mental health issues. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, it’s important for individuals to be honest with themselves and take the time needed to properly address all aspects of their condition in order to make the most out of this crucial stage of recovery.

Find Success Today and Start the Journey

We know it can be scary to begin the journey toward sobriety. That’s why we at Clear Behavioral Health are here to help. Our team of experienced professionals is dedicated to providing compassionate and comprehensive care for individuals struggling with addiction. From detox to hospital residential treatment and outpatient treatment, we provide comprehensive services so you can get the help you need today. Take the first step toward recovery now. Contact us today to learn more about our treatment program and get started on your journey to lifelong sobriety.

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