“Timothy Geithner, the 75th Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, was once quoted as saying “Most consequential choices involve shades of gray, and some fog is often useful in getting things done.”
The decision to enter drug rehab is one of the most consequential choices you will ever make. Which is why, perhaps unsurprisingly, addressing the question “how long does rehab take?” is far from a black-and-white answer.
How Long Should a Rehab Program Last?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, effective treatment takes at least 90 days (and can be longer for heroin). However, a person’s biochemistry, the type of substance or substances abused, history of drug use, and the severity of the addiction impact what an effective length of stay is.
So how long is rehab? It can depend on several factors. Here’s why:
- Biology – It can take months for your brain to rewire itself to change a habit. If you leave a rehab program early, the brain may not be physically recovered from the effects of the substance abuse.
- Coping Strategies – Addiction is a complex disease that is much more than just using drugs or alcohol. An addict may turn to drugs to cope with trauma, depression, or anxiety. Longer treatment can help people learn effective and healthier ways to deal with these difficult emotions.
- Healthy Lifestyle – Substance abuse depletes the body of important vitamins and minerals. That’s why exercise and a good diet are important keys to drug addiction recovery. A longer stay in rehab gives recovering addicts more time to learn how to life a healthy and nutritious lifestyle after treatment has ended.
- Relationships – Many reputable drug treatment programs urge family members and friends to get involved in an addict’s recovery because it helps that person understand they are not alone. Teaching loved ones how they can help the addict takes time, and the more time they have to learn, the better the chances at long-term recovery for the addict!
These variables aside, one thing we can clearly state is that a longer stay can better prepare the addict and their loved ones for sustained, long-term recovery.
Footprints’ Individualized Approach to Rehab
Our goal is to help recovering addicts identify underlying causes of addiction, and we offer a full continuum of care so that the people we treat (and their loved ones) are best equipped to navigate the path to recovery.
For the reasons listed above, we believe that there is no “one size fits all” solution for an effective drug rehab program, and that substance abuse treatment works best when it focuses on the individual’s mind and body. There aren’t any black-and-white guidelines that determine how long drug treatment should last. While that may seem like a vague answer now, remember that Secretary Timothy Geithner once told us “…some fog is often useful in getting things done.” Or in this case, to get started on the path to recovery.
Act now to get the clarity you or a loved one need to get better. Contact us today to speak to an expert who can help you determine how long a rehab program will take.