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3 Steps to Substance Abuse Rehab

Rehab normally goes through three phases; detox, treatment, and aftercare. How long these rehabilitation steps might last for you really depends on your addiction, as different substances require varying durations for the whole rehab treatment process to be completed.

Here are the average lengths of rehab:

  • Detox: 4 days
  • Hospital residential treatment: 16 days
  • Long-term residential treatment: 90 days
  • Outpatient treatment: 130 days.

The duration of rehab is different for each individual as well. Patients who require brief treatments like detox, therapy, and supportive care may require lesser days and are more effective for people who are still in the initial period of using drugs. On the other hand, it is mandatory for individuals who have already developed substance use disorders to go through longer treatment sessions that may last for a few years. Though many hope for a fast rehab process, it may be advisable to stay longer as studies have shown that it translates into lower chances of a relapse.

Drug pills on a spoon

Rehab is a tailored experience for each individual, and the duration of stay is highly dependable on certain factors like the severity of addiction and the rate of progress. For addicts who have severe drug dependencies or have a dual diagnosis with other mental health issues, long-term treatment is required. Rehab centres offer various personalized plans tailored to individual needs. For opioid addiction, for example, you can approach Desert Hope Treatment for further details.

Contrary to popular belief, success is, in fact, not guaranteed for every individual. However, receiving some sort of treatment is always better than receiving none at all. Despite this, many addicts with substance abuse disorders choose not to seek help. According to statistics from the U.S. National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 21.7 million people who are 12 years old and above require treatment at rehabs, yet only 2.3 million actively sought professional help.

Rehab Steps

Individuals going through rehab normally go through three phases; detox, treatment, and aftercare. People suffering from substance use disorders have to maintain sobriety for the rest of their lives, and failure to do so often results in relapse. Hence, doctors often recommend some form of aftercare once rehab is over.

Step 1. Detox

Medical detox usually takes about seven to ten days to complete, but individuals with more severe addictions may require a longer stay. Certain withdrawal treatment medications like buprenorphine may be effective in shortening the length of detox, but again, it varies from person to person.

Individuals with heroin addiction take about four to ten days to detox, while methadone and benzodiazepines addiction require longer periods, from 10 to 20 days and two to eight weeks respectively.

Before individuals reach sobriety, it is important for the drugs to be completely flushed out from their bodies. This may be a painful and challenging process for some, as many substances can cause withdrawal symptoms that bring extreme discomfort. Due to this, it is crucial for it to be
done under medical guidance and assistance. Moral support from trained staff can help individuals deal with their withdrawal symptoms better and prevent them from being tempted to use the drug again during the detoxification process.

Doctors stethoscope on pressure arm strap

Step 2. Treatment

Treatment sessions can last from 30 days to about a year, depending on the severity, as clients addicted to certain drugs may require a longer stay. After detoxification, the critical phase of rehab can begin. The treatment phase involves many therapy and counselling sessions, aimed at correcting negative behaviour and replacing them with useful encouraging ones.
These sessions involve both individual and group settings, allowing the individual to receive moral support from their peers who are going through the same experience. At this stage, medication may be prescribed by medical professionals when needed. After the individual shows substantial signs of improvement, they will graduate from the program and move on to
the next phase.

Based on past statistics, the average length of stay for individuals in outpatient medication-assisted opioid therapy is about 207 days, while individuals receiving outpatient treatment need around 130 days to graduate. Other treatments like long-term residential treatment, intensive outpatient treatment, and short-term residential treatment take about 90 days, 88 days and 27 days respectively to complete.

Individuals with severe addiction problems may require much longer treatment. For example, individuals who have suffered from cocaine addiction and is diagnosed with schizophrenia will likely require a longer rehab treatment duration than someone with a marijuana addiction with no simultaneous mental health issue.

Step 3. Aftercare

Maintaining sobriety does not stop once treatment is completed. It is common for individuals to fall into a relapse afterwards due to the temptation and craving for the drug again; with a relapse rate for drug addiction being about 40 to 60 per cent.

In order to prevent individuals from falling into the same pit again, doctors highly recommend that they exercise aftercare. This phase can include constant medication, self-help workshops like Narcotics Anonymous, a healthy living environment like a sober house or attending regular support group meetings full of like-minded people who can encourage one another.

According to Richard Molina, the Head Therapist at The Recovery Village, it is crucial for patients to undergo treatment or aftercare for at least a year to a year and a half. This will give the brain and body ample time to heal and get used to life without drugs.

The length of aftercare also varies from individual to individual. Research has shown that active participation in self-help support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous can indeed promote longer recovery periods, in which the individual maintains sobriety. Support can come in many forms, like internet-based interventions and self-probation through telephone calls.

Drug rehab injection being applied to arm

Determining the length of your treatment process

Consulting a rehab medical professional will be useful as they are able to diagnose the severity of your addiction and personalize a treatment process just for you. There are different types of rehabs that you can willingly opt for, like residential treatment or outpatient treatment, that determines whether you get to go home at night or stay in throughout the duration. Regardless of which you choose, it is important to have the will to stick to your rehab sessions and abide by the required length of stay. Research has shown that individuals who have stayed in residential treatment for more than 90 days showed a significant decline in relapse rates, while those who left before the 90-day mark had a much higher relapse rate; comparable to those who received treatment for one to two days.

In conclusion, choosing the right rehab duration is indeed important in helping to accelerate your road to recovery. Regardless of the rehab plan tailored for you, motivation to stick through the sessions is indeed the most crucial factor. Being responsible for your own health is mainly up to you, and if you decide to take a leap of faith and enrol in rehab, trust the process and stick with it. The reward you get after the entire rehab process will be worth it.

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