Learn / How Long Does Rehab Last?
The short answer is: it depends. Many factors influence the length of your stay in residential rehab. You can plan around some of these in advance. For example, your insurance might only pay for certain types of care, but other issues may arise while you’re in treatment. Ultimately, you’ll work with a team of experts to come up with a plan. And by following it, you can move toward your personal recovery goals.
Different types of rehab last for different amounts of time. Some programs—like initial detox—might last only a few days to a week. Others can go on for months or even years. And according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “good outcomes are contingent on adequate treatment length.”1 NIDA recommends at least 90 days of treatment for most patients.
As you prepare for rehab, consider which types of treatment are right for you. But remember that your plan may change after you start recovery. It’s important to stay present with yourself, so you can meet your evolving needs.
Medical detox from addiction2 usually lasts 10 days or less. If you detox in an inpatient setting, a care team will help you navigate the process. You may receive prescription medications, attend therapy, or get other medical treatment during withdrawal.
If your symptoms are more severe, your stay might last longer. That’s especially likely if you’re detoxing from certain substances. Withdrawal from alcohol,3 benzodiazepines,4 and opioids5 is especially risky. It’s essential to get medical attention when you start recovery from any of these substances.
Detox is often the first step in recovery—but it’s not the last. Some programs even require you to have a plan for longer-term recovery before you start treatment.
In one review of inpatient addiction treatment options,6 researchers found that “most planned stays now range from weeks to months, depending on the program and the person’s needs.” Most addiction rehab programs last at least one month,7 and some can last as long as 1 year.
Several issues can affect your total length of stay in rehab. If you want to plan ahead, you can start by answering these questions for yourself. Then, share your thoughts with your care team. They’ll help you make a plan that accounts for your current health status, and your long-term goals.
Healing isn’t linear, and your answers to these questions will probably change over time. But with the right support, you can stay on track before, during, and after inpatient treatment.
There are several types of addiction treatment programs. Whether or not you attend inpatient rehab, you can also consider outpatient recovery. For example, you could attend a partial hospitalization program (PHP), or an intensive outpatient program (IOP). In either of these, you would live off-site, and travel to the center for therapy. In a PHP, patients attend up to 30+ hours of treatment per week. IOPs offer more flexibility, with an average of 10-15 weekly hours.
Outpatient programs can work well if you’re in good physical health, but still need support during recovery. And if your insurance won’t cover residential treatment, it may still pay for an IOP or PHP. You can also get outpatient aftercare once you finish inpatient rehab. Outpatient addiction treatment7 typically lasts somewhere between 2 months and 1 year. If you’re healing from a dual diagnosis, like co-occurring addiction and depression, that may also affect your recovery timeline.
Rehab isn’t just for addiction. You can also get inpatient treatment for diagnoses like anxiety and depression. There are even rehab programs that treat grief. It’s harder to predict the appropriate length of stay for these conditions, since recovery means something different for every patient.
Your treatment plan will depend on your exact symptoms. And with the help of your rehab’s admissions team, you might be able to predict how long you’ll need to stay in treatment. For example, rehab for depression normally lasts for a few weeks. But if you need more support, it can continue for a matter of months.
Most insurance plans will cover at least 60 days of inpatient rehab,8 for both addiction and mental health treatment. But every insurer is different, and it may depend on your specific plan. Make sure to confirm the details with your insurance provider before you start treatment. The admissions team at your rehab should also be able answer your questions about pricing.
Learn more about the costs of rehab and how to make sure your insurance covers treatment.
If you have Medicare, it may limit which rehab centers you can attend.9 Before you commit to a program, make sure it’s covered by your specific insurance plan. You’ll also need your doctor to confirm that it’s medically necessary for you to attend rehab. If you satisfy these criteria, Medicare will cover 60 full days of inpatient treatment after you meet your deductible.
In the U.S., most private insurers cover rehab for addiction.10 But that’s not universally true. And, there are often strict limitations on how long private insurance will pay for treatment.11 This varies between different providers, and different insurance plans. Contact your insurance directly to learn more about your options. You can also ask the admissions team at your rehab for assistance. By planning ahead, you’ll avoid unpleasant surprises after you complete treatment. With that peace of mind, you can focus on what matters most: your continued recovery.
Many experts believe “recovery from addiction is a lifelong process.”12 Because this condition has both psychological and physical components, healing isn’t easy. And the process is different for everyone.
It might be complex, but addiction is highly treatable.13 And as you heal, you’ll start to define what recovery means,14 on your own terms. For you, success might mean total sobriety from all substances. Or, it might mean that you no longer drink, but you still smoke cigarettes. There’s no wrong answer here. You don’t need to fit into anyone else’s box. The goal is to build a rich, meaningful life that makes you healthy and happy.
Connect with a residential rehab facility directly to learn about their typical treatment timelines, facilities, and programming.
Reviewed by Rajnandini Rathod
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