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How Long Does Rehab Take?

The average rehab stay ranges from 28 days to 90 days, but there is not a set amount of time that is better. Longer treatment is associated with more positive outcomes, however, it’s best to work with your treatment team to decide the appropriate length of time based on your individual needs.1

The most important aspect of treatment is that it addresses the whole person, regardless of the length of treatment.6 How long rehab lasts varies greatly depending on several factors, which this article will discuss to help you make the right decision for addiction treatment.

Addiction Treatment Program Lengths

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction and considering treatment, that is a brave step toward making a positive change in your life. However, there are many questions that can feel overwhelming when trying to decide the right rehab to choose like “how long does rehab last” or “how much does rehab cost.”

There are several different types of treatment at varying intensity levels, so rehab program lengths don’t follow a set timeline. However, common rehab lengths are:

Rehab can also extend beyond 90 days in both inpatient and outpatient settings if you and your treatment team feel that more time is needed.

Addiction rehab programs are most effective when a person spends an adequate amount of time in treatment.1 What’s considered adequate time depends on several factors, including:

  • Level of care assessed by your treatment team.
  • The severity of the addiction.
  • Need for detox.
  • Insurance coverage.
  • Substances that are being misused.
  • Co-occurring mental and physical health conditions.
  • Rate of progress throughout treatment.

For many people, recovery is a long-term process. Relapse is a common part of the recovery process but does not indicate failure. If a person experiences relapse, it’s important for their treatment team to reassess and adjust treatment accordingly, which may mean more time in treatment.1, 6

How long rehab lasts may also be impacted by the science behind addiction. Since addiction affects the brain and can lead to tolerance and dependence, people may need more time to help with withdrawal from substances, establish new patterns of behavior, and understand triggers that can lead to continued substance use.2

What Are the Benefits of Rehab?

While addiction is a chronic condition, it is treatable and can be managed.2 Getting treatment and actively working through the recovery process may help you or a loved one remain clean and set a foundation for a new path in life.

Entering formal treatment where you can receive a combination of services like behavioral therapy, medication, and support has been shown to be an effective way to find long-term sobriety and recovery.2

The benefits of alcohol or drug rehab can vary depending on the person and their unique situation, but people may find that they’re better able to stop the cycle of substance misuse, better understand the underlying causes of addiction, and establish healthy patterns of behavior.

What Does an Addiction Treatment Program Include?

Regardless of how long rehab lasts or which program you choose, your entry into rehab will likely follow a similar structure depending on your needs. Before you enter treatment, you’ll receive a thorough assessment by your treatment team to make sure you get the proper level of care and all physical needs are met. Many rehabs will include the following services.

Detoxification

The detox and withdrawal process can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks depending on the substance being misused and your physical needs. The detox process includes:

  • Evaluation for physical and mental health needs.
  • Stabilization through the safe management of withdrawal symptoms, which may include medication.
  • Preparation for the next phase of treatment as recommended by your treatment team.

A period of medically supervised detox is strongly indicated in cases of alcohol, benzodiazepine, and barbiturate abuse, as dangerous withdrawal symptoms such as seizures and hallucinations may occur when substances of these types are abruptly discontinued.3

Detox services can be a part of both inpatient and outpatient treatment programs.

Structured Treatment Program

After detox, your treatment team will likely recommend continued treatment. This may be a formal rehabilitation program on an inpatient or outpatient basis. Depending on your program, treatment may include:4

  • Regularly scheduled counseling or therapy sessions – both individual and group counseling.
  • Family counseling – wherein family members become active participants in your recovery.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which helps people recognize patterns of thinking and behavior that can lead to substance misuse.
  • Medication management.
  • Treatment of co-occurring disorders, such as eating disorders and/or depression.
  • Participation in 12-step recovery groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).
  • Career development training.
  • Adult education classes.
  • Skills training, e.g., financial management.
  • Relapse prevention techniques.
  • Aftercare planning.

How to Choose a Drug or Alcohol Rehab Program

When looking for types of rehab programs, there are many options to consider. What’s most important is that the program meets your needs with individualized care. Factors to consider include:

  • Credentials of treatment staff and the facility.
  • Treatment approaches.
  • Accommodations (private vs. shared).
  • Types of evidence-based therapies offered.
  • Location.
  • Treatment of special populations like women, LGBTQ+, religious.

Integrating medication with therapy has also been found to lead to positive results for drug and alcohol users.5

Additionally, you may want to evaluate a rehab program based on how they meet the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s Principles of Effective drug addiction treatment:6

  • Treating recovery as a long-term process that involves a variety of approaches
  • Consideration of co-occurring physical or mental health conditions
  • Tailoring treatment programs to individuals and their needs
  • Ongoing reassessment of treatment to ensure each person receives the proper level of care
  • Incorporating behavioral therapies and medications
  • Continuing treatment after detox
  • Monitoring drug use during treatment
  • Testing people for diseases and other conditions from drug use, such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and tuberculosis

What Happens After I Finish Rehab?

Formal addiction treatment lasts for a certain amount of time, but the recovery process is ongoing, even after you leave rehab. That’s why it’s important that you and your treatment team work together to create a continuing care plan, also known as aftercare planning.

A continuing-care plan will help create a structure to follow after you leave formal treatment to encourage abstinence, positive behavior patterns, and help prevent relapse. Plans will vary depending on your needs and what you discuss with treatment professionals, but may include:

  • 12-step programs, non-12-step programs, or other support groups.
  • Continue individual or group therapy.
  • Medication for co-occurring disorders.
  • Education.
  • Drug counseling.

Find Addiction Treatment

If you or a loved one are ready to begin your process of recovery, American Addiction Centers (AAC) is ready to help. We have a team of compassionate admissions navigators who understand addiction and can help you find the right treatment. They are available 24/7 via our confidential helpline at to answer questions, check insurance coverage at AAC facilities, and provide addiction resources as needed.