How long does addiction recovery take? If you’re looking for rehab, either for yourself or a loved one, you may be wondering how long rehab should last.
The question can get overwhelming, especially when you think about all your options. You can find free rehab centers and paid rehab centers, inpatient and outpatient rehabs, and many other variations. These treatment options may be short-term or long-term.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse recommends that treatment last for 90 days or longer. However, when you look for treatment options, you’ll need to think about several factors, including what it means to be recovered from addiction and your individual treatment needs.
While 90 days is the recommendation, you may need more or less time to fully heal from co-occurring disorders, create a support network, and find a healthy rhythm for recovery. Addiction recovery is not one-size-fits-all — you must find what works best for your needs.
What Does “Recovered” Mean?
One of the most important things to know about addiction is that it’s an illness. That’s why people use words like “recovery” when they talk about it. However, you should also remember that not all illnesses work the same way.
Some illnesses, like the flu, can eventually go away. If someone has recovered from that illness, it means that they no longer have it. Other illnesses, like addiction, currently cannot be cured.
Many people get discouraged when they hear that, but addiction recovery works similarly to the recovery process for other long-term illnesses. Depression, for example, also cannot be cured. However, even though a person may have a diagnosis of clinical depression, there are many ways to effectively keep symptoms at bay.
A depressed person’s brain may never produce enough feel-good chemicals on its own, but the depression can still be treated. For example, the person may take medication to help their brain hold onto serotonin and dopamine or see a therapist to develop healthy coping strategies. With the right therapy, medication, and other changes, this person can live a stable and full life. Having depression does not mean that this person can never be happy again.
Addiction recovery is a lot like depression recovery. The illness itself may always be there, but that doesn’t mean that you must always feel compelled to do drugs. People with addictions can manage and treat their illness over time, just like people with depression.
How Long Should I Stay In Rehab?
Like NIDA, many rehabs recommend a 90-day stay. This doesn’t mean that people are “cured” in 90 days, but this time does provide an effective way to begin recovery. Thirty-day programs used to be the standard in addiction recovery, but a 90-day stay reduces the chances of relapse.
When people stay in rehab for 90 days, they give their brains and bodies more time to heal, and they give themselves more time to benefit from therapy.
Many rehab centers also offer aftercare programs, so former residents can continue to receive counseling and other forms of therapy after their stay. Aftercare programs can enhance the effectiveness of inpatient rehab because they offer long-term solutions.
Read More: 5 Foods that Help You Quit Smoking
What if I Can’t Afford 90 Days in Rehab?
Unfortunately, not everybody can attend rehab for 90 days. Many insurance companies only cover up to 30 days of treatment, and few people can pay for rehab out of pocket. What should you do if you need rehab but can’t afford a 90-day stay?
Fortunately, you do have options. For instance, you might go to rehab for 30 days and then pursue outpatient treatment for long-term care. You may even choose outpatient treatment from the start. Partial hospitalization programs and intensive outpatient treatment can help people recover from addiction. Some outpatient rehabs provide care for free, while many others offer care on a sliding scale.
Some rehab centers may contact your insurance company on your behalf, negotiating coverage for a full 90-day stay.
Recovering from Addiction
As you look into your options, don’t fall into the “all or nothing” thought trap. A 90-day stay in rehab may be ideal, but don’t assume that if you can’t afford 90 days, you can’t get treatment at all. Like with any illness, you may need to make changes and adjustments to your treatment over time. Right now, the most important choice is for you to get started.