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How Long is Residential Alcohol Treatment

Alcoholism is a disease that is characterized by rapid progression and serious side effects including withdrawal. When alcohol addiction is severe enough to cause distinct withdrawal symptoms and cravings that make it difficult for the user to quit, residential alcohol treatment may be the only safe and effective means of getting sober. If you’re not sure how long residential alcohol treatment will take, consider these factors:

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Inpatient rehab lengths vary, and many are followed by outpatient aftercare.

NIDA Principles

According to NIDA, effective addiction treatment requires participation of at least 90 days. For those who are in residential alcohol treatment, the 90 days of therapy and support cannot legitimately begin until the patient is no longer physically dependent on alcohol. Once detox and withdrawal has been completed, most people will require no less than 90 days of treatment before they can resume a regular, sober, lifestyle.

Long Term Programs

In some cases, a few months in treatment will simply not do justice when compared to the many years that were spent addicted to alcohol. For those who are not ready to revert back to a regular routine in society following 90 days of residential alcohol treatment, long term rehab programs have been established. These programs are generally reserved for people who:

  • Have tried residential treatment and relapsed more than once
  • Have been through programs of treatment that are 90 days long and relapsed
  • Suffer from co-occurring disorders
  • Cannot find adequate support, housing, employment and care outside of treatment
  • Are not ready for transitioning back into society following 90 days of residential treatment

Average Length of Treatment

On average, most alcoholics will spend somewhere between 30 and 90 days in a residential alcohol treatment program. While NIDA does recommend that patients spend 90 days in treatment, some choose to attend a shorter 30 day residential program followed by outpatient treatment that spans many weeks or months. The actual amount of time that it takes for you to recover from alcoholism will depend on variety of different factors including:

  • Your current health status.
  • How long you were addicted to alcohol prior to receiving treatment.
  • How severe your alcohol addiction really is.
  • How much support and guidance you have from others.
  • How committed you are to getting sober.
  • Whether you have relapsed in the past.
  • Whether you have tried other methods of alcohol addiction treatment in the past.

For some, 30 days of residential treatment is plenty of time to kick start new habits and generate a successful recovery from alcoholism; for others, a much longer time will be necessary in order to facilitate true recovery.

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