When faced with the decision to get professional treatment for an addiction, people are often hesitant at first and daunted by the questions this brings to mind.
One of the most common uncertainties that causes concern is how long a typical treatment program at an alcohol or drug rehab center will last.
Rehabs vary from state to state as far as the length of stay. For example, there may be more variety of services and programs at treatment centers in Florida than at drug rehabs in New Jersey.
Researching local and out-of-state options can provide a general idea of the average length of stay depending what you are looking for and where.
Rehab Levels of Care and Lengths of Stay
Most alcohol and drug rehabs in the U.S. subscribe to the flexible treatment levels with the continuum of care model designed by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM).
Each level of care has an estimated or average length of stay, and the actual length of stay is determined based on the individual client’s medical needs and treatment goals.
Most inpatient rehabs last for a minimum of 28 days and can last up to 90 days, depending on clinical recommendations, health insurance, and other factors.
Detox may be necessary for medical stabilization, which can be a few days to a week or longer and can prolong the length of stay.
Residential is similar to inpatient but tends to be longer-term, and the length of stay varies widely. Many programs run about two to three months, but many offer longer stays to ensure a strong recovery.
Clients who are willing and have the financial resources to stay longer may stay up to a year living in residential care.
When people step down from higher levels of inpatient treatment, part of their continuum of care may be to attend a partial hospitalization program to smooth the transition out of treatment.
Partial hospitalization programs or PHPs are usually three months or longer, followed by a step down to a lower and less intensive phase of treatment.
Intensive outpatient and outpatient care typically have a flexible time frame, although clients are encouraged to complete this level and follow clinical recommendations.
The standard recommended duration of this phase is three months, and this is flexible depending on the client’s needs and availability. With outpatient programs, clients attend daily or weekly sessions and return home after treatment.
Recommendations for Treatment
Patients are assessed prior to admission to determine their needs, whether those entail short-term or long-term treatment. Recommendations are based on these assessments.
The goal is generally not to keep the patient in treatment as long as possible, but to keep them in as long as necessary. This is to prevent treatment dropout and optimize chances for success in recovery. The phenomenon of treatment dropout is when clients leave rehab or treatment against medical advice and resist recommendations, putting them at high risk of relapse.
Clinicians individualize treatment plans to motivate patients to complete the recommended length of stay. Clients are often encouraged to weigh in on decisions. Transparency about treatment duration and discharge planning also keeps clients’ anxiety at bay and helps them to feel confident about reaching their treatment goals.
Insurance Coverage for Rehab
The duration of treatment at a rehab facility also depends on insurance. Many people use health insurance to cover their treatment costs unless they do private pay.
Insurance companies will not always subsidize the full recommended length of stay. Getting coverage for treatment at rehab depends on the individual’s insurance plan.
Rehabs often help clients to work with their insurance companies on getting treatment extensions if they need more time in inpatient or outpatient rehab settings.
Clinicians will often submit paperwork to give compelling reasons for why clients need more time in treatment or extra services for their recovery.
Following Recommendations for Successful Recovery
Although people who are dealing with addiction often seem out of control, control is actually what they desperately want, and have difficulty surrendering.
One of the scariest things about going to rehab is giving up control, and letting a clinician or clinical team decide what kind of treatment is needed and for how long. However, accepting help and guidance from addiction treatment professionals is the first step toward healing from addiction.
Taking clinical recommendations regarding treatment and staying for the recommended length of time is integral to successful recovery and an effective continuum of care.
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