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Why Length Of Stay At A Drug Rehab Is The Most Important Thing

If you have decided to attend drug rehab, you may be wondering why many facilities recommend stays of up to a year. This is because it takes time to make permanent changes in behavior. It simply cannot be done overnight. Your length of stay at rehab will directly and profoundly be the single most accurate predictor of your future success in remaining drug-free. That’s why you should stay for as long as recommended.

Most people need professional help to stop using drugs and alcohol. You’re not alone. It’s really not a do-it-yourself project. It’s not a matter of willpower, particularly with substances such as opioids, alcohol and amphetamines. These three in particular cause such profound changes in brain chemistry and structure that the brain can no longer function when the substance is suddenly withdrawn.

Drug treatment generally consists of three stages:

  • Detox
  • Treatment
  • Aftercare

Detox is the first step. This is the period of time when your body is physically withdrawing from your drug or drugs of choice. How long this will take depends upon the person, the substance and the time length of the addiction. In general, alcohol takes the least amount of detox time, which is anywhere from 48 hours to 10 days or so. Don’t assume from this that alcohol withdrawal is safe. Without proper medical assistance, it’s not. It takes more time to completely withdraw from opioids, benzodiazepines and stimulants. All cause significant depletion of important brain chemicals. Treatment centers use medications to help clients feel better during withdrawal, but the person will not feel normal again until brain chemical balance has been restored. This can easily take a month or more.

Treatment is the next step. Once detox has been completed, you will receive counseling to prevent a relapse from occurring in the future. Forms of counseling include individual, group and behavior modification, among others. Tools to help you live without your drug of choice are also taught. Once you have successfully completed certain treatment phases, you may be placed in a sober living facility. This is sometimes considered a type of aftercare. Here, you will be allowed more freedom. You can work and have a social life. However, you must follow house rules. Expect curfews, random drug testing and required participation in meetings and group therapy sessions.

Aftercare is the last phase. You will receive supportive services for a certain amount of time as part of your comprehensive treatment plan.

Most studies indicate that stays of less than 90 days give substandard, meaning non-permanent, results. Give yourself the best chance of success and plan to stay in drug treatment for at least 90 days.

If you are ready to seek help and you’re not sure how to go about it, you can call us. We will help you find the right facility for you. It’s what we do. Our professional staff is available 24 hours a day at 800-737-0933. We are here for you at all times. All you have to do is make the call.

Listen to Podcasts
Season 3, Episode 31: 29 Years of Recovery w/ Andy V.