How Long Does Rehab Take? A Timeline for Drug Addiction Recovery

Regardless of the drugs, you have an addiction to, substance use is putting you at serious risk. Last year in the U.S., approximately 72,000 people died as a result of a drug overdose.

The beginning step on the road to recovery is getting help with drug or alcohol rehab. Rehab is your best shot at truly getting sober and staying that way.

However, going to rehabilitation is frightening. Instead of taking things one day at a time, many people view rehab as a never-ending mountain they have to climb.

If you’re asking yourself “how long does rehab take?” keeping reading. We’re going over a rehab timeline to help you put things into perspective.

How Long Does Rehab Take?

Recovery is a lifelong process, but the initial rehabilitation stage will pass. However, it’s important to understand how crucial your first steps are. The last thing you want to do is try to get through detox and treatment as fast as you can.

The length of your initial rehab process depends on a few things. The duration of your dependence and the type of substance you’re addicted to will set the stage for your rehabilitation.

During treatment, you’ll need to take your progress into account. A qualified rehab facility will help with this.

If you’re also dealing with physical or mental issues on top of addiction, you’ll have to address these problems as well. This may require ongoing counseling and therapy.

Let’s break down the specifics of the rehab process to get a better sense of a timeline.

Detox Stage

Before you can work on long-term care, you must get the substance out of your system. This ensures you’re no longer at risk of withdrawal.

This stage is often painful, as your body now depends on the substance to feel normal. However, under medical supervision, you can flush the drugs out of your body.

The average time a person must detox is around two weeks. However, the length will vary based on the chemical and your level of dependence.

For alcohol, heroin, or prescription painkillers, expect to detox from four days to two weeks. For serious addiction to methamphetamines or benzodiazepines, the process could take a little longer.

In a treatment facility, a doctor will prescribe medication to help ease the withdrawal symptoms. This is important, as severe cases of withdrawal can cause injury or even death.

Treatment Programs

After you’ve gone through detox, it’s time to start the treatment stage. This will help you cope with life after addiction and also teach you how to deal with urges.

There are a number of treatment options available. These include inpatient care after detox and outpatient care.

This is a very sensitive time in your recovery. It’s important to understand the more effort you put into your treatment, the higher your chances for a full recovery.

You should also keep in mind that shorter treatment periods often end in relapse. Again, don’t try to get through this as fast as you can.

30-Day Program

Opting for a 30-day program is a good first step. This gives you the chance to get further away from your addiction and decide whether you’ll need further treatment.

This part of your recovery involves group meetings and one-on-one sessions with a drug counselor. You’ll learn techniques for coping with life directly after rehab. It’s also a good way to connect with other recovering addicts.

Many people have obligations they need to attend to after detox. They often choose a 30-day program because it’s the easiest to finish.

While returning to your responsibilities is important, you also need to allow yourself enough time to recover.  If at the end of your 30-day program you feel vulnerable to relapse, do everything you can to extend your treatment.

60-Day Program

A two-month program allows you more time to readjust to normal life in a rehabilitation setting. You’ll have the chance to become more familiar with coping mechanisms before you’re on your own again.

You’ll also learn behaviors that promote a healthy lifestyle. This includes physical and mental techniques.

It’s important to understand that psychological addiction continues long after physical dependence. This is why a 60-day program is much better for dealing with mental and emotional connections to addiction.

Addiction Treatment Program

Participating in a addiction treatment program may seem overwhelming. However, the longer you involve yourself in treatment, the higher chance you’ll have of avoiding relapse.

During these programs, you’ll engage in regular group sessions. You’ll make stronger connections with other recovering addicts and counselors.

In addition, you’ll start to get a clear sense of the type of aftercare you’ll need once treatment is over. You’ll learn how to manage stress and deal with situations that pushed you towards substance abuse in the past.

If you’re dealing with long-term addiction, a addiction treatment program is best for you.

Long-Term Care

After your treatment has ended, you’re still not done with recovery. Remember, this is an ongoing process.

The type of long-term care you opt for depends heavily on the severity of your addiction. Many people are proactive in their ongoing treatment for the remainder of their life.

It’s up to you to participate in long-term care to prevent yourself from slipping back into addiction. Programs like AA and NA give recovering addicts a support system they can rely on. Consider going to meetings on a regular basis.

You may also opt for ongoing outpatient care. This involves returning to the rehab facility to meet with groups and receive further counseling.

Long-term care encourages you to stick with your plan for recovery. It’s there help keep you on track and involved in your own rehabilitation.

Start the Road to Recovery Today

Rehab is an intimidating process you may not want to face. However, it could help you get things back on track and even save your life.

When asking yourself “how long does rehab take?” consider the timelines discussed above. This will allow you to break down your recovery and take things one step at a time.

We provide rehab programs, therapy, and other treatment options in the Tucson area. Contact us today if you or someone you know needs help.


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