How Long Does Drug Use Treatment Last?

Are you starting drug use treatment soon? You may feel overwhelmed at the thought. And one of your top questions may be about how long it may take. Treatment length varies from person to person. It can begin with shorter sessions, but it may continue for months or years.   Addiction rehab includes everything from community support to inpatient care. And there are many levels in between. The best treatment for substance use disorder depends on a person’s needs over time. Here we’ll take a look at the recovery journey and why treatment length is different for everyone.  

Drug use treatment caters to a person’s needs 

Research suggests that treatment lasting fewer than 90 days isn’t as helpful. More extended treatment periods help people have better outcomes. But there is no standard length of treatment for everyone.  The more complex a person’s addiction, the longer treatment may take. The entire treatment process may take years for some. Here are some issues that can lengthen a person’s treatment journey.

  • Mental health conditions
  • Major physical health conditions
  • Substances that result in more severe addictions like opioids 


Outpatient treatment – An option for continued care

Outpatient substance abuse therapy is flexible, and it can be done at different levels of intensity. Treatment types may range from weekly appointments to all-day sessions. Here’s more about the continuum of care and where outpatient fits in.

  • Inpatient rehab is medically managed care for severe addiction. It often takes place in a hospital setting. This treatment includes overnight stays and can last as long as medically necessary. 
  • Residential rehab offers 24-hour care. But it’s less restrictive than inpatient treatment. These programs take place in separate home-like facilities with overnight stays. 
  • Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP) are the next step down. It’s the highest level of outpatient care and has no overnight stays. But treatment sessions last several hours a day. People go to treatment most days of the week for 2-4 weeks.
  • Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) can last for several weeks. Sessions are a few hours at a time, often 3-4 times a week. It’s less intensive than PHP. Many people continue working or going to school during IOP treatment.
  • Typical outpatient treatment is one session every week or two and can help a person maintain their recovery over time.


Maintaining recovery beyond treatment

Finishing drug use treatment doesn’t mean the recovery process is done. Keeping up with long-term goals is vital, too. People can learn to direct their lives with recovery in mind

Peer support groups

Peer support is vital for maintaining recovery. Peer groups like these provide both social support and guidance.   

Community support groups

12-step and community support groups play a key role in recovery. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are two well-known examples. Community groups are often not part of treatment. But they are easy to join. They can help a person stay focused on recovery goals.   

Treatment alumni groups

Alumni from the same treatment program often meet for support. Rooted Alumni is one such group from the PATH program. They offer weekly virtual meetings and allow people from all over to connect and discuss topics like stress and triggers.  

Booster check-up sessions

People can visit a treatment specialist during recovery. These are known as booster check-up sessions and may be done twice a year or as needed. The specialist takes a broad look at a person’s recovery process. They review strengths, needs, and any changes to their recovery plan.   

Addiction recovery is a personal process

So how long can treatment last? It’s not a simple answer. Treatment is designed to fit a person’s needs. They may start with outpatient substance abuse therapy or be one step of a longer recovery process. If you need to learn more about substance use treatment options, call us at the P.A.T.H. program today at 713-528-3709. You’re not alone.

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