Is 90-Day Drug Rehab Treatment the Right Choice?

90-day drug rehab treatment is considered a long-term drug rehabilitation program and is at least three times longer than the much more common short-term drug rehab treatment. Many residential rehab centers offer 28- or 30-day programs, and the average length of stay in a non-profit residential rehab center is less than half of that – just 10 to 14 days. These short programs are an opportunity for drug addicts to “dry out” or detox, but they don’t provide the newly clean individual much time to experience life off drugs before the rehab stay is over.

Even though fewer people choose to undergo long-term treatment in a drug rehab center, there are several reasons why a 90-day drug rehab treatment program may be the right choice for many addicts. If you’re looking for a drug rehab center for yourself or a loved one, take a few minutes to educate yourself on the pros and cons of long-term inpatient treatment for drug addiction. The most effective length of stay in drug rehab depends on the individual, who should take a number of factors into consideration. 90-day drug rehab treatment has some definite advantages over shorter programs, but might not be the best choice for everyone.

For example, longer stays in a drug rehab center may not be the best choice for people who aren’t wholly committed to addiction recovery or who don’t choose their treatment center with care. A report published by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) took a look at all clients who were discharged from a residential treatment program for substance abuse in 2005. According to the report, being discharged from treatment meant either completing the treatment program, dropping out or being asked to leave by the facility. Fifty-seven (57%) of the clients who were discharged from short-term residential treatment completed the program, compared with only 38% of those discharged from long-term residential treatment. Clients were also more than twice as likely to drop out of long-term treatment (31% versus 15%).

Does this mean that long-term approaches such as a 90-day drug rehab treatment program don’t work as well as shorter methods? No – in fact, the opposite is true. Research has shown that the longer an individual remains in rehab for substance abuse, the more likely they are to achieve long-term recovery. Short-term rehab programs often last only 30 days and don’t allow much time for therapy and healing. Detoxification from drugs or alcohol can take as much as a week, which means that about one-fourth of the typical short-term rehab stay can be taken up by dealing with physical withdrawal symptoms. Patients are only sober for a few weeks before leaving the treatment center, giving them little time to learn the skills they will need to stay off drugs once they’re back in the outside world.

90-day drug rehab treatment is particularly appropriate for certain individuals. Research looking at people who use drugs by injecting them has found that residential treatment lasting fewer than 90 days is rarely or never effective. For these individuals, a long-term treatment option is probably the best choice.

A 90-day drug rehab treatment program is also recommended for those who have been addicted to drugs or alcohol for a long period of time. It takes a long time to re-establish a healthy lifestyle after years of addiction and drug use, and a short stay in a rehab center is often not enough to change destructive patterns of thinking. Addiction has become a way of life for long-time addicts, and many can barely remember life before drugs. Four weeks of drug rehab will barely scratch the surface of these addicts’ problems.

In particular, 90-day drug rehab treatment is a good choice for individuals who have tried shorter treatment programs in the past without long-term success. Many people relapse at least one time before they experience long-term recovery, and some will undergo several stays in a drug rehab center without success. Consistent treatment over several months is often the most effective way for these individuals to address their addiction.

Individuals with a severe drug addiction may also benefit more from 90-day drug rehab treatment regardless of how long they’ve been using. Serious addiction problems require serious treatment, and addicts with a life-threatening drug problem will do best with a longer drug treatment program. 90-day drug rehab treatment will allow time for withdrawal and detoxification to be followed by counseling and other therapies. Just as importantly, the addict will spend three months in a safe place, away from the environment associated with his or her chronic drug use.

If 90-day drug rehab treatment is such an effective choice, you may wonder why it isn’t the standard treatment. The reason is that insurance companies have had more to do with determining length of drug addiction treatment than addiction specialists and researchers. Although evidence shows that spending more time in treatment increases an individual’s chance of long-term recovery from drug addiction, health care coverage often pays for less than one month. Consequently, the standard length of stay in a drug rehab center is probably considerably less than most individuals need in order to make a successful recovery from drug or alcohol addiction.

While short stays in drug rehab are enough for some people, certain individuals will see a much greater benefit from 90-day drug rehab treatment. Those with the most to gain from a treatment program that lasts three months or longer include users of intravenous drugs, long-term drug addicts, those who have a history of treatment and relapse, and people with a very severe drug or alcohol problem. It’s important to take these factors into consideration when choosing a drug rehab program in order to settle on the most appropriate treatment option. Although month-long programs are more common, 90-day drug rehab treatment may offer many addicts the best chance for a successful long-term recovery.

by josie

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