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How Long Does Addiction Treatment Last?

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When you’re struggling with alcohol or drug abuse, addiction treatment is the first step to getting back on track for a healthy, sober life. If you are considering addiction treatment, it’s natural to wonder how long this treatment will last.

Like anything in life, the unknown can be scary. Knowing what to expect and how long you’ll need to be in treatment can help you feel more confident and comfortable with your decision to enter an inpatient treatment program. Inpatient treatment lengths can vary between 30 days, 60 days, 90 days or even longer.

Individuals progress through addiction treatment at different rates, so there’s no predetermined length of treatment. But research shows that the longer the treatment program, the better the outcome. In general, 90 days is the recommended minimum length for an inpatient treatment program, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

What Factors Influence Treatment Program Length?

There’s no set period for treating substance abuse, because many different factors affect the length of time that you may need to receive treatment. The following different factors may play a role in determining which treatment program is right for you and how long you’ll need to remain in the program:

Dual diagnosis. If you have been diagnosed with a co-occurring mental health condition, such as depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder, then longer treatment programs that include dual diagnosis care may be a better fit for your recovery needs. Dual diagnosis programs include treatment that simultaneously addresses substance abuse as well as your mental health condition. This integrated approach to care leads to better outcomes than programs that solely address addiction, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

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Female Nurse Offering Counselling To Depressed WomanType of addiction. The length of time you need to be in treatment may vary depending on the substances you have been using. If you have been using opioid drugs, such as prescription painkillers or heroin, you may benefit from a methadone maintenance program, which helps manage your body’s cravings for opioid drugs. Twelve months is considered to be the minimum length for a methadone maintenance program, although some individuals may continue to receive outpatient treatment for many years, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Need for ongoing recovery. Inpatient treatment programs offer comprehensive ongoing recovery options that go beyond counseling and 12-step programs. These recovery options may include exercise therapy, meditation, yoga, equine therapy, or other types of therapy depending on the program. You may benefit from an extended stay in a supportive recovery environment that offers these programs.

The Longer the Program, the Better the Outcome

It’s a simple, yet logical principle: good outcomes are contingent on adequate treatment length. Think of addiction treatment as an opportunity to learn an entirely new set of behaviors and way of thinking about your world. Most treatment programs include an initial drug or alcohol detox phase followed by group therapy and behavioral counseling. Once you’ve progressed through the initial detox phase, you’ll begin learning coping mechanisms for resisting drug cravings and life skills. These mechanisms will help you lead a healthy, productive sober life.

You may not achieve a perfect, lifelong recovery after one stay in a rehabilitation program. However, selecting the right program that offers you the support and treatment you need for long-term sobriety is an important first step. A longer stay in addiction treatment builds a stronger foundation for recovery and sobriety.

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Contact Destination Hope today to learn more about our treatment programs and the therapies that we use to help our clients reach sustainable sobriety.


  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse. “How Long Does Addiction Treatment Usually Last?” National Institute for Health (NIH). Dec 2012

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