How Long Does Drug Rehab Last?

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on

Before finding a drug rehab program, many people want to know how long they can expect treatment to last. How long an addiction treatment program will last depends on a variety of factors, including the severity of the addiction, the person’s motivation to recover, and more.

How Long Does Drug Rehab Last?

People who are looking for drug and alcohol treatment will want to know how long a treatment program lasts, so they can begin to make plans for their job or other aspects of their life.

Just as addiction treatment programs can vary by type, they can also vary by length. Depending on the level of care you need, addiction treatment could last for a few weeks up to a year or longer.

How Long Does Drug Rehab Last?

Drug rehab programs generally run from a few weeks to a few months. Long-term residential programs and some outpatient care options may last up to a year or longer.

One of the main factors that determines how long treatment will last is the severity of the person’s addiction. More severe addictions often require longer, more intensive levels of care.

Once a treatment program is completed, aftercare services such as 12-step meetings may be required for several years or at least periodically to maintain sobriety.

Inpatient Vs. Outpatient Levels Of Care

Treatment for a substance use disorder (SUD) is usually found at two main levels of care: inpatient treatment and outpatient treatment.

With inpatient programs, which often take place in hospital settings, clients are required to live onsite. People receiving outpatient care can remain living at home.

Residential programs are a lengthier form of inpatient treatment that often doesn’t include medical services.

Length Of Inpatient Treatment Programs

Inpatient treatment programs can sometimes be shorter in duration than outpatient programs, but they offer more intensive care, with clients living onsite.

How Long Does An Inpatient Detox Program Last?

Detoxification is the process by which the body rids itself of substances. The process, and services to assist with the process, may take as little as three to five days. Other times, a week to 10 days is required.

How long a detox program will last depends mostly on how severe your SUD is. The more severe it is, the more time it may take for your body to adjust to being without drugs or alcohol.

How Long Does Inpatient Treatment Last?

Inpatient treatment is usually considered short-term and often focuses on client stabilization beyond detox. This type of program lasts around 30 days.

Most short-term inpatient programs include the preparation of a treatment plan for the next step in a person’s recovery, but sometimes clients go home afterward.

How Long Does Residential Treatment Last?

Residential treatment is a form of live-in substance abuse treatment that generally lasts longer than a clinical inpatient program.

Residential treatment may last for the following lengths:

  • 60 days
  • 90 days
  • 120 days
  • six months
  • a year
  • longer than a year

Residential treatment is often the best option for people who have a severe SUD or who need dual diagnosis treatment.

The longer length of time in treatment helps clients strengthen healthy coping skills and, in the case of dual diagnosis treatment, adjust to managing multiple mental health disorders.

For many people, long-term residential treatment is followed by an aftercare program, but sometimes clients are transferred to an outpatient level of care.

Length Of Outpatient Levels Of Care

Although some outpatient programs may last a long time, they don’t require living onsite, so you will be spending much less time in treatment than you would in an inpatient program.

How Long Does A Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) Last?

PHPs, or day treatment programs, require spending most of the day in treatment. PHPs may last as little as 30 days or as long as a year.

In a PHP, you focus on behavioral therapy in both group and individual settings. You may also take part in 12-step or other peer recovery support groups.

How Long Does An Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) Last?

An IOP is a “step down” from partial hospitalization treatment, requiring about two to five hours a day in treatment sessions. An IOP will generally last between two and three months.

An IOP may be an important intermediary step toward a standard outpatient program and then aftercare, or it may function as a stand-alone program.

How Long Does Standard Outpatient Treatment Last?

Standard outpatient programs usually require one or two group sessions a week and may also involve individual therapy and addiction education. These programs can last for a year or longer.

Standard outpatient treatment often functions as a transition period to aftercare. However, some opioid treatment programs occur only at the outpatient level of care.

How Long Does Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Last?

MAT programs are available at both the inpatient and outpatient levels and use FDA-approved medications combined with therapy to treat opioid use disorder (OUD) and alcohol use disorder (AUD).

Many programs are designed to last one to three months, while people with more severe SUDs may require longer MAT programs of up to a year or more, which are sometimes called maintenance programs.

How Long Does Aftercare Last?

Depending on your needs, aftercare can last indefinitely. Aftercare is often described as the treatment plan or safety net that goes with you when your rehab program is done.

Aftercare, or continuing care, represents resources you can rely on if you feel like you are in danger of a relapse. This may include an alumni program, a 12-step group, ongoing therapy, and more.

Having lifetime aftercare support means that support is there for you if you need it.

Find Substance Abuse Treatment Today

If you are looking for substance abuse treatment for yourself or a loved one, you can find it today. Call us to learn more about your treatment options, the recovery process, and how to get started.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on
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