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How Long is Inpatient Rehab?

Medically Verified: 2/1/24

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

According to the National Institute of Health, 4% of American citizens met the criteria for a substance use disorder in the past year and 10% had a lifetime prevalence of addiction.[1] With that being said, it is clear to see that there is a huge need for quality addiction treatment in the United States.

One of the best forms of treatment for addiction or alcoholism is known as inpatient rehab. This type of treatment offers individuals an opportunity to disconnect from the people, places, and things related to their addiction while they recover. However, many people avoid this form of treatment because they are worried about the amount of time they have to commit to recovering.

While some inpatient programs can last upwards of 6 months, this is on a case-by-case basis. In other words, there is no set length of time that inpatient rehab lasts. Most of these programs last anywhere between 30 to 90 days.

What Is Inpatient Rehab?

Inpatient rehab requires patients to reside at the facility while they receive treatment for their substance use disorders. This prevents them from being distracted or facing triggers too early on in their recovery.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse discusses the modalities that make these programs effective, “Licensed residential treatment facilities offer 24-hour structured and intensive care, including safe housing and medical attention.”[2]

Inpatient or residential treatment emphasizes the overall goal of helping clients learn how to live a drug- and crime-free lifestyle. Let’s take a look at how these programs help patients achieve this goal.

Medical Detox

First, patients must overcome their withdrawal symptoms. The symptoms of withdrawal can be uncomfortable, painful, and in some cases, life-threatening. Because of this, inpatient programs offer their clients FDA-approved medications to help soothe the symptoms of withdrawal, prevent severe ones from occurring, and limit their substance cravings.

Behavioral Therapy

Residential rehab programs use evidence-based behavioral therapies to teach patients how to cope with real-life situations and prevent triggers from causing them to relapse.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, behavioral therapies help patients:[2]

  • modify their attitudes and behaviors related to drug use
  • increase healthy life skills
  • persist with other forms of treatment, such as medication

One of the most commonly used forms of behavioral therapy for addiction is known as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). This type of therapy helps patients learn to identify negative patterns of thought and replace them with positive ones to avoid negative behavioral patterns (like abusing substances) from occurring. Other forms of therapy may address past traumas, co-occurring mental health conditions, or other types of positive behavioral changes.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Co-occurring disorders are extremely common among individuals with substance use disorders.

Some of the most common mental health conditions to occur with addiction include:

  • Depressive disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Personality disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia

When someone has a co-occurring disorder, it must be treated at the same time as their addiction. This prevents the untreated symptoms of a mental health condition from causing an unnecessary relapse in the future. Inpatient treatment programs provide clients with enough time to address their issues with addiction and any mental health conditions they may have.

Relapse Prevention Planning

Lastly, inpatient treatment programs want to set their patients up for lifelong success in recovery and sobriety. This means teaching them how to use the skills they learned outside of the treatment facility and in their everyday lives. This is done through a process known as relapse prevention planning.

Some of the aspects included in relapse prevention plans include:

  • Continued medication management for co-occurring disorders and MAT
  • A list of triggers and healthy coping mechanisms to use in hard times
  • Sober supports to call during a triggering event
  • Continued attendance to therapy or alumni support groups
  • References for recovery self-help groups like AA or NA
  • References to sober living programs or halfway homes

Length of an Inpatient Program

The length of inpatient rehab depends on the person’s needs. Everyone is different, which means they will require varying amounts of time to gain the tools they need to be successful in recovery.

Upon arriving at a facility, patients will be assessed to determine a treatment plan. This treatment plan will include how long the client should stay at the facility to receive the treatment they need.

Factors that play a role in how long someone will attend an inpatient rehab include:

  • If they need medical detox
  • How severe their substance use disorder is (mild, moderate, severe)
  • If they have co-occurring mental health conditions
  • Whether they have relapsed in the past
  • Their overall physical and mental health
  • How dedicated they are to recovering

People who have mild issues with addiction and no co-occurring disorders may only need 30 days in an inpatient program. Other clients who suffer from severe addictions and co-occurring disorders might need 90 days or more to recover successfully. In general, most people benefit from 90 days or more engaging in some form of treatment.[3]

Get Connected With a Top-Rated Inpatient Rehab

Addiction and alcoholism are never easy conditions to endure. The consequences these diseases can cause can be devastating and life-changing. Because of this, attending professional treatment sooner rather than later is of the utmost importance.

Contact Carolina Recovery Center today for more information on our inpatient treatment program.