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The Benefits of Long Term Residential Treatment

one day at a time

one day at a time

There are many benefits for long term residential treatment when considering recovery options. Many people struggling with addiction are often faced with options for getting addiction treatment including one-on-one counseling, medically assisted treatment, outpatient or intensive outpatient, and inpatient addiction treatment or residential rehab.  While each individual is unique and the various options for addiction treatment all have merit, the statistics show that longer-term addiction treatment has much better results.

For several years data has shown that people who attend longer-term residential treatment have much more success at recovery.  As an example, a 1999 study published by the Archives of General Psychiatry found the following:

  • 35% of people in residential treatment for 90 days or less reported relapsing within the following year

As opposed to:

  • Only 17% of people in residential treatment for 90 days or more reported relapsing

When people think of drug or alcohol rehab, they typically envision the 28-day model of residential treatment.  For the last several years, however, longer-term stays of 60 or 90 days have become more typical for those who truly seek to change their lives.  The reasons for this are many, but the major reasons 28-days drug or alcohol rehab programs aren’t as effective include the following:

  • The first week in a residential treatment program is usually dedicated to drug or alcohol detoxification where the mental state of the individual is not suitable for learning about recovery, understanding the science of addiction, investigating the causes of their addiction, or dealing with emotional trauma.
  • Conversely, the last week in residential treatment is usually dedicated to finding housing, dealing with administrative or legal issues, discussing boundaries with loved ones, and other topics not focused on how one is going to maintain long term sobriety.

Considering these factors, a 28-day residential treatment program for drug and/or alcohol abuse only allows for about 2 weeks where real work can be done by the individual to overcome their addiction or substance use disorder.  Considering this clearly a 28-day residential treatment program isn’t sufficient to allow for a high probability of success for the individual’s sobriety when leaving the residential treatment program.

Success Factors and Benefits of Drug Rehab Residential Treatment

Other factors to consider that can impact an individual’s chances of success in their recovery include the fact that longer stays in a residential treatment program mean that the person will experience a drug and alcohol-free environment for a longer period of time.  This can be a major change to someone’s life and experiencing it for a longer time will enable them to develop a level of comfort and confidence.

The Number of Key Benefits to Longer-Term Care Include the following:

  • Experiencing a drug and alcohol-free environment for more than a couple weeks
  • Time to heal the body and mind
  • Time for the cycle of relapse and dependence to be broken
  • Support and supervision
  • Having a daily purpose
  • Getting to know others who are experiencing the same struggles and develop bonds
  • Family treatment and education programs
  • Treatment of co-occurring disorders with mental, social, and physical health professionals
  • Development of outside relationships in the recovery community

Certainly, longer-term residential treatment will cost more for most people.  Especially for those individuals who don’t have substance use disorder coverage in the insurance policy.  Addiction is a life and death issue, however, so it is better to be a statistic for success than another person who failed to get proper treatment and died from addiction.  The Centers for Disease Control estimates that from 1999 to 2017 over 700, 000 people died from drug overdoses of one kind or another.  During this same time, an unknown number of those struggling with addiction regained their lives after seeking some form of substance abuse treatment.

What to Expect In Long-Term Residential Treatment

During long term residential treatment, an individual will have the chance to learn the skills and build the relationships that will enable them to be successful in their recovery.  In long term residential treatment individuals will learn and experience the following:

  • Life skills that will enable them to return to being a productive member of society
  • Building healthy relationships with others who are new to recovery and who have been in recovery for an extended period
  • Working on relationships with family members and friends
  • Facing underlying issues that are at the base of someone’s need to numb out with substances
  • Develop coping skills and relapse prevention strategies that will enable the individual to overcome obstacles to their recovery

Ultimately each individual has their own unique circumstances that will shape what type of substance use disorder treatment suits them best.  There may be financial constraints, time constraints, work or family obligations, and even geographic factors impacting someone’s ability to seek long term residential care.  As the data shows, long term residential care provides the individual with a greater chance of success at getting their life back free of addiction to drugs or alcohol. Be a statistic for success by seeking the longest term of addiction treatment your situation will allow for.