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Drug Rehab: How Long Does it Take?

Time is our most precious asset, and addicts seeking drug rehab need to know how long it will take to get back on their feet. Unfortunately, drug rehab programs vary in length according to the severity of the addiction, as well as a person’s particular life circumstances. While people who use less-addictive substances may require only month-long treatments, addicts with severe physical and psychological dependencies may need nearly a year of combined therapies. Different addicts will also require varying levels of continued recovery efforts after clinical treatment. Here is some in-depth information on the length of some of the most effective drug rehab programs.


People who abuse narcotics, opiates, and other highly-addictive drugs almost always have to detoxify before they can begin their longer-term therapies. Detox is a simple process of drug deprivation that weans people of their physical dependencies on drugs and allows them to productively engage their treatments. It typically takes five to fourteen days, during which addicts can expect to receive specialized counseling and occasional medications to help deal with their withdrawal symptoms.

Inpatient Treatment

Residential inpatient treatment is the most common drug rehab program for people seeking treatment for the first time. Programs typically last thirty, sixty, or ninety days, and patients are required to live full-time at their treatment facilities as they receive fifty or more hours of therapy per week. While people who abuse marijuana or other psychedelic drugs may achieve great results with shorter inpatient stays, the three-month plan is typically required for heroin, meth, or cocaine addicts to make lasting changes.

Partial Hospitalization Programs

Some people who complete inpatient treatment need additional therapy to help them gradually transition back into society. Partial hospitalization programs allow patients to attend therapies during the daytime, but they are free to return home at night under the supervision of clinic staff. These treatment plans also tend to last one, two, or three months. However, that time is an addition to the length of initial inpatient treatment. Altogether, some addicts may spend six months in clinical rehabilitation before they become fully independent again.

Outpatient Treatment

Addicts who relapse for short periods of time can often get back on track with less-involved rehabilitation programs. Working professionals with milder addictions also require treatment plans that leave them plenty of time to pursue their careers. In either case, outpatient rehab is an ideal choice. These programs still last thirty to ninety days, but they only require a few hours of clinical attendance per day.

Continued Therapy

Even after completing months of clinical rehab, many addicts will seek extra therapy and support to help fight their continued cravings. Some clinics will offer additional counseling for months after initial treatment. Addicts may also attend community groups for years or even decades after getting clean. The accountability these groups provide often means the difference between maintaining recovery and suffering relapse.

Special Situations

There are cases in which clinical rehab programs last much longer than three months. For people who suffer several relapses within a year or less, twelve-month outpatient programs are sometimes required. Also, some addicts receive methadone maintenance treatment – a therapy designed to gradually wean people off of heroin through substitution of a less-dangerous opiate. These treatments can also take up to a year, and they are crucial for some heroin addicts’ long-term recoveries.

A Lifetime of Effort

No matter how long clinical therapies last, recovery is a lifelong effort. Some people may have to work harder than others to maintain sobriety, but addiction never really goes away. Cravings can always occur, and addicts must be ready to face new challenges throughout the rests of their lives.

If you or a loved one is struggling with a drug problem, you need to take action before it’s too late. Call the number at the top of your screen for a no-obligation consultation with one of our dedicated addiction specialists. We can help you get your life back on track starting right now. Don’t wait a moment longer – call us now.

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