longer treatment programs
often bring better outcomes
The route to addiction recovery is never one-size-fits-all. It’s impacted by a number of factors, including which substances someone has used, how much they’ve used and for how long, their support systems (or lack thereof), underlying mental health disorders, a history of trauma, and even insurance coverage. Fortunately, these days we now recognize that recovery is less about the destination and more about how well we equip ourselves for the journey.
how to be successful in addiction recovery
Specific statistics on recovery success rates can be difficult to define, in part because the idea of “success” itself is somewhat nebulous. Years ago, most would define success as absolute abstinence. Today, however, we better understand that those in recovery are on a lifelong journey. Relapses might occur, but they shouldn’t preclude feelings of accomplishment among those who are striving for personal improvement. Modern definitions of success can also mean going a certain amount of time without using the substance(s), as well as being able to walk away from situations that would have previously led to drug or alcohol use.
Regardless of how you define sobriety success, studies by the National Institute of Drug Abuse show that extended addiction treatment generally results in better outcomes and longer-lasting sobriety. The first seven to 10 days are typically spent in an inpatient facility for medical detox, where healthcare professionals can monitor vital signs, provide medications to help ease withdrawal symptoms, and help facilitate emotional stability as well during the transition.
a range of treatment options
30-day substance recovery programs
Treatment programs are customized depending on each individual’s unique needs, but typically, after the detox process, the next step along the recovery journey is often to a residential treatment program for at least 28 to 30 days. Recommended treatment durations are based on input from the referring physician, the doctors’ ability to communicate the need for extended treatment to the insurance company (if applicable), and formal treatment guidelines the insurance provider adheres to, as well as the highly variable needs of the individual in treatment (e.g., Is he recovering from trauma? Does she also need support for underlying mental health struggles?). During this period, residents undergo an intake evaluation, get a treatment plan, and then focus on managing the substance withdrawal, participating in individual and/or group therapy, and putting in place an aftercare plan.
60-day substance recovery programs
Sixty-day stays at a residential treatment center (RTC) provide many of the same features as the month-long programs but offer more time to dig a little deeper into each activity. Two months gives the recovery professionals longer to manage complex issues, offer insight into past struggles with addiction, putting more of the focus on establishing healthier coping skills, and create a plan for what comes after the treatment center.
90-day substance recovery programs
With a 90-day/three-month stay, individuals often receive more detailed treatment plans with more extensive goals, and addiction professionals are better able to address complicated withdrawal issues when compared to shorter treatment durations. Like the 60-day programs, these 90-day extended stays allow clients to spend more time focusing on recovery, get a better perspective on past addictive behaviors, practice new communication and coping skills for longer, build a stronger support network, and prepare for the future outside of the treatment environment.
The National Institute of Drug Abuse recommends the 90-day treatment program, especially for those who have comorbid disorders (often referred to as “dual diagnosis”), medical issues, or those who have previously relapsed. Extended RTC stays often result in better outcomes: lasting recovery success, a reduced chance of a return to illegal activities, and higher employment rates among those who’ve completed the program. In essence, any addiction recovery program is better than none, but to improve your chances of achieving sobriety with staying power, the longer treatment programs are the gold standard according to addiction recovery experts.