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The Reality of 30-Day Residential Treatment Programs

by | Last updated Sep 21, 2020 at 3:26PM | Published on May 23, 2020 | Rehab Programs

30-Day Residential Treatments

For years, 30-day residential treatment programs have been the norm for drug and alcohol addiction. However, the reality is that these short-term programs might not be enough to help someone move away from addiction. Let’s explore the ins and outs of 30-day residential treatment programs and whether or not they’re the best option. 

 What is a 30-Day Residential Program?

Usually, these short-term inpatient programs incorporate individual and group therapy sessions, participation in 12-step meetings, and other support group meetings. Most 30-day programs require that patients reside at the rehab facility for the entire length of the program, and some of them don’t allow visitors at that time. 

Many people believe our friends invented the 30-day model for treatment at the insurance companies, but this is not true. In 1970, the first addiction treatment center for the United States Air Force was established. Back then, men and women who were removed from duty for 30 days or less did not have to be reassigned. This allowed the fighting and flying men and women of the armed forces to receive inpatient treatment for chemical dependency and then return to their units. 

After seeing success under this model, other treatment centers started to follow suit, and soon the insurance companies made the 28 to 30-day model the industry standard. 

What Research Says

The National Institute on Drug Abuse published a report in 1999 that stated that anyone attending inpatient substance abuse therapy for under 90 days has a far greater chance of relapse. The study also reports that 90 days is not the gold standard, and staying in rehab for 90 does not guarantee recovery by any means.

Other studies suggest a similar trend. The study found that 17 percent of clients used drugs in the year following a rehab stay of 90 days or longer. Conversely, 35 percent of people who stayed in rehab 90 days or fewer relapsed in the year after their visit.

Treatment Centers Now Offer a Variety of Program Lengths

Today, more than 46 years after 30-day residential treatment became the unproven duration for recovery; many substance abuse providers have begun to offer much longer programs for inpatient therapy. 

The success rate is also based on the length of stay. The fact that the addicts and alcoholics are weaned back into society over an extended period, limiting the shock of being thrust back into the world too soon. The reintegration under supervision used by these facilities is a significant factor in patients achieve long-term sobriety.

Average Lenght of Rehab

Rehab is a very personal experience. The length of rehab depends on factors such as the severity of the addiction, how quickly someone makes progress, and other factors. For those with severe drug or alcohol dependencies, as well as those with co-occurring mental illness, treatment may be longer. 

Most people will start their recovery journey through medical detox, move into a residential or inpatient treatment until they complete an outpatient setting. Here’s an overview of how long each portion of rehab might take:

  • Detox: Anywhere between 3 days to 8 eights depending on the type of substance being abused. 
  • Partial Hospitalization Treatment: When people need hospitalization services, they can potentially add at least 16 days to their treatment length. 
  • Residential Treatment: Anywhere between 27 days to 130 days, depending on the type of program and severity of the addiction. 
  • Outpatient Treatment: Anywhere between 130 to 207 days, depending on the severity of the addiction and the type of program. 
  • Sober Living: These aftercare programs can be for anywhere between 1 to 4 years and sometimes more. 

The length of rehab varies tremendously. In most cases, it’s always more than thirty days in total. Even if you manage to leave a residential program after one month, the odds of relapse are higher.

Focusing on Aftercare

In reality, there isn’t a magic number that determines how long someone should take in a residential treatment program for addiction. Inpatient treatment can only be successful if followed by a rigorous and enthusiastic aftercare program. This is nothing new; this is the way it has always been.

Usually, once someone completes residential rehab, they’ll move into an outpatient rehab program. Intensive outpatient programs provide the opportunity to receive treatment for chemical dependency without having to leave work, school, or other responsibilities, thus affording then the ability to slowly enter back into their lives under the care of treatment professionals. This step-down form of treatment is the second phase in the journey to long-term recovery.

Living in sobriety isn’t always easy, but when you have support, suggestions, positive reinforcement, and a great environment to receive each of these, it does get better, and you can recover.

Aftercare recovery programs and meetings play a critical role in sobriety. They can even be an excellent way for them to get back into recovery if they have relapsed. Choosing a recovery addiction rehab facility that offers alumni meetings to help them stay connected and promote recovery support is critical.

Are 90 Meetings in 90 Days Effective?

Those in early recovery are a bit too familiar with the 90-in-90 setup from some 12-step support group. This means attending ninety 12-step group meetings in 90 days. Here they take all of the information they have been learning throughout the treatment process and apply it to their life and their meetings. 

The 12-step model has proven to be successful since the 1940s. It is highly recommended as the primary source of permanent recovery by all successful and trusted chemical dependency treatment providers. In programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), recovering addicts find a sense of community and support. These programs help them embark on a path of recovery that they can retain for a lifetime.

However, these are only suggestions, and they might not work for everyone in addiction recovery. 

Getting Help Today

At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, we believe that each recovery case is unique and deserves a personalized treatment plan. Upon your arrival, our team of addiction specialists will create an individual treatment plan that meets your needs. But most importantly, we’ll be open to adjusting this plan as you progress through your recovery journey. We don’t offer 30-day residential treatment options. Instead, we let patients stay as long as they need to improve their condition.

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, contact us today to learn more about our comprehensive treatment options. Recovery from addiction is possible, and our team is here to support you every step of the way.

Lighthouse Editorial Team

Lighthouse Editorial Team

Our editorial team includes content experts that contribute to Lighthouse Recovery Institute’s blog. Editors and medical experts review our blogs for accuracy and relevance. We consistently monitor the latest research from SAMHSA and NIDA to provide you with the most comprehensive addiction-related content.
Medical Disclaimer:

Lighthouse Recovery Institute aims to improve the quality of life for anyone struggling with substance use or mental health disorder. We provide fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options, and their outcomes. The material we publish is researched, cited, edited, and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide in our posts is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It should never be used in place of the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider.

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