What is Long-term Rehab?

long-term drug rehab

Written By: Geraldine Orentas

Geraldine is Lighthouse Recovery Institute’s Digital Marketing Manager. She has a Bachelor’s in Journalism and experience in the digital media industry. Geraldine’s writing allows her to share valuable information about mental health, wellness, and drug addiction facts, hoping to shed light on the importance of therapy and ending the stigma.
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Geraldine. "What is Long-term Rehab?." Lighthouse Recovery Institute., Last updated Oct 22, 2020 at 12:08PM | Published on Oct 22, 2020, https://lighthouserecoveryinstitute.com/what-is-long-term-rehab/.

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Last updated Oct 22, 2020 at 12:08PM | Published on Oct 22, 2020 | Rehab Programs

There’s a lot of controversy around what’s the best length for rehab. With so many options, including intensive outpatient programs (IOP), partial hospitalization programs, and your classic 30-day residential treatment program, it can get confusing. However, research says that long-term rehab programs are more effective than short-term residential rehab plans. But, what exactly is a long-term rehab program? 

What is Long-term Drug Rehab?

Long-term residential treatment takes anywhere between four to six months, also known as 120- or 180-day rehab programs. Throughout the entire length of treatment, patients stay in a treatment facility with access to 24-hour care. Although, some treatment facilities offer even more extended treatment programs that, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, can last up to one year. 

What to Expect

Consider long-term drug rehab programs the whole recovery experience. As we all know, addiction recovery is a long-term process. These programs usually start with the detoxification process, which can take anywhere between three days to 10 days or longer, depending on the substances being abused and the severity of withdrawal symptoms. 

After detox, patients move to the residential program that will follow a specific treatment model. Part of this program will incorporate therapeutic techniques with proven evidence to help address addiction, including:

Most of the time, a therapeutic community (TC) model is in place. This program focuses on creating a complete lifestyle change that promotes a substance-free lifestyle after leaving treatment. Here, patients receive individual and group therapy, attend group support meetings, and more. Beyond substance abuse treatment, they incorporate job training, independent living skills, relapse prevention programs, and more. 

Who Should Try Long-term Rehab?

It can be challenging to determine who should try long-term rehab, as most people could benefit from it. However, overall, long-term rehab is an excellent choice for anyone who’s struggled with substance use disorder for long periods of time and has been unsuccessful at maintaining sobriety. 

In addition, those suffering from a dual diagnosis, such as drug addiction and a mental health disorder. This way, patients can have enough time to simultaneously attend both conditions, improving sobriety rates after leaving treatment.

Keep in mind that a long-term program also provides a less hectic treatment plan. The road to addiction recovery is a long and bumpy one, filled with ups and downs. The biggest problem with short-term programs is that people don’t have enough time to assimilate what’s happening and genuinely work towards changing their behaviors and habits. 

Other Treatment Options

Of course, this isn’t to say that other programs are inefficient. They might still work for some individuals. However, when it comes to intensive outpatient programs, multiple studies have documented higher rates of abstinence days and reduced problem severity in longer-term inpatient stays over IOPs. Those short-term 28- or 30-day programs don’t even come close to NIDA’s 90-day recommendation for the length of stay.

Research About Long-term Treatment

Because long-term rehab programs allow for a unique structure, researchers can keep track of these programs’ success rates and how they differ from other modalities. Here are some quick statements:

  • According to NIDA, any program’s optimal treatment duration should be at least 90-days (3 months). They believe that any program shorter than that lacks efficacy and thus won’t address the core elements of addiction. 
  • For the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), long-term residential treatment is a must for opioid addiction as they’ve noticed a higher relapse rate in shorter treatment lengths. They also suggest a tiered step-down program may lead to a better outcome than short-term rehabilitation. 
  • NIDA also says that out of patients completing a long-term rehab program, about 31% continued to stay sober after leaving treatment. 

Most of all, these rehab centers are significant. The NIDA-sponsored Drug Abuse Treatment Outcome Studies (DATOS) tracked therapeutic community users five years after completing six months or more treatment. The study showed that cocaine use decreased by 83%, alcohol abuse decreased by 90%, and suicidal thoughts or attempts decreased by 96%. Full-time work had increased by 46%.

Drawbacks of Long-term Rehab Programs

Of course, long-term rehab programs have many limitations. Not everyone can allow themselves to check out of life for a year, even when their lives depend on it. At first, many treatment programs don’t allow for visitors, meaning patients are strained from their family members, friends, and loved ones for quite some time. 

Another drawback to many is the cost of these programs. The National Comorbidity Survey-Replication, a nationally representative survey of more than 9,000 people in the United States, asked why people with mental health and substance abuse disorders did not seek treatment. About 15% of the respondents cited financial barriers as the reason they didn’t seek treatment. 

Fortunately, under the Affordable Care Act, substance abuse treatment must be covered under ACA insurance plans. ACA plans also can’t disqualify you from having a pre-existing substance use disorder or putting any kind of spending cap on addiction treatment. However, some people might not know about the many payment options most rehab facilities offer. The overall cost of treatment is one of the common barriers to getting addiction treatment. 

Will Insurance Cover It?

It might. Many private insurance policies will cover some or the entire length of the program. However, because insurance policies vary so much, it’s virtually impossible to answer this question without verifying your insurance policy. We recommend that you contact our admissions office or try our insurance verification form to learn more about what portion of treatment can be covered through your policy. 

But, don’t feel discouraged if your insurance doesn’t cover the entire long-term program. You need to ask about the different payment options available for rehab. At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, our goal is to help you find the ways to get the help you need to win the batt;e against addiction. 

Finding Long-term Rehab Options Near You

It’s essential to speak with an addiction specialist who can guide you through the different options available. Addiction is a complex and unique disease, and no two addiction cases are the same. One of the principles of effective treatment states that no single treatment is appropriate for everyone. Matching treatment settings, interventions, and services to an individual’s particular problems and needs is critical to their success. 

At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, our intensive outpatient programs are top-rated among those seeking drug addiction treatment. However, we don’t believe in cookie-cutter treatment plans for our patients. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, contact us today to learn about our different treatment programs.

After a therapist evaluation, our clinic therapists recommend the best treatment plan that might incorporate a drug and alcohol rehab, partial hospitalization, inpatient treatment, follow up with an outpatient program, and even suggest aftercare recovery solutions. We believe in doing whatever it takes to help you and your loved ones move past addiction and enjoy a full, healthy, and inspiring life. 

Stop waiting for the right moment and reach out today to learn more about our insurance policies, treatment plans, and more. 

Written By: Geraldine Orentas

Geraldine is Lighthouse Recovery Institute’s Digital Marketing Manager. She has a Bachelor’s in Journalism and experience in the digital media industry. Geraldine’s writing allows her to share valuable information about mental health, wellness, and drug addiction facts, hoping to shed light on the importance of therapy and ending the stigma.

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