As a result of numerous outcome studies conducted in the past decade, there is a growing consensus that for those who can manage it, long-term addiction treatment is the most effective option. We frequently meet the addict who bounces from 30-day rehab to 30-day rehab, only to hold onto their sobriety after staying in treatment for many months.
Thirty days of residential treatment used to be the generally accepted standard in treatment. Why 30? Not because research showed its effectiveness, but because that was the average length of stay covered by insurance. Now, the National Institute of Drug Abuse has declared 90 days of treatment the “gold standard.”
This is because research shows that people completing at least 90 days of treatment have significantly lower relapse rates than those who stay for shorter amounts of time.
Why Longer Is Better
It’s difficult for people to commit to 30 days away from their families and jobs, not to mention 90-plus days, but addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease that takes time and ongoing effort to address. Longer treatment stays offer the following benefits:
• Detox Doesn’t Dominate. Depending on the individual and their drug history, detox may take up a significant portion of a 30-day drug rehab program. And while detox is a critical part of the process, it is not in itself treatment. With a longer treatment stay, clients still have several weeks or more following detox to engage in the deeper work of recovery.