Long-Term Drug Rehab – Focused, Professional, Evidence-Based

Long Term Recovery treatment

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Addicts benefit greatly from focused, professional and evidence-based treatment. Long-term rehab programs that take 120 days to 180 days (4 to 6 months) or longer can help heal chronic drug or alcohol addiction by offering intensive and structured forms of treatment and making it easier for the recovering addict to sustain abstinence. This article will shed light on details and discuss the benefits of these programs.

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Table of Contents

Why Long-Term Treatment?

Statistics of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration show that over 22 million Americans required drug or alcohol addiction treatment in 2013. Just 2.5 million of them received access to treatment at a rehabilitation center that year. Some individuals benefit from long-term residential treatment programs or inpatient treatment centers to set and maintain a steady path to recovery. Treatment professionals at long-term addiction treatment centers will take the history and severity of the addiction, the type of substance or substances, any comorbid condition (a medical, psychological, physical, or behavioral health problem occurring at the same time) and the recovering addict’s physical, social, mental, cultural, emotional, and spiritual needs into account to determine the appropriate length of treatment.

Benefits of Long-Term Rehab Facilities

Alcohol and drug addiction is a disease that affects a person’s physical and mental health in countless ways. A single, specific addiction treatment approach cannot be applied to recovering addicts indiscriminately because of the different effects substance abuse has on people. At times, it is advisable to seek treatment and care from an addiction rehab center that offers a long-term treatment program to improve the chances of continuous sobriety. Studies have found that people who spend up to one year in a drug rehab program have better outcomes in terms of being able to sustain sobriety. Long-term treatment centers, in particular long-term alcohol rehab, afford the opportunity to concentrate on the behaviors and causes underlying the addiction. Another benefit of long-term rehabilitation centers is that they offer more time to practice sober living behaviors.

Duration and Stages of Long-Term Drug Rehab

A long-term drug rehab treatment plan is often divided into various stages. Generally, these consist of medically-assisted detox, therapy, and post-care support. Long-term rehab centers offer different approaches to treatment; either outpatient or inpatient. Normally, outpatient rehab facilities provide relatively short-term drug rehabilitation treatment, while inpatient or residential rehab centers offer longer-term care and treatment. Long-term rehabs typically offer a few days of closely monitored detox, followed by 3 to 4 months of intensive drug or alcohol abuse therapy and aftercare planning.

This type of treatment works well for individuals with long-term or very heavy addictions, individuals struggling with a comorbid health disorder, and other patients with dual diagnoses. Long-term residential drug rehab centers also facilitate the recovery of adolescents addicted to drugs or alcohol.

Who Do Long-Term Rehabs Target?

Statistics show that highly structured long-term rehab programs can last up to a year. Long-term rehab is recommended for the following individuals:

  • Those facing recovery challenges in shorter-term rehab
  • Those experiencing multiple relapses
  • Persons facing challenges after completion of an inpatient treatment program
  • Persons with specific needs, such as mothers, pregnant women, and adolescents

While there may be no cure for addiction, choosing a long-term drug rehab can provide the possibility to manage it effectively. No matter how long it takes, drug and alcohol addiction recovery doesn’t end with completion of a rehab program. Substance addiction recovery is an ongoing, sometimes even a lifelong process. To manage it well, a former addict must learn how to go through each day without using. As this process involves very hard work and commitment, long-term drug treatment can prove invaluable.

Long-Term Addiction Treatment Approaches

The treatment at a long-term drug rehab starts with the detox process, during which the recovering addict stops abusing alcohol or drugs. He or she may undergo drug replacement therapy or gradual drug reduction and receive supervision depending on the substance that was abused. These long-term rehab treatments are applied to manage any potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms while the body adjusts to functioning without the substance it has become dependent on. This process may take up to a few days or weeks depending on the severity and substance used. In the case of long-term alcohol treatment, the period may be extended to one or more months. Preexisting mental and physical health conditions can also affect the term of the detox process.

Long-Term Rehab Starts, but Doesn’t End with Detox

Detox is only the first treatment step at a long-term rehabilitation center. Successful completion of detox cannot guarantee long-term recovery unless additional substance abuse treatment efforts are made. Chronic substance abusers should continue with a type of ongoing therapy as part of the long-term rehab process after detox. The patient may undergo one or more of the following long-term drug rehab techniques:

All of these approaches are aimed at modifying the patient’s attitude toward drug or alcohol use. They help individuals identify situations that put them at a risk of relapse, develop and apply relapse prevention strategies, and encourage positive behavior. Family therapy deals not only with the addicts and their families, but also their friends and community. Long-term drug rehab centers offer individual and group or family therapy sessions and try to help young people stay off drugs by working on reducing risky behavior and encouraging healthy behavior.

Long-Term Inpatient Drug Rehab

Long-term residential treatment centers focus on long-term rehab programs and recovery processes to help recovering addicts regain sobriety in the most natural and effective manner. The end goal of long-term drug rehabs is to reinstate recovering drug or alcohol addicts in their daily lives and help them to become productive citizens. By choosing long-term drug rehab, an addicted individual can regain responsibility, confidence, and self-respect. Long-term rehabs develop programs that emulate a real community to deliver these outcomes. Once the patient has completed the detox and rehab processes, he or she is given more freedom inside the rehab facility. Many long-term alcohol treatment centers and other long-term rehab programs for teens also offer community high schools. Older patients can get jobs inside the center to help in their ongoing recovery.

Long-Term Rehab Program Activities

Most long-term rehab patients do some kind of work, such as regular chores, to make the process of being reinstated in family and social life after completing rehab easier. Long-term drug rehab programs also include a variety of outdoor activities, such as outreach programs, nature outings, and out-of-town excursions. Recovering addicts can also take part in sports and skills training inside the rehab center. Exclusive long-term rehab centers provide luxury services, such as spa treatments, meditation sessions, private rooms, and preparation of special meals and nutritional consultation. Private long-term rehabs may offer anger management, gender-specific addiction treatment, hypnotherapy, animal-assisted therapy, art and music therapy, trauma workshops, and psychodrama therapy. Some long-term alcohol rehab centers offer long-term rehab programs in scenic areas, such as beachside facilities. Patients are introduced to Alcoholics Anonymous and other support groups during the rehab and recovery process. If they choose to, they can continue to attend one-on-one counseling, dialectical behavior therapy, or group therapy after completing the long-term rehab program.

Cost of Long-Term Alcohol and Drug Rehab

Long-term drug rehab programs can vary greatly in price. High-end programs tend to charge more because they offer special services and higher staff to patient ratios. Outpatient facilities cost less than inpatient treatment programs as the latter provide patients with lodging, meals, therapy, and activities. Outpatient treatment programs differ in their offerings, including highly structured, weekly group and individual counseling sessions, intensive programs, and free support group meetings. Other factors that can affect the cost of therapy include the amenities provided – gourmet food, massage, private rooms, yoga, animal-assisted therapy, acupuncture, etc. The duration of the program itself also matters. Anything over four months is considered long-term.

Before enrolling in the program, patients and counselors discuss the amount of time in treatment that is recommended for the best chances of long-term recovery.

Location and Type of Program

Facilities far away from the patient’s home or in luxurious surroundings often cost more than traditional treatment centers. Travel to the center can also be factored into the cost. Short-term, inpatient treatment costs from $150 to $950 per day. Patients in longer programs will usually pay less. Outpatient treatment costs from $100 to $500 per treatment session, and longer treatment programs cost less per session correspondingly. The costs of detox are a substantial portion of the overall cost – these can be as high as $1,200 per day depending on the type and extent of care needed, the length of time it takes to detox from the particular substance, and the severity of the addiction. These prices may seem daunting, but keep in mind that the cost an ongoing addiction will rack up may be higher.

Long-Term Drug Rehab: Risks

Not every program will accept all types of insurance. Most organizations take some form of insurance, but their policies will vary according to the particular facility. In some cases, the insurance plan may cover only part of the therapy, so it’s important to check the insurance plan before signing up for a drug therapy program. Another concern recovering addicts often have is that they might lose their job if they enroll in therapy. To what extent is this concern legitimate? This would depend on the employer’s policies. People may actually be more likely to lose their jobs if they don’t try to get help. When an employee is struggling with a substance abuse problem, their boss usually already suspects it. The struggle with addiction may eventually become obvious by avoiding therapy because substance abuse will lead work performance to deteriorate.

There are a few federal laws protecting the right to obtain treatment for an addiction, while using illegal substances on the job invariably constitutes legal grounds for termination. Under effective legislation, employers are not allowed to terminate labor contracts as a result of an employee seeking treatment.

The Right Long-Term Drug Rehab Facility

An insurance plan’s not covering the cost of therapy isn’t necessarily a deterrent – most treatment facilities are open to discussing other payment options. The facility may offer installment payments or financing plans to make therapy more affordable. That said, there is a wide variety of long-term therapy options, making it hard to choose the right one. These programs can specialize in various areas, targeting individuals who belong to specific age and social groups. Drug and alcohol addiction treatment can be highly effective, with longer periods in therapy frequently predicting long-term sobriety success. Finding the right long-term program doesn’t need to be difficult.

Many resources, organizations, and counselors are available to help former addicts recover.
View Sources
  1. Greenfield L, Burgdorf K, Chen X, Porowski A, Roberts T, Herrell J., Effectiveness of long-term residential substance abuse treatment for women: findings from three national studies, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15540492
  2. Steiro A, Dalsbø TK, Smedslund G, Hammerstrøm KT, Samdal K., Long Term Institutional or Residential Treatment of Patients with Substance Abuse Compared to Short-Term Outpatient Treatment, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29320091
  3. Manuel JI, Yuan Y, Herman DB, Svikis DS, Nichols O, Palmer E, Deren S, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28132695


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