Long-Term Residential Treatment Programs For Substance Addiction

Last Updated: October 26, 2020

Authored by Dr. Ahmed Zayed

Reviewed by Michael Espelin APRN

Long-term residential treatment for addiction is one of the essential practices used in many rehab facilities today, as a way of providing adequate nurturing and intensive care for special-case patients that require extensions. Full integration into a healthy life after addiction may not be immediate. Many individuals who were formerly addicted to various substances at critical levels may find long-term residential treatment helpful. Parents, friends, and loved ones to individuals who have had recurrent drug relapses after regular-scheduled rehab plans are usually counseled on the advantages of long-term residential treatment programs and how the patient can benefit from this experience in the long run.

Long-Term Addiction Treatment Overview

What Is The Goal Of This Program?

The long-term addiction treatment is an intensive rehabilitation program with well-structured courses stretched over the recommended period of time, under a 24-hour-care drug rehab facility. This program is mostly a live-in situation where participants are progressively nurtured and treated on a daily basis until a level of stability is achieved.

doctor looking at patient at rehab

Many substance users receive help with outpatient facilities and appear to have achieved success in sobriety, yet it is noticed that a high percentage of people in this category often experience relapse after a period of time. The aim of long-term addiction treatment is to create a more grounded approach tailored to each individual through a gradual process that imparts on every aspect of the patient’s wellbeing. The long-term treatment may involve an aftercare service at the end of the program to better substantiate the healing program and to ensure that the patient is seamlessly reintegrated into their regular daily lives.

Effectiveness Of Long-Term Addiction Treatment

A success rate of 68% to 70% was recorded on research for the efficacy of long-term residential drug treatment for women, pregnant women as well as teenagers. The average duration to achieve this success was six months. Long-term residential treatment for drug addiction is unarguably effective, especially for those who successfully complete their rehabilitation plans.

Long-Term Residential Drug Treatment Programs Duration

The periods for long-term residential care often differ from one person to another, depending on the severity of the addiction and the level of progress made over time. Durations for long-term residential drug treatment programs are:

  • 30 – 60 days
  • 60 – 120 days
  • 120 – 180 days
  • 6 – 12 months

Categories Of Patients Suited For Long-Term Treatment

The option of choosing a long-term residential treatment is personal as there are various people with unique needs depending on the circumstances surrounding the addiction. The program is open to any individual that has made that decision to take a stand and to pursue a life that is free from substance addiction. Addiction recovery should not be hurried. A holistic treatment approach should be rendered to be sure that the patient has achieved a level of independence from the substance in question and can thrive in an external environment.

There are specific categories of people who would benefit more from long-term drug treatment. Here are a few examples:

  • Various researches have shown that the rate of relapse is high, especially in individuals who either do not finish their program or having trouble maintaining sobriety.
  • Long-term drug therapy is vital for those who have experienced a series of relapses.
  • Some individuals may underestimate the severity of their addiction and opt for shorter programs. They eventually figure out that the recovery would have made more impact if extended. Those who have had little to no success in shorter programs would benefit immensely from long-term residential drug treatment.
  • Individuals who had co-occurring health issues, usually mental disorders, and addiction combined, are also candidates for the sobriety house after completing the main phase of rehabilitation.
  • Some addicts have lived with addictions for years, seeking the best ways to manage their problems. Long-time addicts of drugs and alcohol can profit significantly from the program.
  • Exceptional cases like teenage addicts may benefit from long-term residential treatment for teenagers.
  • Mothers, as well as pregnant women, also belong to this category.
  • Patients who were involuntarily committed to rehab usually require more extended rehabilitation programs.

Types Of Addictions Treated By Long-Term Residential Care

Long-term treatment centers for addictions facilitate programs of various substance abuse, from opioids to regular non-opioid painkillers. Here are a few addictions that require special long-term residential treatment:

  • Adderall
  • Ritalin
  • Severe alcohol addiction
  • Marijuana
  • Barbiturates
  • Opioid painkillers (Fentanyl, Norco, Vicodin, Percocet, etc.)
  • Benzodiazepine
  • Methamphetamines
  • Heroin
  • Cocaine

The nature of each drug and its addictive effect varies from one person to another. Often the length, as well as treatment regimen, depends on the kind of drug used.

Phases Of Long-Term Residential Treatment Programs

It is important to note that addiction treatment requires specialized rehabilitation programs that are tailored to each individual in order to unearth the causes and effects of their addictions.  These specialized treatments come in phases and are usually managed by medical professionals. Some of the long-term residential treatment dual diagnosis phases include:

Withdrawal And Detox

The detoxification phase is the initial process of stopping the use of the substance. Some rehab facilities use weaning as a detox technique, where one is offered smaller quantities of the substance each time until it is completely stopped, and the healing process begins. While in some cases, alternative medications are used to create similar effects to the drug but with none of its side effects. Other augmenting detox therapies such as yoga, meditation, acupuncture, NAD IV therapy, and others. These processes are built-in to mitigate the physical effects of withdrawal further. The elimination of residual drugs and toxins from the body is the sole aim of the withdrawal and detox phase.

Therapies And Counseling

Attaining a successful withdrawal from the substance is only the first step in healing. The next step in long-term residential treatment is a series of counseling and motivational phrases to dig deeper into the causes of the addiction and triggers as well.

Behavioral treatment therapy

This would enable the patient to fully understand what conditions deteriorated into the use of the substance in the first place and how to resolve these underlying problems in order to mitigate the risk of relapse. These therapies and counseling may be done individually or in peer groups:

  • Cognitive-Behavioral therapy is an essential aspect of counseling, and there are various forms, such as DBT therapy (Dialectical behavior therapy).
  • MET therapy (Motivational Enhancement Therapy) is another most effective approach which aims to evoke behavioral change in the patient through self-realization and motivation.

The SAMHSA approved behavioral health treatments such as SUD treatment and others targeted at mental health as effective standards for the treatment of addictions.

Participating In Activities And Learning New Life-Skills

Most times, long-term addiction treatment may interfere with certain phases in the lives of a patient, such as education, career, and other activities.

Life skill programs prepare patients by providing a series of courses and valuable programs which will improve employability, interaction with people, and other aspects of life on completion of the program. Some of these programs include:

  • Communication
  • Health and fitness
  • Diet and hygiene
  • Financial management
  • Emotional control

 Aftercare And Alumni Support

Aftercare programs are essential and ensure that a patient is able to maintain sobriety long after the conclusion of treatment. The reality is that there are always significant chances that a person might experience a relapse. Aftercare and alumni support provides assistance to former users through various forms, to help resolve difficulties faced outside the rehab. These programs also function to reintegrate and restructure a person’s life after rehab.

The Cost Of Long-Term Addiction Treatment

There are quite a number of things to consider as far as the cost of long-term addiction treatment. Luxury rehabs obviously charge a lot more than regular.

Paying for medical treatment

Outpatient facilities will charge less because hospital amenities are not in use; instead, the patient comes from their own place of residence as often as the program holds. Long-term residential treatment programs include the cost of:

  • living
  • therapies
  • daily meals
  • medication
  • and every other inclusion.

The duration is also another factor that may affect the cost.

Inpatient programs may cost about $150 to $950 daily, depending on the standard of the facility. Patients who decide to stay for more extended period of time may get cheaper daily rates.
For outpatient long-term treatment centers for addiction, the cost may vary from $100 to $500 daily or for every therapy session. Similarly, longer duration of outpatient treatment programs cost less on a daily basis.
The detox process is one of the most expensive aspects of long-term addiction treatment. In some cases, the detox can cost as high as $1,200 daily.

Risks Of Choosing Long-Term Residential Treatment

A 30-day treatment program will cost reasonably, while other longer schedules would not only cost more money, but they will also take more time to conclude. This can affect various aspects of a person’s life. In some cases, the program can distort family schedules. Here are a few ways that long-term treatment can pose a risk:

Insurance Coverage

Often people count on health insurance for coverage when going for healthcare services such as a rehab program. Unfortunately, some programs are selective of insurance types. The insurance in question may only cover a small bit of the therapy treatment while other major treatment may be paid for by the individual.

Senior man checks his insurance

In cases where the patient relies entirely on insurance, this might leave them stranded and unable to complete the program. It is imperative to check one’s insurance type before opting for a long-term addiction treatment program.

Losing A Job

Many people are of the notion that they could lose their jobs if their employer learned that they were enrolled in a treatment therapy for substance abuse. Sadly their concerns are not misplaced. However, this also depends on company policies and work relationships. When a person struggles with substance abuse at work, it is usually noticeable, and employers would likely lay off an employee who is by court law involuntary committed to rehab.

Losing Custody Of A Kid

The court, in many cases, will grant child custody to any parent relative or even children’s home when one or both parents are incapable of catering to the child due to their enrolment into a long-term residential alcohol treatment facility.

Selecting A Long-Term Residential Treatment Center

There are many facilities today that offer long-term residential treatment programs for people suffering from addiction to drugs and alcohol. Choosing a facility of choice may not be so easy. Here are a few things to consider while choosing a facility:

  • Proximity: the closer the location the better, especially for an outpatient treatment
  • Cost of the program
  • Do they take one’s insurance? How much insurance coverage is possible?
  • Flexible payment plans
  • Sliding fee scale
  • The duration of the treatment programs
  • Aftercare services
  • The variety and level of efficacy of programs in the schedule
  • The success rate of the facility
  • Experience of the staff
  • Level of comport

Addiction is a critical condition and requires all the time and technique necessary to ensure that the patient goes through an intensive and extended healing process to a life free from addiction.

Page 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

Published on: April 25th, 2018

Updated on: October 26th, 2020

About Author

Dr. Ahmed Zayed

Dr. Ahmed Zayed is a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery. He is graduated from the University of Alexandria, Egypt. Dr. Ahmed Zayed has a passion for writing medical and health care articles and focuses on providing engaging and trustworthy information to readers.

Medically Reviewed by

Michael Espelin APRN

8 years of nursing experience in wide variety of behavioral and addition settings that include adult inpatient and outpatient mental health services with substance use disorders, and geriatric long-term care and hospice care.  He has a particular interest in psychopharmacology, nutritional psychiatry, and alternative treatment options involving particular vitamins, dietary supplements, and administering auricular acupuncture.


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