For individuals and families looking to get help, it is important to maintain realistic expectations when deciding on a rehabilitation program. Different facilities provide different kinds of treatment but most fall under two broad categories: short-term and long-term treatment.
Depending on the severity of their addiction, short-term or long-term rehabilitation programs, each with their own distinct approaches and goals, may be more or less effective for individuals. For some patients, it is advisable to undergo short-term outpatient treatment, where the client can continue their lives without interruption and treat their addiction through scheduled counseling sessions. For others, immediate and more drastic action is needed in the form of long-term inpatient treatment at a rehab facility.
As you navigate the vast road toward addiction recovery, remember that the treatment program you choose can make a large impact in your journey. Here’s a look at the major differences between short-term and long-term programs to help you gauge what’s most suitable for your situation.
For many addicts, the first step to recovery begins with detoxification, which is the shortest program available. Detoxification usually lasts about one week and provides immediate medical services to individuals going through withdrawal. Its ultimate goal is to help ease the physiological transition from intoxication to sobriety by removing traces of the abused substance in the client’s body and providing medication to alleviate withdrawal symptoms.
After detoxification, the client may opt for a short-term rehabilitation program. Many short-term rehab facilities come in the form of state-run non-profit organizations and generally last about 30 days. However, for many recovering addicts who undergo this type of treatment, the outcome can often be a 50/50 shot. When the program ends, the chances of continued success still depend on the severity of the addiction and the client’s willingness to change. Some emerge with a renewed perspective and claim the program has changed their lives while others may stay the course for a while but ultimately end up relapsing. Because of this, it is not uncommon to see recovering addicts repeat a 30-day program. After all, the main goal of short-term treatment is to plant the seed of an idea to change. The biggest challenge then in this form of treatment is being able to break through the recovering addict’s sense of denial within the given timeframe.
Long-term programs usually last about 90 days or longer and are known to yield the most success. While short-term programs tackle the immediate physical aspects of addiction, long-term rehab undertakes the psychological aspects of substance dependence on a much deeper level. Many long-term facilities get involved in all aspects of a patient’s recovery, often providing meeting rooms, exercise equipment and outdoor patios to increase relaxation and engage clients in productive activities. The goal of the 90-day long-term program is to arm the client with coping skills, self-confidence and life skills as well as teach them how to set up a support system that will last throughout their lives, long after they leave the facility.
At the end of the day, every client is different and what may work for one may not work for another. Whether you choose to enter a short-term or long-term treatment program, remember that choosing to get any type of help is already a bona fide step towards a much better place.
Need more assistance in taking your next step? Check out our comprehensive guide to treatment options and additional factors to consider.