Alcohol Addiction Treatment: Understanding Addiction Treatment Program Lengths


If you are suffering from alcohol addiction, you are probably wondering about what rehab actually involves, as well as how long it takes. Well, rehab involves various processes that are aimed at cleansing the body of addictive substances, as well as helping addicts learn how to cope and live with addiction.

The question “how long does rehab take”, is one without a definite answer. This is because different facilities have different programs for different people with different needs. Nevertheless, rehabilitation program lengths include, but aren’t limited to the following time spans:

  • 28 to 30 days
  • 60 days
  • 90 days
  • 90 to 120 days and beyond

Effectiveness of Long-term Programs

The commonest type of alcohol rehab program is the 28-day program. While there are some addicts who manage to get treated within this duration, many addicts require more time to achieve stable sobriety. Alcohol addiction is a complex problem that contributes to both physical and mental damage. Majority of addicts need significantly longer than 28 days in order for them to become stably sober.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recommends that addicts of alcohol participate in a rehabilitation program that runs for at least 90 days. One of the major factors that determine the duration in which you will spend at a rehabilitation center is the severity of the addiction. If you are a long-time, hardcore addict, you may need a longer period of time to recover, compared to someone whose addiction isn’t as severe.

According to NIDA lengthier programs tend to have higher rates of success compared to their shorter counterparts. It is, therefore, advisable that those seeking alcohol addiction treatments consider the severity of their addiction in order for them to choose the most ideal program length that is best for them.

NIDA states that residential or in-patient treatment programs tend to be more successful when individuals partake for at least 90 days. The Institute recommends even longer-term treatment options in order for the addicts to stand a chance of maintaining sobriety.

How Alcohol Addiction is Treated

Successful alcohol addiction treatment has various steps, including:

  • Detoxification, which is the process by which alcohol (or a drug) is eliminated from the system.
  • Behavioral therapies, which include counseling. Such therapies help patients to modify their behaviors and attitudes related to alcohol consumption. They also help patients to adopt healthy life skills and continue with other forms of treatment, i.e. medication.
  • Medication
  • Assessment and treatment for co-occurring mental health problems such as anxiety, stress and depression.
  • Long-term follow-up is needed in order to prevent the chances of a relapse.

Based on research by experts and their recommendations, it is advisable that you commit yourself into an alcohol addiction treatment program that runs for a longer duration of time. This will not only help you to overcome your addiction to alcohol, but it will also help you to maintain sobriety. Furthermore, it will help you change your perception about alcohol, thus enable you to lead an alcohol free life.