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How Long Does Inpatient Drug and Alcohol Rehab Last? (Timeline)

Substance dependence is a severe and recurring condition. Addicts often need assistance to overcome their dependency and maintain sobriety. Depending on the patient's requirements, rehabilitation centers provide care in various locations and during varying periods.

Substance abuse treatment centers provide patients with the security, care, and guidance essential to recovery. However, a person struggling with addiction may have concerns about the rehab process, the kind of therapy, and the duration of care. The time someone spends in a rehabilitation center and the specific treatments they need may vary from patient to patient.

Two Types of Inpatient Drug and Alcohol Rehab Treatment Models

Two primary models of inpatient rehab treatment exist. A patient can recover through either conventional inpatient treatment or long-term rehab, depending on the intensity of their substance use disorder. Therefore, the duration of inpatient treatment varies on the patient's diagnosis and condition.

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1. Conventional Inpatient Treatment Programs

Inpatient alcohol and drug treatment programs typically last between 28 and 30 days. Regular alcoholics are often the ones who benefit most from this therapy. The standard course of treatment includes sessions with a therapist individually, group therapy, and, in some cases, family therapy.


Some people may be persuaded to extend their stay for an additional 60–90 days. Unfortunately, this conventional rehabilitation approach often lasts no more than 90 days.

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Dr. Williams presently serves on the board of Directors for two non-profit service organizations. He holds a Master’s degree in Human Services from Lincoln University, Philadelphia, Pa, and a Ph.D. with a concentration in Clinical Psychology from Union Institute and University. In Cincinnati, Ohio. He is licensed to practice addictions counseling in both New Jersey and Connecticut and has a pending application as a practicing Psychologist in New Jersey.

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2. Long-Term Inpatient Rehab

People with severe addiction problems may benefit from staying in a treatment facility for an extended period. These sessions generally run between 3 and 12 months and have individual and family therapy and group meetings.


There is an emphasis on community lifestyle, and clients are encouraged to join support groups and vocational education. This technique involves a gradual increase in treatment intensity.


It is common for the first three weeks of therapy to be the most intense, with subsequent weeks and months requiring less and less effort.

Timespan and Length of Stay In an Inpatient  Treatment Facility

What occurs typically during a stay at a residential treatment facility? Every day living in treatment follows a strict set of guidelines. Participants in inpatient treatment programs often reside in a group setting and attend group therapy sessions together.

Sessions with a therapist, alone or in a group, are often necessary daily. You get a packed lunch, and your downtime is severely limited. Sessions of counseling, twelve-step groups, and education take up most of the day.

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What To Expect From Inpatient Rehab Treatment, Step-By-Step

There are usually a few different phases of inpatient treatment. The following is a sample schedule for inpatient substance abuse rehabilitation.

First Day: Evaluation

Clinical examination and screening occur on the first day of treatment. This procedure typically lasts no more than a few hours and consists of interviews and a urine drug test. The rehab center's staff will create a personalized plan of care for the duration of your stay, depending on the info gleaned during the first assessment.


The first assessment gives the medical team a starting point for your rehabilitation plan. After that, your intervention will be revised based on ongoing evaluations and analyses of your condition.

First Week: Detoxification

Alcohol detox is not necessary for everyone, but individuals who have been drinking regularly or excessively for an extended period of time may experience uncomfortable and even dangerous withdrawal symptoms throughout the process.


During this time, your body attempts to readjust to life without alcohol. Unfortunately, this is also when withdrawal symptoms peak and might bring psychotic episodes like fits or DTs.

Some residential alcohol treatment facilities provide detoxification treatments on-site, which typically last anywhere from a few days to a week or even longer in extreme circumstances.

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First Four Weeks: Psychotherapy

Throughout any inpatient rehab program, various psychological therapies are utilized. Each day, recovering addicts and alcoholics attend group therapy and individual counseling to work through the issues that led them to use in the first place and learn new, healthier coping mechanisms.


Sessions with a group therapist may also help work through problems with social interactions. Residential treatment programs often include physical and psychological components, with the latter lasting for the duration of therapy and beyond.

First Five Weeks: Medical Treatment

Medications are sometimes used to alleviate alcohol and drug cravings and to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms during treatment. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs may be used to address chronic mental health concerns.


Inpatient treatment centers often have psychiatrists or medical professionals on staff to assess, diagnose, and prescribe required medicines.


Unfortunately, there are no miracle cures available in tablet form. They help facilitate recovery but must be combined with other therapies for optimal results.

Months 2-6: The Transition Period

When recovering addicts are ready to transition out of an inpatient treatment facility, they are typically faced with challenging and trying circumstances. Many treatment centers include step-down programs to ease patients into society after being in a controlled environment devoid of substances.


These aids facilitate a more seamless readjustment to mainstream culture. A person in early sobriety may choose to live in a halfway house or sober living facility, but they will have unrestricted access throughout this time. In most cases, recovering addicts and alcoholics will remain in this therapy phase until they can function independently.

The Second Month and Beyond: Upkeep

Most recovering addicts will begin outpatient therapy after completing an inpatient program. This often involves regular appointments with licensed clinical psychologists and participation in support groups. Those who have successfully kicked their addiction sometimes spend years, or possibly the remainder of their lives, in the recovery phase.


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First Week: Detoxification
Timespan and Length Of Stay In an Inpatient  Treatment Facility

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What To Expect From Inpatient Rehab Treatment, Step-By-Step
1. Conventional Inpatient Treatment Programs
First Day: Evaluation
First Four Weeks: Psychotherapy
First Five Weeks: Medical Treatment
Months 2-6: The Transition Period
The Second Month and Beyond: Upkeep

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2. Long-Term Inpatient Rehab
Two Types of inpatient drug and alcohol rehab treatment models
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