In a world of on-demand movies, instant messaging and drive-through dining it is difficult to know just what is meant when something is described as long term. Long term drug rehab is an example of this conundrum. Just how long is long term rehab and why would someone choose it over short term drug rehab? For those considering which drug rehab program to use, this is an important question and one that has answers.
When it comes to drug recovery programs there are many options available ranging from outpatient day treatment to short term residential treatment to long-term in patient recovery. Some might think that a month of in-patient drug rehab constitutes long-term effort but, in fact, a 30 day residential drug rehab program is really the minimum time needed in order to wind up with the best likelihood of true recovery.
It was once thought that a month-long rehab was the gold standard of care, when actually 30 day treatment came into being mostly as a result of insurance limits. Drug rehab encompasses several steps and believe it or not, 30 days is little time to accomplish all that needs to be done.
Detox is the first step in rehab. During detox, a person is removed from the abused substance and the body is allowed to rid itself of all remnants of the drug. This can take up to a week or more depending upon how long the person has been misusing the substance, now the person is left with three weeks to round out treatment.
During the next three weeks, several issues must be addressed. Drug abuse is a disease which has emotional, social and psychological implications beyond the raw physical demand for the substance. Therefore, it is only reasonable that these areas need to be addressed if full healing is to take place.
Most residential drug rehab programs will provide several ways to accomplish this. One on one counseling is beneficial in uncovering what emotional needs were underlying the drug habit. Once these are identified, patients can begin to learn new methods of meeting these needs. Group meetings offer a supportive culture that reinforces the desire to become sober and combat the negative feelings of isolation, failure and inability to succeed.
Thirty days is often quoted as the minimal amount of time a person needs to develop a new habit. Patients will need a month at the very least to establish new life habits to replace the ones they wish to leave behind. But it isn’t only the outward habits of a person which can change when drugs are no longer part of the lifestyle. Studies show that the brain itself can begin to heal and actually change with healthy living. Positive changes within the brain will continue for many months following the cessation of drug use.
The best recovery happens when patients are allowed long periods of time in a drug-free environment to learn how to live sober. Gradually the person re-enters normal life with all of its challenges and potential triggers, but with a six month or year-long rehab program those steps can be taken with a fully supportive staff and constant monitoring. Successes and failures are dealt with immediately and become stepping stones to full recovery. Some drug rehab programs for physicians continue on a gradual weaning process over as long as five years.