30, 60 & 90 Day Treatment Programs: Which Is Best?

a young woman on a bed reading a notepadOne of the first decisions you and your loved one will need to make when selecting a drug rehab facility is the length of the program. Most rehab programs range from 28 to 90 days. However, there are many different types of programs available, and it’s possible to find shorter, outpatient programs as well as long-term residential treatment programs. In this article, we would like to discuss the most common treatment lengths: 30, 60 and 90 days.

Why Are There 30, 60 And 90 Day Programs?

Many individuals who are unfamiliar with addiction and alcoholism treatment may ask themselves: “What can a 60 or 90-day treatment program do that a 30-day program cannot?”

While we will not necessarily answer that question until the “What are the perks of a 60 or 90-day inpatient treatment program?” section, we can tell you that there is a purpose for implementing longer treatment programs: time.

Time is a precious commodity, which is why we understand that 60 and 90-day treatment programs may sound daunting. But, in time also lies opportunity. An Opportunity to heal, an opportunity to understand, and an opportunity to let go of what was and look on to what could be.

While we comprehend commitments such as work, family, school, etc. provide a stressful emphasis on making the most of your time, notably, being present for such commitments, we also want to acknowledge that treatment does not provide an overnight solution to addiction and alcoholism.

For the aforementioned reasons, we want to provide our clients with the most comfortable, stress-free, and safe environment to tackle their substance abuse head-on.

Though 30 days seems to be an extended period of time, we ask potential clients to examine the duration of their drinking or using: did they develop a substance abuse problem in 30 days? Or, did it take years of practice?

Presumably, you or your loved one’s substance abuse problem did not develop in just 30 days, so we acknowledge that 30 days may not be enough time to develop and implement the necessary tools to combat substance abuse habits on a daily basis.

This is why we provide 60 and 90-day treatment programs, which tend to be our most common program lengths.

One of the primary focuses of our therapists is to identify triggers, disassociate each trigger with using a substance and create a safe environment to work through each trigger and its origin.

30 days away from potential may not be enough time for our clients to detach from triggers. Far too often, we see clients go home too early, only to experience a trigger, which leads to a relapse.

Longer Treatment is Ideal

The choice regarding the length of stay is dependent on numerous factors that include the individual’s needs, recommendations of the referring physician, any insurance coverage, and any issues that may come up during treatment. In addition, treatment length may be extended or reduced depending on how the individual progresses in treatment.

However, one of the hard and fast rules associated with success in recovery is that long-term treatments are associated with better outcomes. This principle is endorsed by nearly every major mental health organization in the United States, including SAMHSA, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the American Psychiatric Association (APA), and the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). All of these organizations recommend longer-term treatments for recovery, and NIDA recommends that everyone should enroll in a program that is at least 90 days in length.

Longer programs have various benefits. They can help the individual:

  • Get a better perspective on their recovery
  • Practice skills needed in recovery
  • Develop a positive support network
  • Better deal with social and family issues that have occurred as a result of substance abuse
  • Develop more self-confidence

Longer-term programs allow for the development of a recovery program that is suited for a person’s long-term recovery. They include the following factors associated with a successful recovery program:

  • The use of a variety of approaches to address issues from multiple perspectives
  • An individualized treatment program to fit the person’s specific needs
  • More time to reassess progress in treatment and make necessary changes as needed
  • Tests and measures of sustained abstinence

Thus, it is advantageous for any individual entering treatment for a substance use disorder to pick the treatment program of the longest duration that is available to them. This means discussing the issue with one’s insurance provider to ensure that treatment is long enough to get a foothold in recovery. Physicians can often make the case that the person needs to remain in inpatient treatment longer in order to avoid costly issues with relapse. This can help to ensure that the person becomes involved in a treatment program of sufficient length and intensity.

Whatever length of an inpatient treatment program an individual completes, the process of recovery is not over once the person leaves the program. Recovery from any substance use disorder is a long-term endeavor and requires years of treatment participation. Most of the treatment participation will be performed on an outpatient basis. One of the considerations for choosing a program should be the type of aftercare programs available to the individual once they leave the inpatient treatment unit. The focus should be on meeting short-term goals that can foster long-term success and the ability to continue treatment once one leaves the inpatient environment.

Second, while a long time in treatment is typically ideal, treatment of any length is a positive step in the right direction. If this is all your loved one can commit to right now, it’s something. Let’s take a closer look at what you can expect from 30, 60 and 90-day programs.

30 Day Programs

The most common admissions are 28-30 days. These programs begin with an intake evaluation and a treatment plan. They usually attempt to limit their curriculum to withdrawal management, therapy (individual and group), and aftercare plans. The length of time that clients are involved in these programs may not be sufficient for some clients who have complicated issues or severe substance abuse issues. Obviously, they are more affordable than more long-term plans.

60 Day Programs

60-day programs offer many of the same features as the shorter programs but extend the time devoted to the process. These programs have the same general features as those that are 28-30 days, including the intake process, withdrawal management, and therapy. They may have more detailed treatment plans with more extensive goals and be able to address complicated withdrawal issues much better than shorter programs. Longer programs, like 60-day programs, allow clients to spend more time focusing on recovery, get a better perspective on past addictive behaviors, practice skills for longer, build a stronger support network, and prepare for the future outside of the treatment environment.

Patients can:

  • Spend more time on their recovery
  • Get perspective on their addiction
  • Focus on making positive changes
  • Practice recovery skills
  • Build a support network
  • Think about the future

While it’s ideal to spend more time in treatment, not everyone can commit to 60 days. It’s a long time away from work or family, and it costs more.

90 Day Programs

A 90-day program is best in many instances, particularly for those who have a severe addiction or have relapsed. Longer stays in treatment are typically associated with longer-lasting sobriety, lower rates of criminal activity and higher rates of employment.

Three-month programs offer all the same treatment options as the other programs, including detox, therapy, 12-step meetings and continuing care. The biggest benefit of a longer program is that it gives the addict more time to live in sobriety. This means that they may be better prepared to handle temptation and prevent future relapses.

We hope that this information has helped you to better understand 30, 60 and 90-day treatment programs. If you have more questions, please call us. We know this is a difficult time for you, and we’re happy to help!

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