Information on Long-Term Inpatient Drug Rehabilitation

Created On Thursday, 04, February 2016
Modified On Friday, 01, October 2021

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The National Institute on Drug Abuse defines long-term drug rehab as a residential treatment that provides care 24 hours a day. Generally, these are non-hospital settings with a planned length of stay for three to six months or longer. Much of the treatment within a long-term drug rehab program focuses on an individual's social and psychological deficit. The rehabilitation helps the drug-addicted individual develop personal accountability and responsibility while learning how to live productive and healthy lives. The treatment process is highly structured, and the activities are designed to help residents identify the destructive patterns in their lives.

The length of time needed in a long-term drug rehab program is different for each person. Typically, there are set lengths of time, but an addiction assessment would help an addict and family determine what length of time is required. Lengthier treatment is usually for an addict with an extensive history of addiction and chronic relapse. These programs may last six months or more, whereas the average is three months. Long-term drug rehab requires a commitment, and there are addicts who attend the program without intervention. However, family intervention is often done to convince drug users they need long-term treatment.

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The Effectiveness of Long-Term Drug Rehab

According to a study done in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, which examined the effectiveness of long-term treatment with women—the study found high treatment success rates ranging from 68% to 71% among women who spent six months or more in treatment. Generally, the success rates were lower for women with shorter stays in treatment. Clients who took more than six months to complete their treatment were in the 76% to 78% range of success for abstinence six to twelve months after treatment. However, only 51% to 52% of clients who did not finish treatment remained abstinent from drugs or alcohol.

Typically, long-term residential treatment programs are for people who need intensive levels of addiction treatment. The high-intensity treatment is a good option for people experiencing chronic relapse, severe addiction, or other situations that can benefit from a longer duration of treatment. Most long-term drug rehab programs form a therapeutic community—the focus of the facility is on creating a safe and stable environment that supports sober living. Generally, these communities help a person heal from the social damage caused by addiction.

Patients of long-term drug rehab centers develop meaningful relationships with other sober people, and a therapeutic community provides accountability and support. The therapeutic benefit of long-term drug rehab is access to transformative therapies and a wide range of modalities of therapy and counseling. The sessions allow more time to develop sober living skills and recovery principles. It is also common to help the patient with employment training and transitional housing. Long-term treatment also helps patients manage cravings, which continue after a month or two of sobriety. Relapse prevention is also crucial, and long-term programs help develop relapse prevention skills and coping skills.

Individuals who struggle with chronic relapse benefit from long-term drug rehab and spend their time working on developing new skills to prevent relapse. Typically, the drug of abuse determines a person's treatment needs. Drugs could include prescription narcotics, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, pain medication, or alcohol. The first step is accepting treatment, whether done with an intervention or not. No one form of treatment works for every person—long-term drug rehab can develop a treatment plan to benefit the needs of the addict.

However, these programs are beneficial for someone that has experienced multiple major relapses and has had no success from a short-term program. Severe addictions benefit from long-term drug rehabilitation, along with people that struggle with co-occurring disorders. Most long-term programs have a detox facility attached to the center, such as medical detox or a conventional detox. Detox is the first step, and having detox attached to the facility makes the transition smoother to manage.

Long-Term Drug Rehab Therapy Models

According to an article published by the Society for the Study of Addiction, matching comprehensive services to a patient's needs is highly effective, especially for high needs patients. Long-term drug rehabilitation centers have the ability to meet the rehabilitation needs of the patient. Individual treatment for addiction builds the strongest foundation for sobriety. The longer that substance abuse is left to persist, the worse the addiction becomes. Removing destructive patterns and replacing them with positive ones is essential. Long-term drug rehabilitation provides the necessary length of time to accomplish this. Also, there are extensive therapy models provided to meet the needs of the patient.

A common therapy approach is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which focuses on how a drug-addicted person's thoughts influence their feelings. Also, this form of therapy helps a person confront and cope with the difficult and dangerous patterns in their life that drive the addictive behavior. Overall, it is a combination of cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy—cognitive therapy is problem-oriented and gives the person solutions and practical application. A more comprehensive approach to cognitive behavioral therapy is Dialectical Behavioral therapy. Placing emphasis on a sustainable quality of life helps the patient remove the behaviors that cause harm and destruction. Typically, with this type of therapy, there is a close relationship between the therapist and the patient.

Most long-term drug rehab programs use 12-step facilitation therapy, group sessions, individual therapy, counseling. The twelve-step approach is proven effective, but it is not from everyone, although during aftercare, meetings are helpful when working on sobriety. Good long-term treatment programs should also address the family dynamic and provide family counseling. Long-term programs also offer non-traditional approaches to counseling, such as wilderness therapy, holistic drug treatment, or adventure therapy. Additionally, there is always a nutritional component and physical fitness to help an addict become rehabilitated physically. The length of time a long-term program provides is the main benefit, and it is time that ensures an addict maintains his or sobriety.

The Best Time to Consider Long-Term Drug Rehab

Knowing when to go to a drug rehabilitation center is not an easy decision, and most drug users have a family intervention performed to get them to accept treatment. Also, it is not easy for anyone addicted to drugs or alcohol to admit they have a problem. There is a common misconception that long-term drug rehab is excessive and not needed. However, every addiction quickly spirals out of control and becomes progressively worse. Unfortunately, many people decide to forego treatment because they have not hit rock bottom, but there is no rock bottom. Someone struggling with addiction completely ignores the consequences of their actions despite how bad it becomes.

The first step is understanding the severity of your addiction and hot it has negatively affected your life and the life of the people around you. Generally, if you are struggling with a lack of control and a desire to quit but unable, this is an indicator you need help. Addicts spend a lot of time trying to get the drugs they need and struggle with physical and psychological cravings. Also, the lack of responsibility, problems with relationships, dangerous drug use, a worsening situation, and an increased tolerance leading to severe withdrawal. Long-term drug rehabilitation is the best option if you are struggling with multiple issues.

What is the Process for Entering Long-Term Drug Rehab?

The entry process is generally similar for most long-term drug rehab program, but every center guides their client to recovery in a different way. Long-term drug rehab centers offer an extensive structure and routine. During treatment, however, a person's day is shaped by their recovery goals and treatment. From the time that the person wakes up until they go to bed, they have access to an extensive recovery community. There are essential interactions occurring all throughout the day and not just in therapy or counseling. Typically, the day will blend counseling and therapy sessions, peer support, relapse prevention, practical learning, and even recreational time.

During the initial intake, there are many things discussed, and every intake is different from the next, depending on the state that the person is in when they arrive. It is not uncommon to arrive at a long-term drug rehab program under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The intake involves getting the person into detox and beginning the withdrawal management. Following detox, the next step involves getting them situated with their room and orientating them to the daily routine. Many treatment centers offer exciting locations and beautiful grounds that help a person remain focussed on his or her treatment. The lodging does vary from facility to facility, but long-term drug rehab programs provide most of the amenities of home.

The cost of long-term drug rehabilitation varies, and this depends on whether the program is a non-profit, for-profit, or a state-funded treatment program. Generally, long-term drug rehab is more expensive than short-term treatment because of the cost of housing and therapy. However, when compared to the cost of substance abuse, long-term drug rehabilitation is worth the cost. Sate-funded programs are different within each state, along with the services that are offered through the state. Completing the requirement to qualify for state-funded programs can take time and effort, and there are long waitlists. Private centers tend to have a faster admission process, and the quality of rehabilitation is better.

Are There Alternatives to Long-Term Drug Rehab?

The alternative to long-term drug rehabilitation is short-term drug rehab. The National Institute on Drug Abuse defines short-term drug rehab as a residential program providing intensive but relatively brief treatment. Most short-term drug treatment centers utilize 12-step methods, and the programs were originally designed to treat alcohol addiction. However, during the cocaine epidemic of the 19802, these programs began to treat other addicts. Typically, short-term drug rehab is a three to six-week program and is an inpatient setting that is not a hospital.

Other alternatives to long-term drug rehab are outpatient drug treatment, which is not a residential program. Outpatient drug rehabilitation programs require the patient to attend treatment daily. However, outpatient programs are not as effective as long-term residential drug rehab. The National Institute on Drug Abuse defines outpatient treatment as varying is types and intensity. The cost of treatment is generally less, which makes it more accessible to families and addicts. In most outpatient programs, group counseling is a major component. Finding the right substance abuse treatment is crucial—across the United States, more people are dying as a result of an overdose. According to the Centers for Disease Control, drug overdose deaths were up 4.6% in 2019 to close to 71,000. Approximately 50,000 of these deaths involved opioids, which continue to result in increased numbers of fatal and non-fatal overdoses.

Common Terminology Surrounding Long-Term Drug Rehab

Term Definition
High-Intensity Treatment refers to treatment providing therapy sessions for 45 to 60 minutes two to three times per day for five to six days per week. Most long-term drug rehabilitation programs offer extensive services providing as much as possible with the time the addict has in treatment.
Therapeutic Community area common form of long-term residential drug rehab emerged in the 1950s out of a self-help recovery movement. These communities encourage peer support and holding everyone accountable for each others actions and success.
Sober Living Skills are the skills and abilities that someone gains during treatment. For example, this includes practicing self-care, planning and cooking nutritious meals, setting and achieving personal goals, managing finances, and building healthy relationships.
Family Dynamic are the patterns and interactions between family members that influence family structure. Substance abuse damages the family dynamic and makes it impossible for families to maintain a strong family dynamic.
Therapy substance use disorders require individualized treatment that addresses the symptoms and underlying causes of addiction. Therapy is the process used to discover this, and there are different modalities of therapy available at any long-term drug rehab center.
Private Non-Profit Treatment are affordable treatment centers across the country and are completely tax-supported and charge no fees.
Private For-Profit Treatment charge a fee for treatment, and these are common programs across the state. The private substance use treatment sector in the United States is a billion-dollar industry.
State-Funded Drug Rehab are programs for anyone who cannot afford private treatment. Services are either free or are based on your income—the price is much lower when compared to private programs.
Evidence-Based Approaches are programs using treatment methods based on empirically-based interventions that have been proven to work.
Family Intervention is a process that helps motivate someone addicted to drugs or alcohol to seek out help; otherwise, there are consequences set by the family and friends performing the family intervention.

CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS ARTICLE

Marcel Gemme, DATS - Author

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Marcel Gemme has been helping people struggling with addiction for over 19 years. He first started as an intake counselor for a drug rehabilitation center in 2000. During his 5 years as an intake counselor, he helped many addicts get the treatment they needed. He also dealt with the families and friends of those people; he saw first-hand how much strain addiction puts on a family and how it can tear relationships apart. With drug and alcohol problems constantly on the rise in the United States and Canada, he decided to use the Internet as a way to educate and help many more people in both those countries. This was 15 years ago. Since then, Marcel has built two of the largest websites in the U.S. and Canada which reach and help millions of people each year. He is an author and a leader in the field of drug and alcohol addiction. His main focus is threefold: education, prevention and rehabilitation. To this day, he still strives to be at the forefront of technology in order to help more and more people. He is a Licensed Drug and Alcohol Treatment Specialist graduate with Honours of Stratford Career Institute. Marcel has also received a certificate from Harvard for completing a course entitled The Opioid Crisis in America and a certificate from The University of Adelaide for completing a course entitled AddictionX: Managing Addiction: A Framework for Succesful Treatment.


Dr. Rohit S. Adi, MD, DABAM - Medically Reviewed on October 1, 2021

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Dr. Rohit S. Adi is certified in addiction medicine, through examination, by the American Board of Addiction Medicine. While in Louisiana, he worked as an emergency-room physician at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center in Lafayette, Louisiana, but then transferred to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, where he works to this day. Holding numerous positions throughout his medical career, Dr. Adi has seen the devastating effects caused by drugs and alcohol. Having the ability to do something about the problem, he co-founded a holistic drug rehabilitation center in Louisiana, where he serves as the facility's Medical Director.

PARENTS TESTIMONIAL

« This thing called addiction can happen to anyone, it has no prejudice. It not only impacts the addict, but also their loved ones. There is no shame in trying to get help, in fact it’s the complete opposite; it shows how strong and willing you are to heal yourself. We are one of the lucky ones, our son, who is one of the smartest and talented person we know, is a recovering addict and is thriving. After failed attempts at 2 week and out-patient facilities, he enrolled into a long term rehab. We slowly watched him put in the hard work needed for his sobriety. He mentored other addicts which in turn helped him. We watched our son become the man we always knew he was. Our son has been clean and sober for 4 years and counting. We believe with the right in-patient rehab program and dedication and hard work from the addict a positive outcome can happen. Our son is finally living the life he always dreamed of and deserves. We are so proud of him. » - Sherry & Terry L. from New Jersey