Information on Short-Term Residential Drug Treatment

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

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According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, among people aged 12 or older in 2019, 1.5% received any substance use treatment in the past year. In 2019, approximately 2.1 million people aged 12 or older accessed a self-help group, while one million people attended an inpatient treatment center. Short-term drug rehabilitation is one of the most common treatment approaches used to help people struggling with addiction. Per the National Institute on Drug Abuse, short-term residential programs provide intensive but relatively brief treatment based on a modified 12-step approach.

Short-term drug rehab programs usually last between 28 and 30 days and is a good choice for someone overcoming addiction. Most addicts agree to short-term treatment because the programs are not as long when compared to long-term treatment. Patients go through an initial assessment and may receive a medically managed detox or conventional detox. Short-term programs offer group and individual counseling and therapy and help the patient for life after treatment. Overall, short-term drug rehab provides a safe and supportive environment giving enough time to manage the addiction and plan for a healthier future.

However, a three to six week might not be the best option for every person to completely overcome addiction. Typically, an addiction assessment would ensure that a short-term drug rehab program would benefit the addict. It is also recommended for families to research the different short-term treatment options and programs. Every addiction is different, and one form of therapy does not work for every addict. Short-term drug rehab programs generally provide enough services to ensure an addict is completely detoxed from all the addictive drugs and alcohol while providing enough therapy to address the underlying issues.

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Levels of Service Intensity for Residential Drug Treatment Programs

According to a research article, Residential Treatment for Individuals with Substance Use Disorders: Assessing the Evidence, there are different levels of service intensity for residential treatment. Low-intensity services provide 24 hours of supportive care in a structured environment. The purpose is to minimize a person's risk of relapse or continued substance use. Therapy may include group living skills training, individuals and group therapy, and intensive outpatient treatment. Medium intensity services are also 24-hour care and treat a person with co-occurring disorders. The level of care includes services that are slow-paced and repetitive. Primarily, services are focussed on preventing relapse, continued problems, or continued substance use.

Overall, the purpose of all rehabilitation is to reintegrate the person into the community once treatment is complete. Hight intensity residential services also provide 24-hour care and treatment. Typically, this level of care is for someone struggling with chronic relapse, criminal activity, and who has been through multiple forms of treatment. Services reduce the risk of relapse, reinforce prosocial behaviors, assist with healthy reintegration into the community, and provide skill-building. An addiction assessment would help the addict and family determine the level of care required.

The Best Time to Consider Short-Term Drug Rehabilitation

The time spent in a short-term drug rehab program is useful, whether the drug-addicted individual is unsure or uncertain about the ongoing need for recovery services. Most addicts are reluctant to commit to long-term treatment. During the stay at a short-term drug rehab center, the individual learns to overcome their reluctance to treatment as the program progresses. The facilities provide excellent opportunities to start reflecting on the future and life without drugs or alcohol. There is not a bad time to consider short-term drug rehab because addictions become progressively worse without help. Early intervention is essential, and once the family or friends begin to notice the signs of addiction, it is essential to intervene. Family intervention is a successful approach to take because it will convince the individual they need help.

Drug addiction may begin with experimentation or recreational drug use in social situations. Many addicts begin with heavy drinking, which started as social drinking. Addiction compels a person to keep using the drug even when they know it is poisoning their body and mind. Other drugs, like opioids, create physical dependencies that become difficult to overcome. The amount of time it takes someone to become addicted to drugs varies and depends on the drug. It is difficult for family and friends to take the perspective of someone addicted to drugs or alcohol, but it is necessary to get help immediately.

The Physical Signs of Addiction—when someone begins to misuse drugs or alcohol, they start to exhibit multiple physical signs. Some of these are easy to notice and help determine when the best time is to access short-term drug rehab. The physical symptoms include bloodshot eyes, changes in appetite and eating habits, changes in weight, lethargy, irregular sleeping patterns, loss of physical coordination, tremors, seizures, and poor personal hygiene.

The Behavioral Signs of Addiction—For example, this would involve changes in activities or hobbies, decreased participation in family activities, financial issues, legal issues, neglecting responsibilities, self-isolation, and secretive behavior. Someone struggling with drug or alcohol addiction becomes increasingly recluse, and withdrawal from their loved ones and friends. They feel the need to keep their drug or alcohol use a secret and may lie about their whereabouts or activities.

The Psychological Signs of Addiction—the abuse of drugs or alcohol causes psychological changes and causes the person to act uncharacteristically. Some of the psychological signs of addiction may include distinct changes in an addicted person through patterns, beliefs, attitudes, and priorities. Some of the common psychological signs of addiction include changes in personality traits, depression, anxiety, negative self-image, withdrawing emotionally from loved ones, lack of apathy or disinterest, and lack of motivation.

When family and friends begin to notice these indicators, they should take the time to intervene and help the drug-addicted person. Family intervention is a successful approach, and with the help of a certified interventionist. Intervention groups operate across the country performing interventions. Early intervention is best because it prevents the addiction from quickly spiraling out of control.

The Treatment Process for Short-Term Drug Rehabilitation

The treatment process within a short-term drug rehabilitation programs is much of the same with any other residential treatment center. Short-term addiction treatment takes place over the short-term, which means a person should expect to be at the facility for three to six weeks, but usually, most programs operate within four weeks. The individual lives at the facility and goes through an initial intake assessment, detoxification, active therapy, includes individual and group therapy, as well as family counseling. Most programs offer addiction education, aftercare planning, and relapse prevention, and remain connected to 12-step support groups.

The initial assessment is done with qualified professionals and determines the extent of addiction. Also, the assessment explores the medical and treatment history of the individual, and a treatment plan is developed. Most short-term treatment centers have detox as part of the program to make a smooth transition from detox to treatment. The detoxification process would either be a medically supervised detox or a conventional detox program. Therapy and counseling following detox and initial assessment determine what methods of counseling is required. Aftercare planning would also be involved and this would include helping the recovering addict remain connected with other sober people once treatment is complete.

Private and State-Funded Short-Term Drug Rehab

The average cost of short-term addiction treatment depends on several factors. Typically, the cost could range from a 200$ to 300$ per day, but usually, there is a set time limit and set cost for that time. However, patients have the opportunity to extend the time if needed, but this comes at an additional cost. The cost of short-term drug rehab varies and is largely based on the amenities available at the facility, the level of insurance coverage the individual has, the location of the recovery program, and the types of treatments and therapies offered.

Typically, a person would expect to pay less in a short-term addiction treatment program, and it is also possible to find affordable and low-cost options. State-funded services operate differently and provide services at low cost or no cost. However, these programs tend to have a waiting list, which makes it difficult to access them. When searching for short-term addiction treatment programs, there are some things for the family and addict to consider. Initially, the cost of the program, the experiences and licenses of the staff working at the facility, the level of care offered, and if the facility is accredited. Families should also consider the location of the facility, the services provided, and the treatment modalities applied at the center.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2019, common reasons for not receiving substance use treatment among people aged 12 or older were not being ready to stop using drugs (39%), not knowing were to go for treatment (23%) and having no health care coverage and not being able to afford the cost of treatment (29%). Short-term drug rehabilitation programs are often more accessible for families and addicts, but may not be a good option for every drug-addicted individual.

Alternatives to Short-Term Drug Rehabilitation

The most common alternative to short-term drug rehabilitation is long-term treatment, but not every addict is committed to attending long-term substance use treatment. Whether you are attending a formal treatment program or exploring other options, there is some alternative to treatment. Some drug and alcohol treatment programs incorporate meditation, which is an effective approach to managing stress. According to a research article, Mindfulness Meditation for Substance Use Disorders: A Systematic Review, "the framework for mindfulness mediation suggests that it may be a promising approach to treating addictive disorders—meditation may also be a component of maintaining lifestyle balance, with medication acquired skills complementing and enhancing Cognitive Behavioral therapy" (introduction).

Recovery coaching is also an effective alternative to consider when thinking about rehabilitation. The purpose of recovery coaching is to keep others accountable for their own recovery goals, and these individuals are called recovery coaches. Per the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment in a research article examining the effectiveness of peer support—"peer support was founded to be salutary and is associated with improvements in a range of substance use and recovery outcomes" (highlights). Recovery coaching helps improve relationships, increases treatment retention, improves access to social supports, and reduces re-hospitalization rates.

Short-term drug rehabilitation offers therapy, but some individuals choose to attend therapy outside of a treatment center. Therapists could work with you one on one or in a group, depending on how comfortable you are. There are various modalities of therapy provided, and it is important to find one that is right for your addiction. Along with short-term drug rehab centers, another alternative would be an intensive outpatient program, which is an effective option for someone that cannot afford a 30 day stay at a residential treatment center. Intensive outpatient programs usually provide treatment for ten to twelve hours a week, depending on the level of care. According to a research article, Substance Abuse Intensive Outpatient Programs: Assessing the Evidence, "IOP's are an important part of the continuum of care for alcohol and drug use disorders. They are as effective as inpatient treatment for individuals seeking care".

Peer recovery groups are also an excellent option to consider, along with supplement and nutrient therapies, when following through with aftercare support. Peer support groups are affordable and accessible, providing stable and ongoing support when treatment has ended. Nutrient therapy involves incorporating healthy living choices, exercise, and other health therapies to ensure long-term recovery.

Terminology Surrounding Short-Term Drug Rehabilitation

Term Definition
Compulsive Behaviors performing the act of abusing drugs or alcohol persistently and repeatedly, even in the absence of reward or pleasure. Short-term drug treatment programs have the capability of addressing compulsive behaviors connected to addiction.
Continuing Care the ongoing care of patients suffering from addiction, such as aftercare support. Short-term drug rehab programs help clients set up an aftercare support program when they complete treatment.
Early Recovery typically, the first year of remission from a substance use disorder; upon completing a short-term drug rehab program, the person would be in early recovery.
Integrated Treatment Programs these are services that work to treat substance use alongside other co-occurring disorders. It is the combination of addiction treatment services with mental health treatment services. Short-term drug rehab programs often have integrated treatment services.
Intensive Outpatient Treatment is an intensive non-residential clinical treatment that often involves participation in several hours of clinical services several days per week.
Levels of Care various levels of treatment intensity ranging from outpatient to inpatient programs. During an assessment and placement, the most appropriate level of care is determined, which could be a short-term treatment program.
Mandated Treatment rehabilitation required through a drug court or as a condition of pretrial release, probation, or parole. Drug courts typically refer to short-term drug rehabilitation programs.
Mutual Help Organizations also known as self-help or peer support groups; are volunteer-run organizations that focus on socially supportive communication and exchanged of addiction and recovery. Short-term drug treatment centers were originally created around the 12-step approach.
Open Meetings 12-step meetings that can be attended by anyone with a substance use problem or family and friends. These meetings are intended to educate the public and concerned significant others about the nature and scope of the 12-step process. Upon completing a short-term program, most recovery addicts attend open meetings.
Partial Hospitalization a time-limited clinical service that is often medically monitored but is a step in intensity below inpatient hospital treatment. Some short-term treatment programs are connected with partial hospitalization services.

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.


Michael Leach, CCMA - Medically Reviewed on October 1, 2021

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Michael Leach is a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant, who has over 5 years of experience working in the field of addiction. He spent his career working under the board-certified Addictionologist Dr. Rohit Adi. His experience includes working with families during their loved one’s stay in treatment, helping those with substance abuse issues find treatment, and teaching life skills to patients in a recovery atmosphere. Though he has worked in many different areas of rehabilitation, the majority of his time was spent working one on one with patients who were actively withdrawing from drugs. Withdrawal and the fear of going through it is one biggest reason why an addict continues to use and can be the most difficult part of the rehabilitation process. His experience in the withdrawal atmosphere has taught him that regardless of what approach a person takes to get off drugs, there are always mental and emotional obstacles that need to be overcome. He believes having someone there to help a person through these obstacles can make all the difference during the withdrawal process.

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