Josh Chandler | October 9, 2018

How Long Does Rehab Take?

If you or a loved one are looking to go into rehab, you may be wondering exactly how long the process will last. Learn more with this handy guide as we answer the burning question: how long does rehab take?

They say that time heals all. But no one ever says how much time it takes.

Having your loved one checked into rehab is a great feat – it’s the first step on the road to recovery. But this doesn’t mean it will be easy for the patient or for their friends and family.

Rehab can be a truly trying time for everyone involved, a time which you may want to be over as soon as it has begun. To properly prepare yourself, we look at one of the most asked questions when it comes to rehab – how long does rehab take?

How Long Does Rehab Take

A full recovery from addiction is more than just overcoming being physically addicted to a substance. Addicts will need continued support throughout rehab in working through their psychological addiction, as well as their physical addiction. When entering a rehab facility, the trained professionals at the facility will assess which treatment will be most beneficial for your recovery, affecting the length of time the patient will need to be in rehab.

An important factor to consider is that no single treatment is appropriate for everyone. The treatment, and thus length of time in rehab, is dependent on the type of drug and the characteristics of the patient. There is no predetermined length of time for addiction treatment that is considered standard across the board, just guidelines based on research done by professionals in the field.

The length of time needed for a patient to truly heal both physically and mentally depends on several factors. When asking yourself how long are rehab programs, keep in mind that programs for users are constantly being assessed and adapted to find the length of time that is best suited for the individual. Do not be discouraged when you and your loved one’s rehab program is extended – you are still on the road to recovery.

Types of Rehab

Just as there are many types of addictions, so too there are many types of rehabilitation treatments. Depending on the severity of the patient’s addiction, the rehab facility will asses which treatment will be most effective for the patient. This will affect the amount of time they will be required to spend in rehab.


Detox is generally the first step for any patient in rehab. This process involves flushing the body of drugs or alcohol from the body. While this can be a scary time for both the patient and their family, it’s a crucial part of the road to recovery.

According to, the average time for a medical detox takes between seven to ten days. In some instances, a full detox is all that is required when being treated in rehab, but more often than not it is just the first step in the full recovery process.

The average time for an alcohol detox is three to fourteen days. A detox from heroin addiction can take four to ten days, while methadone can take ten to twenty days. Benzodiazepines can take anywhere from two to eight weeks, or even longer.

Outpatient vs Inpatient

There are two main categories of drug and alcohol treatments – outpatient rehab and inpatient rehab. As the names suggest, inpatient treatment involves having the patient stay at the rehab facility so that he or she can be closely monitored during the recovery process. Outpatient rehabs are more part-time programs, allowing the patient to still keep going to work or school during the day.

A traditional inpatient alcohol rehab program lasts for approximately 28 to 30 days. However if necessary for the recovery of the patient, some treatments can be extended to up to 90 days and still be considered a relatively short-term inpatient program.

A long-term inpatient alcohol rehab program is more intensive and is often recommended for users with severe alcohol, drug or gambling addictions. This type of rehab program generally requires a minimum stay in a rehab facility for at least three months. However, some long-term inpatient rehab programs require a stay of several months to a year.

The length of outpatient rehab programs is much more varying. This type of rehab is generally recommended for users who have already completed an inpatient rehab program.

During these programs, users are usually required to attend weekly group therapy sessions and support groups, or one-on-one counseling. The average length of time for an outpatient program is about ten weeks, during which the user spends 4-6 hours per week in attendance. However, this is just an average length – an outpatient program can last anything from several weeks to several years, depending on the needs of the individual.

The Longer the Better

When asking yourself how long does rehab last, it’s important to know that the longer the amount of time spent in rehab, the greater the chances of a full recovery.

Studies by both the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) had advised that users who want to have a full and successful recovery should enroll in a rehab program that is at least 90 days.

In addition to detox, rehab involves several steps towards a full recovery. Psychological treatment is a lengthy and often ongoing process that entails teaching the patient to deal with life’s problems without turning to alcohol or drugs. This is something which cannot be done overnight.

There is also the vital step of maintenance. Some may argue that rehab is a lifetime commitment that never truly stops. For years after completing rehab programs, many recovering users may find that they will need outpatient counseling or group therapy for years to come.

Start the Road to Recovery

It’s a sad statistic from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), but in America, around 22.7 million individuals need treatment for drug or alcohol abuse. But every year, less than 1% receive the help that they really need.

The truth is that you don’t need to be physically addicted to a substance to need rehab. If alcohol and drug abuse or gambling addiction are causing negative effects in your life, it’s time to seek help.

If you have more questions about how long does rehab take, don’t be shy to get in contact with us. We will help you find the perfect rehab program option designed specifically for you and your needs.

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Josh Chandler
Josh Chandler
After growing up in Chicago and North Carolina, Josh chose to get help with substance use disorder and mental health in California because of the state's reputation for top-tier treatment. There, he found the treatment he needed to achieve more than five years of recovery. He's been in the drug and alcohol addiction rehab industry for four years and now serves as the Director of Admissions for Resurgence Behavioral Health. Josh remains passionate about the field because he understands that one phone call can alter the course of a person's life.

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