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Is Longer Treatment Better?

answered 01:48 PM EST, Sun March 17, 2013
anonymous anonymous
If someone can go to rehab for any length of time what is the best amount of time to go for. Is longer always better. I am asking for someone who is a very heavy alcoholic who has been to rehab and outpatient treatment programs before. Is it best to go to like a year long program if possible?

Anna Deeds Says...

Anna Deeds A. Deeds
MSED, NCC, LPC

Thank you for your question. In my opinion, the longer the treatment, the greater the outcome. This is especially true for someone who has been in treatment before. Addiction is a lifelong disease so treatment should actually last the rest of your life. Of course, this doesn't mean someone needs to be in rehab forever. There are different levels of treatment which vary in time commitment and restrictiveness. The highest, most restrictive is inpatient rehab. However, there are halfway houses, recovery/sober living houses, intensive outpatient, partial hospitalization programs and Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. A person could start with inpatient and then step down to a halfway house which is less restrictive and then step down to a recovery house which is even less restrictive. This process can take a year or more. They may have employment, dealt with legal issues or even gotten a GED while moving through these levels of care. Let's say an alcoholic completes these programs and stays sober for three years but relapses and drinks for a couple weeks. They may not need to start all over with rehab but maybe an intensive outpatient could be like a refresher course to help them get back on track. This is just an example because the determination of what level of care a person needs involves many factors and has to based on the individual's situation. A qualified counselor can ask some questions about how much a person is drinking, their health issues, their willingness for treatment, their mental and emotional health, their home environment and their support system to make a determination for which level of care is most appropriate. The person would most likely be placed in the least restrictive treatment that would meet their needs. I hope this answers your question. 

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Page last updated Mar 17, 2013

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