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How long does drug rehab take, how much does it cost, will it work for me - and do I even need drug rehab?

How Long Is Drug Rehab?

Many drug rehabs operate 28 day programs, although 90 day programs are also common.

Longer is better - According to the national Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) rehabilitation programs of less than 90 days are of limited effectiveness. That being said, rehabilitation programs can occur on an outpatient and/or residential basis. For example, a person might choose to enter into a 28 day residential program and then step-down to a further 90 days of outpatient rehabilitation treatment, to make 4 months of rehab in total. 1

How Well Does Drug Rehab Work?

Before putting your life on hold (and likely paying a lot) to check into drug rehab, you want to know if it’s going to work – and ideally, you want to know what your chances of success are.

Addiction treatment does work, although it’s hard to predict who will find success in any bout of treatment. Variables that can affect the likelihood of success include:

  • The length of involvement in treatment (longer is better)
  • The presence of a mental health condition
  • The stability and sobriety of the home environment
  • Motivation to change

In general, addiction treatment works about as well as treatment for other chronic health conditions, such as diabetes treatment or treatment for hypertension. Relapse is a normal part of a life of addiction and a relapse does not mean that previous treatments were failures; simply that treatment is once again required. 2

How Much Does Drug Rehab Cost?

Drug rehab price tags range from free or almost free at charity programs to $50 000 a month or more at exclusive facilities. Health insurance can defray some, or in some cases all, of the costs of a private drug rehab.

Although for those on limited budgets, finding care can be tougher, many drug rehabs will offer care on a sliding scale fee schedule to those of more limited means, and your county health office can often refer you into subsidized care.

Subsidized care is generally available to anyone, regardless of their ability to pay for services, but waiting lists are sometimes an issue.

Do I Need Drug Rehab?

Should you get addiction treatment in a residential environment at a drug rehab, or will staying at home and attending an outpatient addiction treatment program provide you with what you need to stay clean and sober?

In general, the kinds of people that need the intensity of a residential treatment experience include:

  • People with symptomatic mental illness
  • People who cannot maintain sobriety, even for brief periods
  • People who have previously attempted an outpatient program and received limited benefit
  • People who do not have a sober living environment
  • People with very severe and long lasting histories of substance abuse
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Page last updated Aug 05, 2010

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