Long-term drug rehab programs offer the opportunity for people to put time and space between themselves and their drug addiction. Individuals have the opportunity to focus intensely on personal healing and growth. Typically, long-term drug rehab programs allow clients to actively pursue treatment for six months or more, with many people staying in residence for a year. Long-term drug rehab helps patients engage in medical detox, develop a complete treatment plan, get to know peers in recovery, try different types of therapy, and plans what the aftercare support will look like.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, long-term residential treatment provides care 24 hours a day, generally in a non-hospital setting. Most long-term drug rehab programs offer treatment for three to six months or longer. Treatment is highly structured and can be confrontational at times. Many of the activities in most long-term drug rehab centers help residents examine damaging beliefs, self-concepts, and destructive patterns of behaviour. Patients begin to adopt new patterns of behaviour and more harmonious and constructive ways to interact with others.
There are significant benefits to long-term drug rehab. Long-term programs provide an environment conducive to healing and the time to explore combinations of treatments. In addition, these programs provide space from stressful relationships and an opportunity to build up sober time with a safe and supportive environment. Long-term drug rehab is effective because it addresses all of the patient's needs and not just their drug abuse. These programs also provide ample opportunity to stay in treatment long enough to manage all aspects of addiction.
When is Long-Term Drug Rehab the Best Option?
Long-term drug rehab is the best option for someone who has been living with a drug or alcohol addiction for months or years. Someone who has been diagnosed with a co-occurring mental health disorder, someone who lives in a situation where other individuals struggle with drug addiction would benefit from a long-term drug rehab program. In addition, most people who attend long-term drug rehab have tried short-term drug rehab programs but have been unsuccessful. Also, other individuals who benefit from long-term drug rehab have struggled with suicidal thoughts or self-harming behaviour.
Another significant benefit of long-term drug rehab is the different counselling and therapy methods. Cognitive-behavioural therapy is the most common approach and was developed as a method to prevent relapse when treating problem drinking. Cognitive-behavioural strategies are based on the theory that in the development of destructive behaviours, the learning process plays a critical role. A central element of cognitive behavioural therapy is anticipating likely problems and enhancing the individual's self-control.
Some of the other behavioural therapies include contingency management interventions, community reinforcement, motivational enhancement therapy, the matrix model, 12-step facilitation, and family behavioural therapy. Other forms of therapy include experiential therapy, holistic drug treatment, and faith-based programs. Long-term drug rehab has the capability of offering more therapy and counselling, providing a well-rounded approach.
Overall, long-term drug rehab can increase the chances of success, but there are numerous factors that can impact the success of drug rehab. However, generally, a longer stay in drug rehab is equated with positive outcomes, all due to transitioning an individual through the steps of treatment and providing time to address the addiction, but underlying factors that contributed to the addiction. Recovering from drug addiction takes time, and longer residential drug rehab programs mean the needed time and space away from normal routines. In addition, individuals learn to cope with the chronic elements of addiction.
Some of the other benefits of long-term drug rehab include time for withdrawal period to pass, time to assess and address co-occurring mental disorders, and time to address underlying factors contributing to the addiction. In addition, the individual is given time to heal from the physical side effects of drug or alcohol abuse. Individuals attending long-term drug rehab are given the opportunity to learn positive coping strategies to reduce relapse and reinforce positive behaviours and habits. Finally, there is a smoother transition into recovery and aftercare support.
How Does Long-Term Drug Rehab Work?
Long-term drug rehab offers many different options to help patients. Most long-term drug rehab programs in inpatient, but some provide outpatient services to help addicts. Overall, intake is the first step, and rehab staff completes an evaluation about the addict's history of drug use and their physical or mental health. Some long-term drug rehab centers offer medical testing during the initial evaluation, while others may go through an initial questionnaire.
The next step is a drug detox to manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Most long-term drug rehab centers offer clinical or medically supervised drug detox. Typically, the type of drug detox is determined by the extent of withdrawal and accompanying withdrawal symptoms. The severity of withdrawal symptoms varies and depends on the type of drug. Following drug detox, the next step involves counselling and therapy. Various forms of therapy are provided and include traditional and non-traditional methodologies.
Long-term residential drug rehab programs provide daily routines of healthy activities. Typically, a schedule is set for each individual that offers structure and predictability. The goal of treatment is to create a relaxing environment that allows relief from life's anxieties. Overall, the schedule depends on what the drug rehab center has to offer, and there are certain activities that are done as a group. The final phase of treatment involves aftercare support, like peer support groups, 12-step meetings, and sober living homes. Aftercare support is essential because it provides an opportunity to become connected with other sober people and work on sobriety.
Are There Alternatives to Long-Term Drug Rehab Programs?
There are different alternatives to long-term drug rehab programs. Short-term residential is a common option and provides intensive but relatively brief treatment based on different approaches. Most short-term drug rehab programs were originally designed for alcohol problems, but during the cocaine epidemic, many began to manage other forms of drug addiction. Short-term drug rehab offers treatment for three to six weeks or longer and is a good option for someone who is not committed to long-term residential treatment.
Outpatient drug rehab is also an option and does offer long-term and short-term programs. Overall, outpatient drug rehab varies in the types and intensity of services offered. The treatment costs less than residential drug rehab is often more suitable for people with jobs or extensive social supports. However, outpatient drug rehab is low-intensity and may not offer as extensive of treatment as a long-term residential program. Some outpatient drug rehab programs are designed to treat patients with major medical components, and most are designed to treat all aspects of addiction.
Additionally, there is individualized and group counselling separate from long-term residential drug rehab. Individual counselling focuses on reducing or stopping illicit drug or alcohol use. Counselling also addresses related areas of impaired functioning, like employment status, illegal activity, and family or social relations. Counselling separate from long-term drug rehab places emphasis on short-term behavioural goals. Individualized counselling also helps develop coping strategies and tools to abstain from drug use and maintain sobriety. Group counselling is also separate from long-term residential drug rehab. Research has shown that group therapy, when offered with other forms of counselling, produces positive outcomes.