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[ Opinion ]

Benefits Of Long Term Treatment: 30 days vs 90 Days

Not all treatment programs are created equal. They run the gamut, from bare bones detox clinics to holistic centers that offer yoga and meditation. As you compare your options and find out what your insurance will cover, you may see many different options. One of the biggest decisions that many people must make when they’re choosing a treatment program is: how long should I stay? What are the benefits of a long term treatment program?

From 30 to 60 to 90 Days in Treatment

A lot can happen in 30 days. Addiction counselors and treatment centers know this and plan accordingly, so that no matter how long you stay, you’ll receive good care. In some ways, 30 day programs and 90 day programs are similar. Both include intake and evaluation, physical detox, one on one and group therapy, and an aftercare program to prevent relapse. Depending on how long you decide to be in treatment, you may spend more time working one on one with a counselor. 90 days of personal counseling and support group work may accomplish more for you than 30 days of the same treatment.

The first 30 days, of course, are the most important for addicts who are trying to get sober. Beyond the physical withdrawal symptoms, which can continue for months, there is a mental rebound, as well. A recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that when alcoholics stop drinking, the dopamine levels in our brains plummet. This is a major contributing factor in relapse. Dopamine, the hormone that makes us feel good, disappears. Depression, isolation, mood swings, anxiety, and many other psychological issues can come up. 30 days may not be enough time to address these issues and gain a stable foundation for lasting recovery.

Treating Co-Existing Issues in Addiction

Although it’s impossible to say exactly what causes addiction, it’s undeniable that a co-existing disorder will exacerbate the issues an addict faces. Mental health issues are extremely common in people who have substance abuse problems. Good treatment centers appreciate this and offer special services to help addicts who are dealing with more than just drug and alcohol abuse. Common issues include chronic mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, borderline personality disorder, and eating disorders, among others. Many people who make their way into treatment are also coping with the emotional aftershock of rape, incest, or other kinds of abuse.

Although some people respond quickly to treatment, these deeper seated issues do take time to heal. A longer treatment program, especially one that specializes in dual diagnosis, may be the best choice for someone with more on their plate than just addiction. If you don’t know right now, that’s OK. The good news is, if your treatment center offers both 30 and 90 day programs, you may be able to stay longer if you decide you need more help.

Patience Makes Progress in Recovery

Anyone who has experience with long term recovery knows that it’s not an overnight matter. Every day invested in our recovery is a day well spent. That is especially true in early sobriety, when someone is learning to live without drugs and alcohol. Taking time to invest in our recovery can ensure we enjoy freedom from active addiction, for much longer. This time is never wasted—for many of us, our lives depend on maintaining our freedom from active addiction.

Depending on how long you’ve been drinking and using, the intensity of your withdrawals and cravings, and any other issues you may be coping with, a longer treatment program may be essential for your recovery. This is also true if you’ve relapsed and are giving rehab another try. Learning more about yourself and your addiction over a longer period of treatment could make the difference between another relapse and long term recovery. Statistics show that people who spend longer in treatment are less likely to relapse when they leave, because they’ve developed the skills and confidence to navigate sobriety in the real world.

There are many benefits to staying in treatment for 90 days. From mental adjustments to psychological help, putting in the extra time in treatment pays for itself in the long term.