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How Long Should You Stay In Drug Rehab?

two people hugging at a drug rehab

Addiction, also referred to as substance use disorder, is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), as a chronic brain disorder. It is characterized by compulsively engaging in rewarding stimuli (e.g. using drugs) without regard for consequence. While the precise reason as to why an individual develops substance use disorder remains unknown, there are several risk factors that have been identified as increasing one’s susceptibility (e.g. genetic factors, environmental factors, biological factors, etc.). An individual that struggles with addiction will prioritize satisfying her drug cravings above all else, which will adversely affect every area of her life. Every individual is different and will have a distinct physiological response to habitually abusing drugs. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the recovery process from addiction would be entirely unique to each individual. There is no universal timeframe that yields successful results for every person in treatment. 

Contributing Factors

Every individual is unique and each will require a customized treatment plan in order to effectively satisfy one’s nuanced needs. Each person that begins a substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment program brings her own worldviews, experiences, challenges, and persona. The length of time an individual should spend in drug rehab for it to produce effective results should consider, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Type of substance abused
  • Personal health history
  • Length of time she abused substances
  • The potency of substance abused
  • Presence of any comorbidities
  • If other substances were simultaneously abused 
  • Amount of substance abused each time

There is a variety of contributing factors that will directly inform an individual’s substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment plan, as well as the ideal duration of her treatment.


There are many different rehab programs available, most commonly they are either structured as inpatient treatment programs or outpatient treatment programs. Inpatient treatment offers a fully immersive experience, as it requires its participants to reside at the treatment facility for the duration of the program. Outpatient treatment programs do not offer room and board but instead require participants to attend a certain number of treatment hours, daily, for the duration of the program. Depending on one’s needs, either option can produce successful results. The duration of each program is variable. Most substance abuse and/ or addiction rehab programs can last anywhere from fourteen days long to six months long, and in some cases, longer. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), produced findings that indicate that the longer an individual spends in substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment can directly increase her outcome in recovery. The question of how long to stay in rehab is a question that should not be taken lightly and should be a decision that is arrived at with the help of one’s clinical team. 

For Information and Support 

Substance abuse and addiction can be incredibly dangerous and can result in severe short and long-term consequences. If you or someone you know is suffering from substance abuse or addiction, please get help as soon as possible. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to leading happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives. There is no reason to go through this alone, and we are here to help. Please feel free to reach out to us for further information or with any questions regarding substance abuse or addiction. We are available anytime via telephone at: 213-389-9964, or you can always email us at:

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