Nearly all traditional 12 Step rehabs in the US deliver a 28 day or 30 day treatment model. This never was based on medical findings of what it takes to get somebody well again. Instead, it began years ago when insurance companies said they would pay for “up to 30 days” of drug or alcohol rehab. As a result, this agreed upon treatment schedule became widely adopted. Unfortunately it is purely money driven and is another reason why 12 step drug rehab programs have such low success rates.
Non 12 step rehab programs focus on the individual and work to get to the ‘why’ for the person’s addiction. This involves one on one counseling, cognitive therapy, education / life skills courses and other treatment to address the emotional side of the addiction. Non twelve step rehab treatment does not usually include group therapy.
As such, the process is more involved and time consuming with each patient. For example, with cognitive therapy, the treatment is based on the theory that our cognitions or thoughts control a large part of our behaviors and emotions. Therefore, changing the way we think can result in positive changes in the way we act and feel. Getting to the root of these emotional issues and negative thoughts and behaviors can release the underlying cause of a drug or alcohol addiction. But it also takes considerably more work and time to achieve this.
The length of a potential program can vary from person to person. Long-term rehab typically means a program in excess of 90 days; but could be as short as anything over 30 days. Some people may find that they need less time to overcome dependence while others may require a longer process. It depends on the person, the type of addiction and circumstances surrounding.
Most people do not realize that the shorter programs were often encouraged by insurance companies. Insurance companies decided to implement a limited number of days that they would pay for treatment. As a result, those who could not afford rehab otherwise decided to go with their only possible option.
The reason that more time in recovery is important is that it gives patients a longer period to understand and resolve the underlying issues that led to addiction in the first place. The initial step upon entering into drug or alcohol rehab is detoxification. After that, it is important that the patient becomes comfortable and starts the journey towards recovery. It is important to realize that drug addiction is not something that occurs after one or two weeks.
It recognizes the fact that most users are not new to the problem of addiction. These long-term programs allow the user to focus on the destructive habit patterns that led to addiction and identify and subsequently eliminate these patterns. This is not just offering a chance at sobriety – it is about understanding the problem and giving the individual the tools to avoid a possible relapse.
The traditional methods may offer some help to a handful of people, but research shows that long-term treatment options offer a better chance at lifetime sobriety. Especially if the patient has a family or home life that is not conducive to sobriety, has made multiple prior attempts at treatment or has health problems or other issues that may prolong detox.