Are Four Weeks Long Enough in Rehab?

Are Four Weeks Long Enough in Rehab?

Here’s the truth: There’s no exact answer for how long an addict should stay in rehab for alcoholism and drug addiction. It can take a month, three months, six months, or even an entire year. For some, it can even take years. This doesn’t even include aftercare once you’re out of the center, which can last for a year or more of outpatient treatment and weekly Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings, which are crucial for you to avoid relapse. The time needed for rehab depends on a lot of factors and differ from person to person. Regardless of unique contexts and individual differences, four to five weeks (or about a month) is considered the standard amount of time needed for effective rehab.

There’s No Exact Scientific Formula

There’s no evidence to suggest that a month is enough, just that it should at least be four weeks. Many people in the industry – from those who run their own rehab centers to doctors and experts who’ve opined on the stay an addict must undergo when under rehab – believe that four weeks is a standard industry time quote but isn’t a hard-and-fast rule that people should follow. In fact, many patients end up staying longer in rehab or as long as needed depending on their budget. Most package deals start at 4 to 5 weeks anyway.

  • Any Amount of Quality Time: Any amount of time is good as long as it’s quality time that actually impacts the wellbeing of the patient in question. Anecdotally, many therapists know from experience that longer stays result in lower relapse rates. Those extra days enable these pros to really get into the root of the matter, like a detective researching the root cause of why an addict started abusing drugs. It might be by accident and they’re genetically prone to addiction or it might be because of their environment.
  • Does the Length of Stay for Addiction Rehab Matter? Does your length of stay at your addiction rehab center of choice affect its effectiveness or not? It’s something that should be handled on a case-by-case basis. After all, addiction is a chronic disorder. It can be debilitating to undergo. For some, it can be outright life-threatening to boot. Rehabilitation treatment assists addicts in getting and staying sober.
  • The Importance of Acceptance: Acceptance is the first step when it comes to treating someone who’s addicted to drugs. Regardless of the length of stay required by a rehab clinic, if the addict in question refuses to get help because he’s in denial of his condition, then the rehab won’t even happen in the first place. In any case, seeking professional help is a must in order to help addicts get sober and stay sober when push comes to shove. In many cases, rehab saves lives more often than not.
  • Program Lengths Available: Many drug addiction and alcoholism rehabilitation centers such as Lanna and the like offer programs that last from 30 days to 60 days to 90 days or much longer. It can also be measured on a weekly basis, like four weeks to 12 weeks. Treatment times vary depending on the budget of the patient in question as well as the severity of their addiction. Sometimes, they might choose to stay for longer than the bare minimum of four weeks or 30 days just in case they want to better reintegrate into society.
  • There Is No Quick Fix Solution: Even though 30 days sounds tempting to undergo for the budget conscious, there’s no quick fix treatment plan. It’s a fact that even though this plan is cost-effective, it has higher relapse rates across the board. Therefore, it’s best to rely on the (dual) diagnosis of your rehab doctor in order to get a good suggestion when it comes to the appropriate length of time for you to stay in rehab until you’re absolutely ready to reintegrate yourself in society as a sober, drug-free individual. If you really want to save money, then go the rehab tourism route.

Things to Remember


Treatment times will differ because different centers offer different addicts with different addiction severity and different substance addiction types. If the variables are so numerous from one person to another, then it’s a fool’s errant to give such patients a one-size-fit-s-all solution. It’s like forcing a square peg into a round hole. There are even centers that offer inpatient and/or outpatient treatment programs. Which should you take?

It again depends on the severity of your addiction, among many other factors. In other words, shorter and cheaper stays aren’t necessarily the best course of action for you.

  • More Than 90 Days Reduce Relapse Risk: According to Bennett Fletcher, a research psychologist from the National Institute on Drug Abuse or NIDA, 35 percent of 1,605 cocaine users treated in rehab for 90 days or 3 months and below relapsed while only 17 percent undergoing treatment for longer than 90 days ended up relapsing. That’s proof positive that a longer stay can reduce your relapse rate, at least in accordance to the NIDA study.
  • Less Than 90 Days Is Similar to a 2-Day Stay: Another similar NIDA-funded study has 549 patients undergoing treatment in a residential rehab center for addiction. The researchers discovered that patients who left before 90 days had passed ended up with similar relapse rates to those who only stayed for a couple of days or a single day. This suggests that instead of four weeks of treatment, it should be 12 weeks.
  • The Impact of Longer Rehab on Teenagers: Longer rehab stays seem to specifically affect adolescents even better than their adult counterparts. According to a University of California study in 2001, the teenagers who stayed in rehab for longer than 3 months were less likely rather than more to relapse and heavily use illicit drugs, marijuana, and alcohol compared to those who only stayed for, say, 21 days or less than a month.
  • Substance Abuse Is a Chronic Disorder: According to studies, the reason why longer rehab periods beyond the 90-day mark have more of an impact than merely four weeks of rehab is because substance abuse is a chronic disorder. What that means is that recovering from addiction is a lifelong process and at the very least you should spend as much time undoing the bad habits you learned as the time you spent to learn them, which usually is much longer than four weeks.
  • More about The Lifelong Process: Because addiction recovery is a lifelong process, recovering from addiction in order to become sober or go back to normal before you were addicted requires more than just rehab or at least longer rehab. The extra time afforded by 90 days or more of treatment allows recovering addicts to develop abstinence strategies and treatment plans as well as to form more positive habits to replace their negative ones. There should also be a more robust aftercare program involved post-rehab.
  • NIDA Recommendations: The unofficial standard is four weeks, particularly when dealing with not so severe cases that’s borderline manageable through a weekly outpatient program. Regardless, even though treatment for any length of time is a good thing, it’s recommended by NIDA that addicts undergo a rehab period of 90 days or longer in order to ensure that their relapse rates are as low as possible. Otherwise, the extra time can instead be spent with a proper aftercare service to further prep the patient for “regular” life.

Why Does Drug and Alcohol Rehab Take So Long?

Substance addiction requires more time, therapy, constructive habit formation, and positive reinforcement in order to be fully rehabilitated from your body, but even after all that you need to continue working hard in making your drug-free life your “normal” versus the drug-addled one that became your “normal” once you formed that negative habit of substance abuse. Overcoming a substance addiction is only part of the recipe for success. Your rehab should be continuous because it’s an uphill climb and relapse can draw you in from the bottom of the cliff like gravity. It’s also more than overcoming a physical addiction.

Physical addiction is all about your body craving the drug you’re abusing because of a chemical compound or ingredient that’s part of it, like in the case of cigarettes and nicotine. However, after you’ve undergone detoxification and survived withdrawal symptoms, you still have to deal with the psychological effects or even causes of addiction that led you to abuse various drugs in the first place. That’s where therapy comes in. Outpatient programs also deal with this issue in the form of the 12-step program and ex-addicts serving as sponsors or guides to recovering addicts because they can share their experience towards achieving sobriety.

NIDA says that substance abuse and drug or alcohol addiction affects your brain functions, particularly the parts of your mind that deals with risk and reward, behavioral control, and learning and memory. Many drugs bypass or trick your brain into thinking that the drug is the reward, which reduces your dopamine or serotonin supply and reduces actual positive and constructive behavior that normally floods you with those reward chemicals. There should be an assessment of the psychological and physical negative effects of drug abuse in order to address them properly while you’re undergoing rehab regardless of how long it’s supposed to go on.


Sober Living Homes and The Extension of the Addiction Treatment

Going to sober living homes is a way for you to extend your addiction treatment’s length of stay. It also helps you transition back to your daily school or work routines you used to have before you became an addict. Sober living homes serve as the in-between stage between being in a residential or inpatient rehab center to somewhere that’s close to home but not quite there. It helps you reintegrate yourself into society gradually without fearing relapse.

It mainly serves as your bridge between the real world and the secluded rehab you’ve been in from 4 to 12 weeks or 30 to 90 days or more. You’ll also get all the social and environmental support you need so that you’re not overwhelmed by life after recovery when push comes to shove. Sober living homes offer residents the following:

  • A recovery-essential environment that’s peaceful yet reminds you of home.
  • The involvement of your family and friends in order to get the support you need to push you towards recovery and sobriety.
  • A center that’s quite like 12-step outpatient programs except this time it’s more of a mix of inpatient seclusion and outpatient peer-to-peer group therapy.
  • Peer group recovery sessions you can take part in so that all of you can share your experiences and encourage one another in your journey towards drug-free normalcy.
  • You can also learn more about behaviors that are healthy versus non-healthy ones on top of coping with cravings, proper nutrition for addicts, emotional stability, and goal setting.

What Happens During a Stay in Drug Rehab?

The bad news is that once you’re hooked on drugs, you’ll be dealing with cravings for them for the rest of your life even after you’ve completed more than 90 days of rehabilitation treatment. It’s simply a lifelong process that you should learn to deal with on the daily in order to recover your original sense of drug-free normalcy. Patients should be committed and use the right amount of time to achieve and maintain sobriety. It’s a worthwhile struggle because it can save lives from self-destruction and overdose deaths.

  • The Best Years of Your Life Could Follow: Most importantly, what follows can very well be the best years of their lives because usually in rehab, the things that drove you to using drugs in the first place in your life—like stress, genetic tendencies, and your overall environment—are substituted with things that are more positive and constructive in your life, like channels to unleash your creativity, starting a business, self-improvement books, developing your social skills, and so forth. Holistic therapy in particular is handy and will help you make the most out of your 30-day to 90-day stay.
  • Assessment First: When you first walk into a rehab center, whether it’s local or overseas in the form of rehab tourism, you’ll first undergo an assessment of what the nature of your addiction is and what underlying co-occurring conditions are also present in your system that can exacerbate or even cause your substance abuse in the first place. This is called dual diagnosis. The doctors and nurses will also take note of your medical history, gauge how bad your addiction is, and recommend the right treatment plan and menu for you.
  • Detoxification Process: Soon after you’ve been assessed, you’ll then undergo the detoxification process. Detox is a highly recommended service for addicts because there are probably traces of the drugs they’ve been abusing left in their body that requires immediate removal. It’s also during this procedure that you’re helped medically to better deal with withdrawal symptoms that sometimes could be otherwise fatal. Your body’s liver and kidneys as well as excretory system are equipped to get rid of your toxicity on its own but medical detox exists to make it as safe and as fast as possible so that it’s much safer than quitting cold turkey.
  • The Length of Detox: There’s 4-5 weeks of rehabilitation because 1-2 weeks or 3-14 days of it is usually dedicated to detoxification. The length of time of the detox can also depend on the severity of your addiction and what you’re addicted to. Some drugs are more problematic than others, after all. For substances like benzodiazepine and alcohol, you’ll need longer periods of medically supervised detox. This is because you might be faced with some severe withdrawal symptoms, especially if you quit them suddenly rather than gradually wean yourself from them.
  • Behavioral Therapy Interventions: Right after detox you’ll go into therapy. At least this time around the shrink isn’t as expensive as before because his contributions are subsidized by the whole rehab treatment package versus you going to a psychiatrist on our own. Patients are required to undergo behavioral therapy interventions such as one-on-one cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectal behavioral therapy (DBT) sessions because this is the part of the rehab where your brain is reprogrammed from having drugs running in your psyche 24/7 to more positive activities. Your point of view is also challenged so your mind isn’t so dependent on drugs.
  • Peer Group Sessions: You’ll also undergo peer group sessions on top of one-on-one sessions with therapists, particularly in the case of 12-step recovery programs that include sponsors or volunteer ex-addicts guiding you towards sobriety with their own experiences. It’s through sharing and caring with people who’ve undergone what you’re going through that you’re able to address the root cause of addiction. If it’s genetic, you’re taught behaviors and positive habits that promote drug abstinence so that your addictive tendencies have more constructive outlets. If it’s environment, you’re encouraged to move or change your surroundings as well as cut away bad influences in your life.

In Summation

According to Lisa Onken, an executive of NIDA, the more you get a treatment that helps you become abstinent on a continuous basis the better shape you’ll end up. It’s a bit of an oversimplification but more often than not, the longer you’re in rehab the better your outlook will be after rehab. Nonetheless, 4 week or 30 day rehab is still available but comes with the risk of higher relapse rates when push comes to shove. It’s all about making sure that the skills you develop to stay abstinent sticks with you after 3 months or so.

Alcohol Rehab

The standard Lanna Rehab Center stay is around 5 weeks but it can go longer depending on the needs of the patient and his readiness to reenter society. If he’s a high relapse risk then his stay might get extended and his aftercare menu might have to be customized to suit his needs to prevent him from falling off the wagon again. Indeed, the longer you’re in rehab the likelier you’ll be able to do the wide menu of holistic activities in the Lanna Rehabilitation Facility in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Lanna Rehab Will Get You Covered with a Long-Enough Rehab Every Time

Lanna Rehab offers the standard 5 weeks of treatment that at least is a week longer than the usual four weeks. Of course, as studies show, instead of 5 weeks or more than a month, the recommended period of time is 90 days or 12 weeks or 3 months instead. This is because the longer you stay in rehab and get quality help both mentally and physically as well as holistically, the lower your relapse rates will be (or so says NIDA and its studies on the subject). Regardless, Lana doesn’t only offer up to 90 days or more of treatment; it’s also all about quality.

You can get a special rehab tourism package at Lanna’s resort-like facilities that include dual diagnosis, individual therapy, group therapy, the 12-step program, CBT, DBT, and much more. Call now to know more about Lanna’s myriad of deals.

Martin Peters

Martin Peters has a BA (Hons) Dip HE Dip RN CSAT III and is the Group Program Director Lanna Healthcare. He is a Registered Nurse and Certified Substance Abuse Therapist working in the mental health field since 1994; Martin has had a wide range of experience in management and supervisory roles within established healthcare systems, and has provided consultancy services to a number of private and public sector organizations in the UK and Asia in terms of management, policy writing, accreditation and recruitment. Martin’s addictions experience has been in developing inpatient services in Thailand since 2009, both clinical and operational. He has been instrumental in expanding and developing a non 12 step inpatient treatment centre and opening a further inpatient centre with a 12 step approach, implementing KIPU Electronic Records, strengthening hospital partnerships, introducing a Scholarship for students under the Masters in Addiction Studies Program at The ASEAN Institute for Health Development and working with an international accreditation body. Martin has also been a speaker at several international conferences on addiction, including ASEAN conferences and has also guest lectured at Mahidol University (Thailand), University of Sarghoda (Pakistan) Institute of Medical Sciences (Pakistan) and has been a representative on the CARF Standards Advisory Committee for 2016.In 2015. Martin became a Co-Founder of Lanna Healthcare, launching Lanna Rehab in March 2016 and opening Jintra in January 2018. In June of 2018, Martin was involved in the merger of Lanna and DARA, becoming Thailand's biggest private licensed operator. Martin is currently a Joint and Asia Health Co Ltd Owner Operator of Lanna Healthcare Co Ltd, which under its umbrella manages Lanna Rehab in Chiang Mai, Jintra Rehab in Chiang Mai and DARA Rehab in Koh Chang - all Thailand MoPH Licensed Addiction Facilities providing world-class treatment in Thailand.

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