Addiction is a complicated disorder that does not have a quick fix. Many people need the support of a treatment program to reframe their lives and let go of substance use, and this does not happen overnight. Long-term drug and alcohol rehab programs provide the time and space necessary for individuals to make a lasting life change.
Benefits Of A Long-Term Rehab Program
A long-term residential stay at a rehab facility may offer a completely different environment than an individual is accustomed to. At home, they are likely surrounded by reminders of their substance abuse. The people in their lives may encourage unhealthy habits.
Long-term rehab programs usually take place in a home-like setting. Instead of battling negative influences, a person is immersed in a therapeutic community of people who are working toward the common goal of recovery. This community generally includes certified medical staff and counselors who are trained to help people overcome addiction.
Having the support of others can be vital to the healing process. Long-term treatment encourages positive relationships among therapists and peers. The structured environment promotes discipline and the formation of healthier habits.
The most important aspect of long-term treatment is that it gives someone time to heal. A typical short-term program lasts only 30 days or less, which may not be enough time to deal with all of the issues contributing to addiction and resulting from it. A long-term program is able to explore these matters in depth and work through them before a person leaves treatment.
While a short-term program generally lasts for a set amount of time, long-term treatment programs vary in length depending on the needs of the individual. These programs frequently extend to 60 days, 90 days, 120 days, six months or a year. This flexibility allows for more individualized care.
Who Needs Long-Term Addiction Treatment?
Ninety days or more in a treatment program is what most people need to establish a significant change in their substance use, notes the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Long-term treatment may be especially beneficial for people who suffer from severe addictions, relapse, polysubstance abuse or co-occurring disorders.
If an individual has been abusing drugs or alcohol for a long time, it will probably take longer for them to change. The longer a person suffers from addiction, the more ingrained the substance use may be in their life, and the more difficult it can be to live without.
Sometimes an individual completes a treatment program successfully, only to relapse when they return to everyday life. This may indicate that they need more time to change their thoughts and actions, and more tools to combat addiction relapse. An individualized long-term program equips people to recognize triggers and alter the way they live their lives.
Individuals who abuse more than one substance (called polysubstance abuse) are at a higher risk of a complication resulting from drug use. They may require a more specialized recovery program, as different substances affect the mind and body differently. Part of healing from addiction is understanding the unhealthy physical and mental effects that each substance produces.
People are more likely to develop an addiction if they have gone through a traumatic experience, which often occurs in childhood and lingers into adulthood. Mental disorders also make people more susceptible to addiction. A long-term program is able to examine many facets of a person’s mental health.
What To Expect In A Long-Term Rehab Program
Our long-term program at The Bluffs begins with a medically supervised detox program for individuals with an addiction to alcohol, opioids or benzodiazepines. The intense physical dependence elicited by these substances can cause the withdrawal process to be fatal. Medical monitoring ensures a person’s safety and relative comfort during this process.
After detoxification, individuals undergo a medical and psychological assessment to determine an appropriate course of treatment. Long-term addiction treatment plans are not only customized by time limit. They also incorporate a combination of evidence-based therapies that give each individual their best chance at a successful recovery.
Many factors can influence a person’s recovery needs, such as the type of substance used, severity of addiction, and co-occurring mental disorders. The goal of a drug and alcohol rehab program is to prepare someone to live substance-free in the face of temptation, and this is unlikely to happen with only one type of treatment.
Treatment methods that may be used in a long-term rehab program include:
- Behavioral Therapy: Cognitive-behavioral and dialectical behavior therapy are commonly used in addiction treatment. These therapies help an individual recognize negative thought patterns that lead to unhealthy behavior. They also help someone learn to cope with their emotions and resist outside influences.
- Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT): Stepping down from some drugs can decrease the likelihood of relapse. Buprenorphine is one type of medication that may be used to reduce cravings associated with opioid addiction, helping a person focus less on discomfort and more on recovery.
- Peer Support: Associating with people who are going through the same struggle can be very therapeutic. In a long-term treatment community, residents work together to help each other through the phases of recovery. Many people are at different stages in the healing process and can provide guidance from their own experience.
- Stress Management: The inability to deal with stress effectively leads many people to abuse substances and develop an addiction. Mindfulness, yoga, meditation and coping techniques may be used in treatment to teach a person how to naturally alleviate stress.
- Recreation Therapy: Though addiction is a mental disorder, physical health can be just as important as mental health in a drug rehab program. The body and mind are interconnected, and healthy practices like fitness and recreation can encourage mental healing.
These therapies work together with other treatment methods like counseling and family support to prepare a person for life after rehabilitation. The flexible time frame allows for a holistic approach to treatment. Changing the way a person thinks, acts and controls their emotions inevitably changes their whole life.
It takes time for someone to adjust to living without drugs and alcohol, and without proper preparation, relapse is likely to occur. Long-term treatment programs have higher success rates and lower rates of relapse than other types of addiction treatment.
The daily schedule in a long-term treatment program is full of activities. This removes the opportunity for distraction and facilitates the intensive work of recovery. The non-clinical environment serves to avoid unnecessary stress by making residents as comfortable as possible.
Our long-term rehab program at The Bluffs offers dual diagnosis treatment to individuals who suffer from a substance use disorder and co-occurring mental disorder. Since mental troubles can contribute to one other, dual diagnosis treatment works to resolve both issues at once and increase the chance of complete recovery.
For many people, long-term addiction treatment lays the foundation for a life without substance abuse. These programs teach relapse prevention skills that build on what is taught in treatment. Aftercare services are available to provide continued support to individuals as they return to normal life. Taking the time to truly heal can make all the difference.