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How Long Should Addiction Treatment Last?

We get his question a lot. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to answer. To fully explain, and to help you understand why our treatment program is structured the way it is, we have chosen to dedicate the next several blog posts on this topic.

That being said, a person’s biochemistry, history of drug use, the type of substance or substances abused, and the severity of the addiction are all factors that must be considered when determining length of treatment. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, effective treatment takes at least 90 days (and longer for heroin).

How a Longer Stay Helps Recovery

addiction treatment durationBiologically, it can take months for your brain to develop new neural pathways in order to change a habit. If you or a loved one have ever tried short-term treatment but haven’t seen long-term success, this could very well be why.

Additionally, addiction is a complex disease that is much more than just using drugs or alcohol. For example, a person may turn to drugs to cope with trauma, depression or anxiety. In other words, drug abuse is not a lack of willpower or self-control. Oftentimes, deep, underlying issues are the culprit.

Long-term treatment gives recovering addicts more time to develop those new neurological pathways. It separates the person from an unhealthy environment and allows more time for self-reflection which helps the person focus on getting better.


Additional reasons that longer treatment duration is recommended include:

  • Coping strategies – staying in rehab longer helps recovering addicts develop skills to manage stressful or difficult situations in healthy ways.
  • Improved health – good nutrition and physical exercise are key to recovery. The longer the stay, the more time the person can learn to live a healthy, nutritious lifestyle after treatment.
  • Fixing broken relationships – addiction strains personal relationships. Repairing these relationships creates a stronger support system for the person after the treatment program has ended. It helps the recovering addict know they don’t have to go it alone in their fight against addiction.

Get Started at The Raleigh House Today

We recommend people stay in treatment for as long as possible for long-lasting healthy recovery.

For more information about our treatment program, call 720-891-4657 or visit the Resources section of our website.


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