Short-term rehab can be effective for helping some people end an addiction, but the benefits of long-term rehab far outweigh those of short-term rehab, especially for severe or long-term addictions. A rehab stay of less than 90 days is of limited effectiveness, and a long-term program offers better outcomes for lifelong recovery.
Here are just five of the benefits of long-term rehab.
1. It’s best for treating addiction.
Addiction involves complex changes in the brain’s structures and chemical functions. These changes occur over time, and they affect thought and behavior patterns. Unhealthy thought patterns lead to self-destructive behaviors, and successful recovery depends on identifying and replacing these negative patterns.
Additionally, addiction almost always has underlying causes, which often include chronic stress, a history of trauma, or a co-occurring mental illness. Addressing these issues and developing critical skills for coping with stress, cravings, negative emotions and discomfort is central to successful recovery.
Just as it takes time to develop an addiction, it takes time to address complex issues and develop habits that promote recovery. One of the most important benefits of long-term rehab is that it gives you the time you need to get to the bottom of the addiction and end the need for drugs or alcohol.
2. It promotes healthy lifestyle changes and a productive routine.
Long-term residential rehab encourages, guides and assists clients as they make healthy lifestyle changes and develop healthier habits. Spending several months developing and practicing new habits in a structured, routine-oriented environment helps to ensure the changes you make will stick and that you’re equipped to fly solo once you progress through the program.
3. It fosters close, healthy relationships with peers in recovery.
Peer support is important in treatment and recovery. People who have never been addicted can’t fully understand what someone in recovery is experiencing, and they may be unsure how to support a friend or loved one. The shared experiences of addiction create a bond of camaraderie and commiseration among those in recovery.
Through group therapy, workshops, social events and recreation, peers in recovery help each other stay motivated, accountable and, above all, honest. Long-term rehab promotes the development of strong, healthy relationships that form over an extended period of time. These relationships are often very valuable once treatment ends.
4. It keeps out distractions.
Outpatient programs are effective for some people, but for many, trying to recover while living at home poses a number of serious challenges. Trying to recover while you’re coping with the stresses of work and home and struggling with cravings and negative emotions isn’t easy, and it’s often unsuccessful. The many benefits of long-term rehab include the ability to focus just on recovery without outside distractions, temptations or stress getting in the way of progress.
5. It offers a high level of support.
Support is one of the foundations of successful recovery, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. A high level of support is crucial in the early months of recovery, and long-term rehab provides sturdy support while you’re in treatment and beyond. Support comes from staff and peers in recovery, and it’s available around the clock. Working through the complexities of addiction takes time, and being able to reach out for help whenever you need it in the early months of recovery is a major benefit of long-term rehab.
Ready to Recover? Reap the Benefits of Long-Term Rehab
The benefits of long-term rehab are far-reaching and improve your chances of successful recovery once you’re flying solo after treatment. Long-term rehab gives you the time and space you need to sort through a variety of issues and develop crucial skills for a healthy, happy and productive life after rehab.