The length of time you spend in inpatient rehab varies based on your recovery needs. One of the main principles of effective treatment is that longer stays tend to be associated with better treatment outcomes. This means staying long enough to benefit from the various medication and behavioral therapies—however, everyone’s treatment timeline is different.1 Most treatment centers offer 30 day rehab, 60 day rehab, and 90 day rehab options, each having its own advantages and disadvantages.
In this article:
- What is 30 Day Rehab?
- Advantages of 30 Day Rehab
- Disadvantages of 30 Day Rehab
- What is 60 Day Rehab?
- Advantages of a 60 Day Rehab
- Disadvantages of 60 Day Rehab
- What is 90 Day Rehab?
- Advantages of 90 Day Rehab
- Disadvantages of 90 Day Rehab
- Which is Better for Recovery?
- Find the Right Rehab for You
What is 30 Day Rehab?
Treatment services for a 30 day rehab program help you detox and learn recovery skills necessary to prevent relapse. The first week focuses on detoxing your body using medically supervised treatments. Once detoxed, you can begin participating in educational and therapeutic activities.
Advantages of 30 Day Rehab
Not everyone is ready to quit misusing alcohol or drugs when they enter inpatient rehab. However, they will more likely commit to a short stay, like 14 or 30 day rehab programs. That’s okay. They don’t have to be ready. Once in treatment, they may change their mind and commit to an additional 30 days once they become clear-minded and benefit from the advantages of the program.
Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
Medication-assisted treatment is the process of utilizing FDA-approved medications to help someone obtain and maintain sobriety from opioids or alcohol. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, MAT provides the following advantages:2
- Preventing overdoses and saving lives
- Helping people commit to the average length of stay in rehab
- Improving a person’s ability to get a job and maintain it
- Reducing a person’s risk of getting or giving a disease when sharing needles
Introduction to 12-Step Facilitation Groups
Groups that use the 12 Steps to guide you through the recovery process include Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. In a 30 day rehab program, you will join the groups at the inpatient facility. Benefits of attending 12 Step groups include:3
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2008 requires insurance companies to include substance use disorder treatment in their plans and treat them as if they were any other medical disease. Many insurance companies are changing policies that cover inpatient rehab costs, at least for detox and 28 to 30 day rehab treatment. The exact coverages vary for each company, and many require you to seek treatment from providers in their network. This is still better than insurance from the past.4
You can discover various options for payment by doing a little research. Search for the following:5
- Payment plans offered by the rehab
- Scholarships, grants, or loans to attend the rehab
- Other ways to pay such as credit cards
- Community non-profits
- County or state funding allocated for treatment
- State insurance
- Sliding scale fees or discounts
In a 30 day rehab program, you start behavioral therapies in individual and group activities. When someone is on medication-assisted treatment and combines that with behavioral treatment, their chances for recovery success increase. Behavioral therapies enhance relapse prevention skills, communication skills, and more. Types of behavior therapies include:6
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Motivational enhancement therapy
- Contingency management
- Family therapy
- Mindfulness-based interventions
Disadvantages of 30 Day Rehab
For every advantage, there is a disadvantage. Sometimes there just isn’t enough time to make substantial progress. Disadvantages common among 30 day rehabs are primarily due to the short length of stay. With only 30 days of treatment, you miss out on the following:2,3
- Extended benefits from medication-assisted treatment
- Family engagement in recovery treatment
- Long-term benefits of the 12 steps like getting a sponsor and peer support
Leaving treatment too soon often leads to relapse since you hadn’t learned all the skills needed to recognize triggers and avoid the people, places, and things that can be tempting reminders of when you misused substances. Depending on your insurance company, a lack of financial support past 30 days can be a considerable disadvantage.4
What is 60 Day Rehab?
Adding thirty more days to your treatment program gives you more time to get used to being sober. You get to continue receiving all the advantages of a 30 day rehab program, plus much more.
Advantages of a 60 Day Rehab
Continued Medication-Assisted Treatment
Continuance in medication-assisted treatment can ease prolonged or chronic withdrawal symptoms that can last months after detox, often called post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS). Reports suggest at least 75% of people entering recovery experience PAWS. Medication and behavioral therapies will help ease post-acute withdrawal symptoms, such as:7
- Cognitive dysfunction
- Mood swings
- Sleep disturbances
- Increased sensitivity to stress
Plus, taking addiction treatment medications for opioid or alcohol addiction for longer periods can help prevent relapse due to reduced cravings.
More Time to Work Through Issues
You likely didn’t develop a substance use disorder for no reason at all. Something in the past may be contributing to your current substance misuse. For some people, it is past trauma, such as sexual abuse or coping with the death of a loved one. For others, it was low self-esteem that gave into peer pressure. Risk factors make it more likely for someone to misuse drugs and alcohol.8
Staying in treatment for longer periods gives you additional time to learn more about why you developed a substance use disorder and about your risk factors, which may include:8
- Lack of parental supervision
- Neighborhood influence
- Access to substances
- Community poverty
- Aggressive childhood behavior
- Low peer refusal skills
- Parental alcohol and drug misuse
- Academic problems
- Poor social skills
In a 60 day rehab, you can also learn the protective factors that can help you avoid or overcome a substance use disorder, such as:8
- Healthy relationships
- Access to positive resources
- Support from family and friends
- Belief in yourself
- Healthy coping skills
Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders
Attending a 60 day rehab allows your treatment team to adequately treat co-occurring disorders that may be present. Co-occurring conditions are common among those with substance use disorders. Many times, anxiety and depression are current. Other times, mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder worsen after being self-medicated for a long time with substances.
A longer treatment time allows for a more personalized treatment plan for co-occurring disorders or dual diagnoses, considering the following for treatment:9
- Acute symptoms
- Chronic symptoms
- Substance use that causes the onset of mental illness
- Physical health
- Recovery capital
This information helps your treatment team create an integrated treatment plan using behavioral therapies, pharmacotherapy, support systems, aftercare planning.9
Extensive Family Therapy
Family therapy is vital because your substance use disorder impacts everyone close to you, and their behaviors influence your substance misuse. You get very little family therapy in a 30 day rehab, while in a 60 day rehab program, you get multiple sessions that may include weekend activities to treat and heal your entire family.
Your family benefits from learning about Al-Anon and family support groups, education about the disease of addiction, setting healthy boundaries, improving overall functioning as a group, and caring for themselves.10
Disadvantages of 60 Day Rehab
The disadvantages of a 60 day rehab are that you may only get started on some of the advantages like family therapy, stabilization of co-occurring disorders, and practice using new sober skills.
What is 90 Day Rehab?
Twelve weeks or 90 day rehab gives you the best chance for success in recovery. While in treatment, you gain numerous healthy skills, all of which protect you from relapse. The more skills you acquire, the more protection you have when encountering triggers and temptations.
Advantages of 90 Day Rehab
You have already benefited from the 30 and 60 day rehab advantages. Yet, there is more. Staying in 90 day rehab or longer helps you learn even more about yourself and why you misuse substances.
Understanding Neural Influences
The more knowledge you gain, the more power you gain to overcome a substance use disorder. Understanding how your brain works when triggered can help you make better decisions in the heat of the moment. You can learn to recognize drug cues that motivate you to want to relapse and the behaviors associated with acting on that motivation. Then, you can learn how to handle drug cues to avoid a relapse properly.11
Accurate Aftercare Planning
While there is aftercare planning in 30 day rehab and 60 day rehab, it’s possible you haven’t built enough trust with your treatment team for them to accurately connect you with the resources that will keep you engaged in your recovery. A positive therapeutic relationship can help you and your team make better decisions about aftercare services, which may include:12
- Job training
- Continued education
- Medical care
- Continued psychiatric care
- Continued medication for withdrawals and cravings
- Family therapy
- Transportation to appointments
- Community 12 step and other support groups
- Social support
- Recovery activities
Continued Peer Support
The importance of peer support in recovery cannot be understated. Peer support involves receiving feedback from peers in recovery and giving feedback as well. Offering encouragement, sharing your story, and supporting one another make you feel less alone in your journey. Peer support benefits include:13
- Increase in self-esteem
- Increase in self-efficacy
- Reduce risky behaviors
- Reduce cravings
- Increase in treatment engagement
- Sustain abstinence
Reach Family Counseling Objectives
With 90 day rehab, you and your family can reach treatment goals that will forever change how your family functions, setting you up for success in recovery. Improvements you can see include:10
- Motivation for making positive changes
- Communication skills
- Identification of family roles
- Formation of healthy boundaries and rules
Disadvantages of 90 Day Rehab
The downsides of long-term recovery treatment may include the following:14
- Missing family members
- Asking family and friends to watch your children or pets
- Not being able to work or attend school
- Costs, depending on your insurance coverage
- Unmet responsibilities
Which is Better for Recovery?
Research shows that longer treatment stays tend to result in better outcomes.1 Therefore, 90 day rehab would be best, followed by 60 day rehab and then 30 day rehab.
However, every person has different needs, the severity of substance misuse, support, risk factors, and motivation to change. The length of the program right for you may not be suitable for someone else. The list below can indicate that you need a longer treatment stay:15
- Severe withdrawal symptoms
- Previous relapses
- Personal problems related to substance misuse
- Broken relationships due to substance misuse
- Lack of support for recovery
- Mental health disorders left untreated
Find the Right Rehab for You
When you start searching for inpatient rehab, consider the following:
- Do you need medication to help with withdrawal symptoms?
- Do you qualify for MAT (opioid or alcohol addiction)
- Which behavioral therapies do they offer?
- How do they measure treatment progress?
- How much does the program cost?
- Does the program accept your insurance?
- What is expected of participants?
- Who will be on the treatment team?
If you are ready to find the right 30 day rehab, 60 day rehab, or 90 day rehab for you, we can help. Call us at 800-838-1752 (Who Answers?) to be connected with a treatment support specialist who can help you find a program.
- National Institute of Drug Abuse. (2020). Principles of Effective Treatment.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2022). Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT).
- Donovan, D. M., Ingalsbe, M. H., Benbow, J., & Daley, D. C. (2013). 12-Step Interventions and Mutual Support Programs for Substance Use Disorders: An Overview. Social Work in Public Health, 28(3-4), 313-332.
- Abraham, A. J., Andrews, C. M., Grogan, C. M., D’Aunno, T., Humphreys, K. N., Pollack, H. A., & Friedmann, P. D. (2017). The Affordable Care Act Transformation of Substance Use Disorder Treatment. American Journal of Public Health, 107(1), 31-32.
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2022). What to Know About Alcohol Treatment: What About Costs and Insurance?
- Kiluk, B. D., & Carroll, K. M. (2013). New Developments in Behavioral Treatments for Substance Use Disorders. Current Psychiatry Reports, 15(12), 420.
- UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. (2022). Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms (PAWS).
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020). Drug Misuse and Addiction.
- Yule, A. M., & Kelly, J. F. (2019). Integrating Treatment for Co-Occurring Mental Health Conditions. Alcohol Research: Current Reviews, 40(1), arcr.v40.1.07.
- Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Family Therapy. (2020). Chapter 1—Substance Use Disorder Treatment: Working With Families. Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 39. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US).
- Noël X, Brevers D, Bechara A. (2013). A Neurocognitive Approach to Understanding the Neurobiology of Addiction. Current Opinions in Neurobiology, 23(4), 632-638.
- Duffy, P., & Baldwin, H. (2013). Recovery Post Treatment: Plans, Barriers, and Motivators. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy, 8, 6.
- Tracy, K., & Wallace, S. P. (2016). Benefits of Peer Support Groups in the Treatment of Addiction. Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation, 7, 143-154.
- Manuel, J. I., Yuan, Y., Herman, D. B., Svikis, D. S., Nichols, O., Palmer, E., & Deren, S. (2017). Barriers and Facilitators to Successful Transition From Long-Term Residential Substance Abuse Treatment. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 74, 16-22.
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2021). Treatment for Alcohol Programs: Finding and Getting Help.