Long-Term Inpatient Addiction Rehab

Although not everyone requires long-term inpatient rehab treatment for their addiction, this option gives many people the time and assistance needed to address their drug or alcohol addictions and manage their recoveries in various ways.

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When people think of rehab treatment, they sometimes think of programs that are twenty-eight days. While those programs might be helpful for some, many people need longer, more comprehensive treatment options.

What Is Long-Term Inpatient Rehab?

As the name indicates, long-term inpatient rehab consists of addiction treatment programs that last for longer periods of time. Such programs can last from ninety to 120 days, six months, a year, or even longer.

During inpatient rehab care, people stay in the places where they are receiving treatment. Also known as residential treatment, inpatient rehab requires people to receive treatment and lodging at rehab centers, hospitals, or other facilities during the period of their treatment.

Such inpatient approaches are different from other treatment options. For example, outpatient rehab is an approach where people participate in addiction treatment programs but continue living at home or in a sober living home during treatment.

The Aim of Long-Term Treatment Centers

A major aim of any rehab program is to help people address and treat their addictions to drugs, alcohol, or certain behaviors. The program strives to help people stop seeking substances and behaviors that fuel their addictions and from actively engaging in them.

Treatment programs also aim to help people address other problems so that they don’t lead to relapses from their sobriety or other addictions.

Compared to other treatment approaches, long-term treatment centers have the same goals. Long-term programs just last longer than other types of treatment options.

The Need for Long-Term Rehab Treatment

For most people, addictions don’t happen overnight. It takes a while for people to become dependent and addicted to alcohol or drugs.

When people use drugs or alcohol for a while, they’re exposing their bodies to more substances for a longer amount of time. The substances can change people’s brains so that they don’t release essential chemicals without the use of substances. This often causes those struggling with a SUD to believe they need substances in order to survive. Over time, the effects of these drugs are reduced, which causes the individual to need more and more to fill their cravings.

Such structural and functional changes can become entrenched in people’s brains, making it very difficult (and painful) for them to quit using alcohol or drugs. Since these addictions took time to develop, they also often require time to treat. Long-term rehab treatment provides such time.

About Long-Term Rehab Facilities

Individual long-term rehab centers are different, but many have similar approaches and goals.

Residential long-term rehab facilities are more than treatment centers. For their patients, they’re temporary homes. Because of that, long-term rehab facilities strive to provide comfort as well as addiction treatment assistance.

In fact, the sleeping areas and other accommodations of long-term rehab facilities might resemble the rooms of a hotel or spa more than the rooms of hospitals or other medical care facilities. Treatment can be physically and emotionally difficult, but professionals rehab facilities try to make the process as comfortable as possible.

Long-Term Residential Inpatient Treatment Process

Although long-term residential inpatient centers feature different offerings and patients have different needs, there are some characteristics that are common to many types of treatment processes.

People who are entering long-term inpatient treatment and are wondering what to expect in long-term treatment might experience a process that includes:

Intake or admissions: People meet with professionals at addiction treatment centers to start designing customized treatment plans during the intake or admissions process. Future patients may undergo psychological and physical assessments (tests) to determine the assistance they need.

Detox: People at rehab centers often undergo detox (detoxification) to remove alcohol or drugs from their bodies. Professionals might prescribe drugs or provide therapy to help ease any withdrawal symptoms patients might be experiencing during detox.

Therapy: People in long-term residential rehab centers usually undergo therapy (counseling and behavioral) to discover what triggers their addictions and ways to avoid these triggers. Rehab centers might offer individual, group, or family therapy as well as therapy options that incorporate art, music, nature, or animals.

Support groups: People in rehab centers may join support groups to meet with other people who are recovering from the same addictions. Such groups might provide the social support that newly sober people need, especially if they can’t return to friends who are still using alcohol or drugs.

Aftercare: People who are in long-term treatment should work with their centers to arrange aftercare treatment once they end treatment. Such assistance could include therapy or support groups and can help people transition from life in treatment centers to life in the real world.

Who Should Utilize Long-Term Inpatient Rehab?

While long-term inpatient rehab is available to anyone who needs it, the approach might be more beneficial for some people.

Since long-term inpatient rehab allows people to stay in the facilities where they’re being treated, the centers could provide a refuge for people who need to leave their environments. They might have friends and family members who are still using substances or are facing stressful situations that trigger their substance use disorder and addictions, so living somewhere else could remove them from the temptation of using.

Long-term rehab gives people more time to undergo detox and receive other medical assistance, such as procedures that taper people from certain drugs slowly. In addition, longer stays in rehab centers means people have more time to participate in multiple therapy sessions. Finally, longer stays give people more time and assistance to arrange aftercare and other strategies that can help them become sober and keep this sobriety.

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Why Not Choose Another Form of Treatment?

Spending more time becoming healthy and learning strategies to stay sober are some of the benefits of long-term inpatient care.

“Inpatients were more likely to report abstinence at three months (63%) compared with the day treatment group (38%),” wrote scholars who examined studies and reviews that discussed different forms of treatment, including inpatient treatment and outpatient day treatment programs.

No single type of treatment will help everyone, but long-term inpatient treatment centers can provide the assistance some people need to recover.


  • mass.gov – Substance Addiction Services Descriptions
  • drugabuse.gov – Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction DrugFacts
  • addiction.surgeongeneral.gov – The Neurobiology of Substance Use, Misuse, and Addiction
  • store.samhsa.gov – Detoxification and Substance Use Disorder Treatment: A Treatment Improvement Protocol – Tip 45
  • ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – Process Improvement Needs in Substance Use Disorder Treatment: Admissions Walk-Through Results
  • nbcnews.com – One More Chance: New Rehab Program Treats Addicts at Home
  • ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – Substance Use Disorder Intensive Outpatient Programs: Assessing the Evidence

Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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