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Rehab Duration: The Value of Extended Treatment

A model for the treatment of alcoholism was developed in Minnesota in the 1950s. Called the “Minnesota Model”, Daniel J. Anderson, Ph.D along with others founded the 28-day treatment program. The goal of a treatment program then, as it is now, was to stabilize an individual. Despite his degree and involvement with the Hazelden Foundation, the four week time period was not extensively researched and there is no conclusive scientific research which indicates causality; meaning, that the effect a 28-30 day program has on long term sobriety is not evidence-based. In fact, much research has found that longer term treatment programs are more effective in ensuring longer term sobriety, if not lifelong sobriety. Like with many “standard” processes, there is a factor of political economy. Somebody benefits from the model. Part of the reason the Minnesota Model has prevailed for so many decades is that the insurance industry was willing to pay for that period of time in treatment.  

Many desire a quick fix to the problem of addiction and alcoholism. For whatever reason, four weeks seems like a manageable period of time to heal and essentially abolish a disease which has taken a lifetime to develop. Addiction does not develop quickly, though certain parts of it can. An individual can be predisposed to addiction from birth due to genetic inheritance. Personality traits, mental health disorders, life experiences, social environments, and much more can contribute to the penultimate development of addiction, long before the first drink or drug is consumed. Treatment for addiction includes examining a lifetime of contributing factors, healing the mind, body, and spirit, as well as learning critical tools for survival in sobriety without relapse. Four weeks simply isn’t enough to accomplish the extensive amount of rehabilitation required. After many years of living with the normality of substance abuse, four weeks is a mere interruption in a well-disciplined habit.  

Other arguments for long term treatment are obvious once they are examined. More time in treatment means more time in treatment. Less time in treatment means less time in treatment. Addiction is a chronically progressive and potentially fatal disease. The value of extended treatment lies in the value of a life. The longer an individual stays in treatment the better chance they have of staying sober long term and avoiding relapse. Extended treatment ensures more exposure to:

  • Structure
  • Daily schedules
  • Accountability
  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Medical and psychological support
  • Fellowship and Peer support
  • Clinical support
  • Safety and security
  • Ability to strictly focus on healing
  • Development of life skills
  • Learning to have fun without drugs and alcohol
  • Recovery support meetings

At Tree House Recovery, we’re helping men find freedom from addiction. Our treatment programs create sustainable change for sustainable recovery by helping men find their strength in body, mind, and spirit. For information on our Orange County programs, call us today: (855) 202-2138

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