Extinction Bursts And PAWS

Treatment Planning: How Long Should I Stay In Treatment?

Until just the last few years, the average length of stay recommended for those seeking treatment for drug and alcohol addiction was between 28-30 days. Called the Minnesota Model, the one month or four week stay was considered the golden answer to treatment. The length of stay worked for all the right people like insurance companies, treatment providers, and even the military. Over the years, however, recovery professionals realized that the four week model was not working for the people it needed to work for the most- the men and women who needed to recover from addiction.

Addiction, as it is said, doesn’t happen in a day. For most individuals, addiction doesn’t even develop in four weeks – though it can. Some feel they knew the minute they had their first drink or drug there would be a problem. Others drink or use ‘normally’ for long periods of time until a chemical dependency develops and becomes a real problem. The differences in how people come to need treatment highlights an important point. Not only does addiction not happen in a day, it happens differently for everyone. Assuming that, firstly, addiction can be treated in a short amount of time and, secondly, that the same four week approach could work for everyone, simply doesn’t make the most sense. For this reason, most treatment providers today offer individualized treatment plans for various lengths of time, most often long term.

Long term treatment means just that – long term treatment. Being in treatment for 60 days to 90 days to 6 months or beyond means being in a clinically supported, recovery focused, abstinence based environment for a longer amount of time. Recovery happens the second someone is able to say “no” to picking up a drink or drug again. Learning to live sober – to take on all the responsibilities and unexpected chaos of life without picking up a chemical substance- takes time. It also takes security, a professional team, a fellowship of recovering individuals, a safe living environment, a structured schedule, organized ways for having fun, required recovery support meetings, and an ongoing focus on recovery.

When answering, “How long should I stay in treatment” the truthful answer is: as long as you need to. More aptly, as long as your treatment team suggests you need to stay in treatment. Remember that addiction is a progressive disease, one that has a high rate of fatality. For any other medical issue, prolonged treatments are rarely debated. Individuals are willing to do whatever is necessary for however long necessary to ensure that their medical issue is put to rest. Addiction is the same. Treatment should last however long necessary to increase the likelihood of sustainable recovery.

Tree House Recovery offers a customized approach to treatment which gives men in our program exactly the timeline they need to recover. Through our programs, men find freedom from addiction. Call us today for information on our Orange County programs: (855) 202-2138

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