The common approach to rehab is typically one that lasts a relatively short period of time, but that may be changing; recent news reports suggest that either long term rehab programs or shorter programs with a transitional period may actually be more beneficial to those struggling with addiction. When it comes to recovery from active addiction, the rehab program selected by the patient or his or her family may be the difference between success and failure in sobriety.

Differences Between Short and Long-Term Rehab

Short-term rehab typically lasts anywhere from 28 to 90 days, and while this period of time may be enough to help some addicts take their first steps toward a true recovery, it is often not enough time to make sobriety a habit. Long-term programs often last 120 to 180 days or longer, which ensures that clients have had plenty of practice when it comes to making better choices.

Not only does long-term rehab occur in specific stages, but it also affords patients the opportunity to plan for life after rehab. While the period following rehab may not necessarily be the first thought in the minds of the client and his or her support people, it is vitally important to consider options for the future; after all, relapse is likely to occur among those who feel lost or out of place in their own lives.

Short-term rehab certainly includes its own phases, and while they may be the same as those experienced by long-term patients, including detox, therapy and aftercare, the stages last a much shorter period of time. By progressing through the different parts of a long-term rehab program, clients have the chance to truly tackle their addiction as well as the issues surrounding it. Those asking themselves, “Why choose long term rehab?” may find that spending more time in each stage of a program benefits them in ways that they cannot understand until they have experienced it.

A Day in the Life of a Long-Term Rehab Client

While therapy, meetings and other aspects of recovery are a huge part of rehab, regular meals, structured activities and carefully monitored interpersonal relationships are a part of the daily life in a long-term rehab facility. In addition to getting clean or sober, rehab is largely about restoring a sense of socially accepted normalcy to the lives of clients who have been abusing drugs or alcohol for long periods of time.

After a long-term rehab patient has completed a supervised period of detoxification, he or she may find that the program begins to emulate normal, adult life in many ways. For example, while a rehab patient may attend therapy to work through their substance abuse issues and other psychological problems, he or she may also be given a job within the facility; depending on his or her experience in the outside world, this position may or may not be similar to what he or she does in the outside world. However, the actual job within the facility is of little importance; the fact that the patient has the opportunity to feel useful, regain his or her confidence and foster self-respect are the real point of work positions in rehab.

A Word on Nutrition

Those who have been actively abusing substances for a significant period of time may initially feel puzzled by the amount of food they are given or the fact that they are expected to eat multiple times each day. In addition to promoting a sense of normalcy, the fact that rehab facilities seem to focus a lot on mealtimes is related to nutrition. Not only do federal guidelines dictate nutritional standards, clients may be suffering from mild or severe undernourishment in the wake of substance abuse. Whether patients could not afford to eat properly or simply did not care to when they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, restoring the body is an important part of life in a long-term rehab facility.

Rehab is Worth the Time and Effort

Although actively addicted individuals may not see the point of going to rehab, enrolling in a program and making a true effort to reclaim a happy, healthy lifestyle really is worth the time and and effort that it requires. Outside of rehab, there are few other situations that are specifically designed to help clients overcome their substance abuse problems, restore a sense of normalcy and plan for a drug and alcohol-free life in the real world after rehab is over.