How Long is Alcohol Rehab?

How Long is Alcohol Rehab?

how long is alcohol rehab

Table of Contents

The first and most challenging step in recovering from alcohol addiction is accepting that you have become powerless over alcohol. Unfortunately, many people live in denial, failing to acknowledge that they have become alcoholics. It is challenging to help drug users who are still in denial. However, once you accept your condition, you must be ready to go forward by seeking help and following your doctor’s instructions. Generally, this will involve some form of alcohol rehab.


If so, you may wonder how long the alcohol rehab program will take. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question because the amount of time you spend in rehab depends on various factors. For example, the duration will depend on your state when you enroll in the program and how your doctor or therapist has designed the program. It will also depend on whether you are admitted to an inpatient or outpatient program. Whichever program you choose, the first step is likely to be detoxification.


Alcohol Rehab: Detoxification

As you continue drinking alcohol, your body gets a buildup of toxins. Detoxification refers to the process of eliminating these toxins from your body. This process will allow your mind and body to heal from the effects of alcohol without suffering too much from life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.


Because detoxing from alcohol can potentially be fatal, it is essential to be supervised by a medical professional such as a member of our team at Liberty Bay Recovery Center. The detoxification process and how long it takes vary from person to person. It will depend on how long you have used alcohol and whether you are also using other drugs. You will experience various psychological, emotional, and physical symptoms during detox. Once the process ends, you may enter the post-acute withdrawal phase, where your cravings and physical symptoms will subside. However, you will still have emotional and psychological issues lasting for weeks or months after detoxification.


Each detox case is unique. The detox process may only take a few days for some people, while others may require weeks or months. If you have been excessively drinking alcohol for many years, your detox period will likely be longer than it would for a person who has been drinking for only a few years. On average, the initial detox from alcohol lasts between 7 to 10 days. Sometimes, people may experience detox symptoms for up to 14 days. However, even after the initial detox symptoms have cleared, psychological and physical issues can linger for months.


Can You Detox on Your Own?

Some people prefer detoxing at home for fear of embarrassment, shame, or stigma. However, detoxing at home can be unproductive and dangerous. Detoxification, just like other treatments, needs the support of professionals. Also, detoxification may have serious side effects, like psychosis or seizures. This is why you should be in an environment where medical experts can supervise you.


How to Detox Safely

The safest way to detox is in a medically supervised setting. Medical detox programs provide the support, safety, and comfort you need. In a medical facility, you can get emergency help if you experience life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. Additionally, if you have any underlying medical conditions, your doctor will be on hand to take care of them. Your detox process will also be personalized to help you get the best results.


Alcohol Rehab: Inpatient Rehab

There are many types of inpatient alcohol rehab programs. You can opt for either long-term rehab or traditional inpatient rehab. Your circumstances and diagnosis determine how long you will be in treatment.


Long-Term Inpatient Alcohol Rehab

Long-term alcohol rehab may take anywhere between three and 12 months. You will live in the treatment facility with other drug users to help one another in your recovery journey. These programs may include family or individual counseling and group therapy. The doctors may also organize for you to join support groups.


Traditional Inpatient Alcohol Rehab

Traditional rehabilitation for alcoholics requires at least 28 days. This mode of treatment can be recommended if you are a moderate drinker. The rehab program may include counseling sessions and group therapies involving your family. The rehab may sometimes last up to three months, depending on your situation. Traditional inpatient alcohol rehab generally takes three months to complete.


While in the rehab facility,  you will have to abide by certain rules and regulations. These rules vary from facility to facility and are tailored to ensure the patients get the best results. In addition, during your stay in the rehab, you will meet other addicts with whom you will be encouraged to form groups to participate in therapies together.


Some rehabs offer daily group therapies. There may also be individual therapies to address unique personal needs. Your days will be filled with activities to distract you from thinking about alcohol. Most of these activities include psychotherapies, 12-step meetings, and educational sessions to equip you with skills to maintain sobriety.


Can You Be Forced to Enroll in Inpatient Alcohol Rehab?

A parent or guardian can admit someone younger than 18 to rehab for alcohol without their consent. However, most states do not allow forcible rehab for adults. The main exception being a court sentence for an alcohol-related crime. However, your loved ones may feel inpatient alcohol rehab is the best option to save your life. In some states, loved ones can petition the court to have you involuntarily admitted to an inpatient rehabilitation program. The court will assess the situation and decide. Involuntary commitment to an inpatient alcohol rehab is often referred to as “sectioning.” Sectioning is often a last hope option for alcoholics who need urgent intervention.


Alcohol Rehab: Outpatient Programs

Outpatient alcohol rehab is a multistage program that does not require you to live at the treatment facility. The length of outpatient alcohol rehab programs will depend on your state and the facility that offers this service. On average, an outpatient alcohol rehab program takes about three months. There are three types of outpatient treatments for alcoholics: outpatient treatment, intensive outpatient treatment, and partial hospitalization.


Outpatient Treatment (OP)

This treatment is recommended if you are not so addicted. It provides structure and freedom. Generally, outpatient programs require you to attend at least three group meetings weekly, each lasting between three and four hours. This program is necessary if you need support to help you transition to independent living. In addition, this treatment may take only a few weeks.


Intensive Outpatient Treatment (IOP)

Intensive treatment is necessary if you struggle with alcohol use and cannot stop drinking by using your willpower. You will live in your home as you receive this treatment but will spend long hours at the facility. In most cases, IOP treatment can take three months.


Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)

Partial hospitalization requires more commitment than OP and IOP. It is recommended for heavy drinkers who need more care in a home setting. With this program, you will have to attend group meetings for five or seven days every week, and each session will last for between seven and eight hours. You can opt for this method if you require more support and intensive therapy. Your doctor can prescribe this treatment mode if you have a severe substance use disorder (SUD) or other underlying medical conditions. If you are unsure which type of outpatient treatment is best for you, leave this decision to your doctor, and stick to your doctor’s advice.


Advantages of Outpatient Alcohol Rehab

Outpatient alcohol treatment has many benefits. This treatment mode will ensure you have all the resources, tools, and skills you need to maintain sobriety. In addition, choosing a facility with a smaller group is advisable so you can receive more individualized attention and care. Other benefits of outpatient alcohol treatment include:


  • Engagement in evidence-based therapies, including eye movement reprocessing and desensitization, motivational interviewing, dialectical behavior therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy.
  • The treatment focuses on relapse prevention. You will be taught the techniques to help identify and prevent situations (triggers) that can cause relapse.
  • You will be taught life skills, including personalized vocational training and educational placement.


Alcohol Rehab: Aftercare

Once you complete your treatment, some facilities may allow you to join an alumni program as part of an ongoing aftercare plan.


How Long Does Aftercare Take?

Detox is only the first step in the treatment process. However, once you are successfully and safely detoxified, you must restructure your life to help build a solid foundation for your recovery. Aftercare programs can ensure that you maintain your sobriety for many years. Addiction treatment is an ongoing process that can extend for a lifetime. Once you graduate from a rehab facility, it may seem more straightforward to say no to drugs and alcohol, but as time goes by, you may relapse. This is what an aftercare program helps you avoid.


Aftercare is part of alcohol treatment and is a plan to support you and help you to avoid relapsing. Aftercare has no fixed duration because it is regarded as a new lifestyle. For example, some recovered alcoholics join support groups, like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), which considers membership permanent. Once you become a member of AA, there is no turning back.


What Constitutes a Good Aftercare Program?

For an aftercare program to be effective, it must have several activities and resources to keep the recovered alcoholic busy. The activities vary according to an individual’s needs though some activities are done in groups, like AA meetings. Common aspects of aftercare programs include:


  • Establishing a support system after you’ve completer alcohol addiction treatment
  • Sponsors, a mentor, or a guide who has been in recovery and worked through the steps.
  • Presence or recovery sessions such as AA’s 12-step meetings
  • Alumni groups with people who attended the same rehab facility
  • Group or individual therapy
  • Checking in with your case manager or counselor
  • Training for life skills like gaining financial freedom.


Counseling sessions, whether individual or group, are a crucial component of any aftercare program. Individual therapy sessions can help you work on what you missed during your rehab program. Your doctor will design a personalized program that meets your unique needs during such therapy.


On the other hand, a group therapy session is vital for helping you to work with others who also want to maintain their sobriety since working together as peers can help you fight cravings that can lead to relapses. Additionally, group sessions mean you will have a new group of friends to keep you away from your drinking buddies.


Recovery depends on your commitment to the treatment process. At Liberty Bay Recovery, our team will be happy to answer your questions or help you start on the path to a happier, healthier life of sobriety.