How Long is Inpatient Rehab for Alcoholics?

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Recovery from inpatient treatment for alcoholism lasts 28, 60, or 90 days depending on the severity of the addiction.

Inpatient rehab for alcoholics (see our page here) centres provide 28, 60, and 90-day programmes, but certain people may need more time and continue for several months.

Patients experiencing a less severe type of alcohol addiction can opt for a shorter inpatient treatment like the 28-day programme.

People with a more severe type of alcoholism might enrol in a 60 or 90-day programme at a centre. Various reports say that long-term inpatient rehab provides a higher success rate of recovery than a 28-day treatment.

Inpatient rehab centres usually have an aftercare programme upon completing the therapy, like meeting with an alcohol counsellor.

This is to prevent withdrawals and relapses through support to control drinking triggers.

That's because when patients return to their everyday life, triggers will tempt them to slip back into old routines.

28-Day Alcohol Inpatient Rehab

The 28-day alcohol rehab programme requires the patient to stay at a treatment facility.

There, they’ll hold private or group sessions using a 12-step programme for sobriety or practice relapse prevention approaches to help alcoholics remain sober for 28 days.

This type of setting allows individuals to meet with other patients who are experiencing addiction as they do.

Here’s what one can expect from a 28-day inpatient programme:

  • Individual sessions
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy
  • Contingency management
  • Motivational therapy
  • Medications

A 28-day inpatient is a great start for individuals who want to try the programme but are scared to make a long-term commitment.

This is especially true for patients who may otherwise not pursue a programme and stick with it due to other factors.

60-Day Inpatient Rehab

Many patients find that a 28-day programme might not be suitable for their addiction severity.

That’s why a 60-day inpatient programme is ideal for the counselling and care that anyone dealing with addiction requires to achieve and sustain sobriety.

Sixty-day detox centres will offer the counselling and care that anyone dealing with addiction requires to achieve and sustaining sobriety.

Here are examples of treatment services to provide people with the coping strategies they need to prevent relapse:

  • Detoxification
  • Diagnosis
  • Therapy sessions
  • Support group sessions
  • Relapse preventions
  • Aftercare program
  • Multidimensional family therapy

The 60-day programme gives more time and care for a patient during treatment. A patient has two months to recover from the addiction on which he or she has been dependent.

This will also give ample time for patients to address any physical, mental, or situational factors that might have trigger the addiction.

90-day Inpatient Rehab

A 90-day alcohol rehab programme is ideal for patients with severe addiction.

Longer rehab treatment for alcohol abuse and alcoholism allows the patient to detoxify and change habits.

The 90-day programme is also perfect for individuals looking to control their triggers to avoid alcohol relapse and withdrawal symptoms.

Here’s what one can expect in a 90-day programme:

  • Neuropsychological or psychological assessments
  • Family intervention programs
  • Individual and group sessions
  • Experiential therapies
  • Individualised relapse prevention
  • Aftercare counselling

The 90-day programme is beneficial in identifying the root cause of the drinking problem.

Patients are also taught how to cope when depressed so they wouldn’t require drinking.

How long should an alcoholic stay in Rehab?

Understanding how long an alcoholic should stay in rehab requires knowing what processes and programmes are available in the inpatient facility. The treatment services vary from detox, assessments, and counselling sessions.

Often the 28, 60, and 90-day programmes have schedules to suit each individual's needs. Inpatient alcohol addiction care is often customised to each individual's needs, gender, age, etc.

As a result, a patient's daily routine can be slightly different because it is designed specifically for them.

The programmes are often holistic and flexible; thus, the routines will vary each week as the individual progresses through the treatment. For an example of programmes and their length in rehab:

Rehab intake, assessment, and evaluation – 30 to 45 minutes

Inpatient assessment and evaluation is a brief procedure that occurs as soon as a patient is admitted to the recovery clinic.

The assessment entails the patient going through procedures to understand the patient's history with alcohol to ensure complete recovery.

Recovery admission procedure differs by facility, but there are a few commonalities that most share.

  • Patient’s medical information
  • How long and what is the severity of the addiction
  • Family, employment, relationship, and environmental conditions
  • Mental or emotional disorders
  • History of abuse

After the individual has disclosed their information to the providers, they make arrangements and accommodations with the facility.

Alcohol Detox – 3 to 7 days

Detoxification is the method of removing alcohol substances and toxins from the body while managing withdrawal symptoms.

Although detox is a practical first step in the inpatient programme, it is not a cure.

Detox can last for three to seven days. The process consists of three steps such as evaluation, stabilisation, and transition.


  • Blood tests
  • Assessment for alcohol withdrawal
  • Psychological assessment
  • Screening



  • Therapy sessions
  • Diet and exercise
  • Familiarisation of programme

Therapy sessions, treatment programmes, and 12-step meetings – 28, 60, 90 days

There are various therapies during one's rehab to help control alcohol cravings and prevent relapses from maintaining sobriety.

Longer-term recovery efforts are made through therapies. Extensive counselling will help solve the root problems that are behind these addictions.

Here are some therapy sessions you can expect from a centre:

  • Individual behavioural therapy - The therapy allows individuals to reform their habits and beliefs about alcohol, thus, making lifestyle changes that will lead them to a sober life.
  • Family therapy -  Family members help encourage the individual to recover from his or her addiction. They also shed light on the issues and family matters that led to the addiction. Medical personnel will also teach how the family can set up a healthy home for the recovering patient.
  • Group therapy sessions - Group sessions allow those suffering from addiction to engage with people that are in similar circumstances.  It is also comforting for people in recovery to realise that they are not alone in their challenges.

Therapy is the most important aspect of long-term recovery because it solves specific problems that led to the addiction.  Stress, lifestyle, and other social factors may have led to alcohol abuse.

Knowing how to approach these issues can help you avoid relapse.

Aftercare programme - weeks, months, or years

Aftercare programmes refer to any continuing or follow-up counselling for substance dependence after the completion of an original recovery programme.

Aftercare programmes provide interventions to help the individual stay sober after alcohol abuse, prevent relapse and live a fulfilling life and sense of self.

What Affects The Duration of Rehab?

Inpatient rehab centres provide 28, 60, and 90-day programmes for people with alcohol use disorder. But, the duration can be much longer – even years – for people who require dire treatment.

However, the treatments are influenced by several causes and risk factors for the duration of one's recovery:


The recovery process is more difficult for those patients above the age of 60. If not treated correctly, the debilitating withdrawal effects can lead to various health problems, including death.

Young adults also face severe relapses during recovery from alcohol.

Inpatient rehab facilities include specialised medical services for young adults and seniors to address their drinking issues.

Here are age-related challenges one faces during recovery:

  • Young adults get into a relapse more often because of their social, emotional, and environmental triggers.
  • Young adults often experience stigma in the community due to their alcoholism. This bias often leads to depression and more alcohol dependence.
  • The elderly are likely to experience physical, cognitive, and behavioural problems during rehab.
  • Senior citizens also various medical conditions that may contradict their detox and medications.

These age-related issues pose a factor that may delay or affect one’s treatment in the duration. It can even lengthen the treatment plan doctors have panned out for them.

Medical history

A person’s health and medications can affect their treatment and duration in rehab.

Treatment programmes may be required to make adjustments if some aspect of the recovery interferes with a medical condition.

People with a history of heart, brain, or liver complications are often advised to seek inpatient care with their doctors.

  • For example, acamprosate, disulfiram, and naltrexone may have adverse reactions to pre-existing medications. It's important to let your doctor and addiction counsellor know of any medical history you have.
  • Women who have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and heart disease due to alcohol binge drinking will have a hard time taking medications at the centre and may resort to natural detox means.
  • People with severe heart conditions and liver complications might seek treatment centres for their proper care.

Generally, inpatient rehab is ideal for people with a history of medical conditions such as heart or liver diseases.

Various treatment centres often personalised their programmes and cared to meet one's individual needs.

The severity of substance abuse

The severity of one's alcoholism may put them on longer duration in the rehab.

Individuals with a history of chronic withdrawal symptoms and relapse may need extra time and care from the centre.

Common criteria for substance abuse:

  • Regular cravings for alcohol
  • Wanting to stop but can’t
  • Neglecting other parts of one’s life because alcohol use
  • Continuation of drinking alcohol despite it already puts you in danger
  • Taking high volumes of liquor for a long time

Treatment services should keep a close eye on their patient's reactions and alleviate any withdrawal symptoms while guiding patients through their recovery.

Mental health

An individual with alcohol addiction and mental health needs a tailored treatment plan.

Often, stress and depression are the common roots of drinking problems, and specialists at inpatient rehabs need to handle these disorders independently.

  • People with stress and suffering from depression are most likely to drink more alcohol and experience relapse.
  • Mental and emotional triggers are the number one cause of relapses.
  • Alcohol withdrawals may heighten pre-existing depression and anxiety.

Specific counselling exercises can show the individual how to deal with various real-life circumstances and how to avoid being triggered.

How to Choose an Alcohol Inpatient Rehab?

When choosing an alcohol inpatient rehab, you'll see that there are several care facilities and programmes to select from.

Remember what's most significant to you during your recovery process before choosing one.

Most inpatient rehabs have individualised plans and programmes for a specialised form of treatment catering to your needs.

Factors in choosing the right alcohol inpatient rehab centre

The best treatment will increase your chances of completing the programme successfully and maintaining your sobriety. But, due to a variety of choices available, making a decision can be daunting.

The steps below will assist you in selecting the best rehab.

Understand your goals and rehab needs

Seek to understand the sort of issues you'd like to achieve something from your recovery. Perhaps you'd like some habits to change or find positive coping mechanisms for stressors.

Consult with your counselor

After identifying the goals you intend to achieve, the next step is to work with your counsellor in achieving them through your rehabilitation.

It's also better to connect positively with your counsellors for them to help you during recovery.

Research treatment options

Research rehab options and make a thorough inquiry on each one. Treatment centres have varied programmes, levels of care given, duration of treatment, and how intensive their aftercare programmes are.


Most alcohol inpatient rehab has structured treatment models and varied therapy options individualised for each patient. This makes it easier for a patient to find the treatment that suits to their need.


Since you'll be staying at the rehab centre, you'll need to look at the available amenities to be included in your treatment. Patients often look for comfort and convenience during their therapy sessions.

Location of the treatment centre

Patients opt for a place that's peaceful and away from potential drinking triggers.

Some individuals would like the centre to be close to their homes, so their families can visit them for counselling. Meanwhile, others prefer the distance to get away from temptations.

Duration of the programme

Alcohol inpatient rehab centres offer 28-day, 60-day, and 90-day programmes for the recovering alcoholic.

Some treatment facilities personalise the individual's length of stay, depending on the severity of the addiction and treatment needed.

Aftercare programme

After completion of the treatment, long-term alcohol rehab programmes are carried out in a variety such as extended-care treatments, withdrawal and relapse monitoring, and counselling sessions.

Many patients opt for a kind of long-term treatment to help them maintain their sobriety.


The cost of each rehab varies in each private alcohol inpatient rehab centre. Addiction recovery costs will vary from none to more than £10,000 a month, with a wide range of payment options available for individuals.

The cost will depend on the type of treatment, amenities and facilities available, and depth of the programme.


Insurance is the best way to cover the cost of treatment. However, not all inpatient rehabs are covered by insurance.

If the insurer does not cover treatment and is concerned about the cost, there are various other programmes available to help people pay for recovery.

If you or a loved one wants to treat their alcohol addiction, reach out to Abbeycare Scotland or Abbeycare Gloucester for quality treatment programmes to help you stay sober and live a meaningful life.

About the author

Laura Morris

Laura Morris is an experienced clinical practitioner and CQC Registered Manager with over twenty years experience, over ten of which have been as an Independent Nurse Prescriber.

She has held a number of senior leadership roles in the substance use and mental health sector in the NHS, the prison service and in leading social enterprises in the field.

Last Updated: January 5, 2024