How Long Should an Alcoholic Stay in Rehab?

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In most cases, an alcohol rehab treatment program is recommended for 28 days. Although, some people with an alcohol addiction would benefit from longer programs of around 60 – 90 days, and even longer outpatient programs for further developing and maintaining a steady path for recovery from alcohol abuse.

While determining the right amount of time an addict can stay in the rehab clinic, there are a few specific issues to consider, such as:
  • Do they have a co-occurring condition?
  • Do they have any medical conditions?
  • Do they suffer from mental health conditions/disorders?
  • Do they suffer from behavioral health conditions?
  • Do they have any previous treatment experiences?
  • Do they have any mental, physical, emotional, social or cultural, and spiritual needs?

The history of the alcohol abuse of the addict and the severity of the addiction are used to determine how long you need to stay in alcohol rehab center. 

According to research, however, most people battling substance abuse will need at least three months of rehab to reduce or stop their alcohol dependence.

The longer the drug addiction treatment period, the better the outcome.

This is because the longer substance abuse treatment programs afford them the opportunity to completely focus on the root cause of the problem and the reason behind the addiction or drug abuse. This doesn't just help the individual curb the alcohol use, but also treat their alcohol use disorder at the core.

How Long Is Inpatient Rehab For Alcoholics?

Inpatient treatment rehab for alcoholics can vary from 28-30/60/90 days or longer and will depend on an individual's needs.

In an inpatient alcohol rehab, also known as a residential rehab program, the patient has to stay at the rehab facility while they're receiving alcohol addiction treatment. The treatment provider will study the patient's addiction pattern and create a treatment program that will not only include the detox programs, but also the aftercare programs that they will likely follow throughout their lives going forward as a recovering addict. This ensures long term successful recovery and most people that are struggling with alcohol abuse problems tend to respond to inpatient treatment the best.

We've provided a complete guide here on how long is inpatient rehab for alcoholics.

What Are The Different Treatment Options?

The different rehab centers offer different treatment options to individuals depending on their specific levels of alcohol addiction.

When one starts alcohol rehab, it is wise to set reasonable standards for addiction treatment from the get-go.

Your brain wiring and body chemistry will have shifted during the addiction period as you become more reliant on alcohol. The alcohol use disorder may run deeper than you think, and the addiction treatment may not be the easiest. However, the alcohol rehab will be there to help you through the entire alcohol rehab journey. But the journey won't be a quick fix.

As such, seeking help and trying to maintain long-term sobriety usually takes a long time. The more accepting and compassionate you are with yourself, the more successful the substance abuse treatment will be.

Whether you pick residential treatment, outpatient treatment, or seek treatment at a totally unique treatment facility, every single type of substance abuse treatment program, and every specific treatment center will be different. However, Each program has its own advantages.

Here are the main options:

What Are the Advantages of a 30-day Programme?

This alcohol addiction treatment program offers an excellent place to start. Initially, you may not know how long the treatment will take or how much time you need to be in care, and enrolling in a short-term program is a good idea.

This program will also help you with any physical withdrawal symptoms that you may experience initially, and it allows you to develop a relapse-prevention plan.

It gives you some idea about the whole treatment plan and the amount of post-treatment care needed.

This is the shortest amount of time in rehab, and it is very easy to stick to. Most insurance companies will reimburse you for this program as it is delivered at a low rate.

It can help in the following ways:
  • It helps the patient to develop relapse prevention strategies.
  • Helps the patient take care of any co-occurring issues.
  • The program creates a recovery program and aftercare plan for any future relapses.
  • It helps take care of family matters.
  • It helps address and identify the underlying medical conditions, disabilities of learning, personality conditions, and any day-to-day challenges.

What Are the Advantages of a 60-day Treatment Programme?

A 60-day program will give you additional time and support for your recovery.

This is a lengthy treatment programme that offers time to detox from the alcohol you have become reliant on.

It also offers counseling sessions that will discuss any mental, familial, or situational factors that may have led to the addictive behavior.

The 60-day program gives you time to completely detox from alcohol and consciously practice safe and positive behavior that will help your long-term sobriety.

If your current insurance plan does not cover the 60-day program, do not worry, there are plenty of treatment centers with payment plans allowing you to make small payments per month.

What Are the Advantages of a 90-day Programme?

Ninety days may seem overwhelming, but as previously stated, the longer you undergo treatment, the better your chances for maintaining sobriety and recovering.

This one has the highest rates of success of all the three.

During this lengthy program, you will go through detox, intake and assessment, self-help groups, counseling, and setting an aftercare plan in the clinic.

This is a beneficial curriculum as it allows the addict to adapt to life without relying on alcohol for a long period.

You will also be able to develop the ability to fight temptation in the future and recognize any possible relapses.

People with serious and long-term addictions should consider this treatment plan.


How Do You Know It’s Time to Leave Alcohol Rehab?

Thirty days are not enough for everyone to successfully recover from alcohol addiction and return to their normal lives.

Most patients will have physically recovered, but not all of them will be psychologically and emotionally recovered.

As such, some people may need a little longer at the alcohol rehabilitation clinic. They may have started coping with different issues in their lives, such as deep-seated trauma, long-term violence, etc.

A rehab patient needs to be extra careful when leaving rehab as they may not be ready to do so, just yet.

Most of them will worry that they will have a hard time staying sober, and once they go back home, they will no longer receive the intensive care they need and maybe set themselves up for failure if they leave rehab too early.

What Options Are Available For Transition From Rehab?

If you are not yet ready to go back home after rehab, there are some alcoholic alternatives for you.

Here are some of them:

Sober living service

In this program, the residents are normally provided houses that are clean and sober.

They do not allow anyone who is still drinking to reside in the home. All visitors are prohibited from bringing drugs and alcohol into the house; neither are they allowed to be under the influence when they visit.

A majority of these sober homes do not offer overt treatment, and as a tenant, you are expected to find work and keep yourself involved throughout your time there.

One must deal with their legal problems and help contribute to the home’s upkeep through meal preparations and chores.

Outpatient care

To meet their ongoing rehabilitation needs, patients are supposed to attend rigorous outpatient therapy.

This step-down phase allows a more gradual return to normalcy living after the recovery process in rehab.

What Are the Long-term Advantages of Treatment?

Most people who leave rehab clinics tend to return after a relapse, and although there are treatment plans that can be designed for them, the best results will come when one stays longer.

Rehab graduates who have been in rehab for 90 days will have a better abstinence rate. These patients also receive ongoing care and assistance.

As a result, this will help their chances of learning the required skills to remain sober. It also helps them against the adverse effects of long alcohol addiction.

How Do You Follow-Up on Treatment?

After rehab, an addict is in a fight to remain sober. Alcohol cravings are real, and they can hit one at any time.

This is a popular temptation, and in reality, it is estimated that about 40-60 percent of all alcohol addicts will relapse after rehab.

Doctors will prescribe for you an aftercare programme to avoid relapse. Self-help services such as Alcoholics Anonymous are great for helping one stay sober, and frequent support groups are part of the treatment process.

Will Rehab Cure the Addiction?

With chronic conditions, there isn’t an outright cure, and alcohol is the same way. What needs to be done is to manage the addiction effectively.

Regardless of what kind of treatment you have received or how long and intensive it was, the recovery does not happen when the patient completes the rehab programme.

Recovery from substance abuse is an ongoing process, even a life-long one.

Managing one’s addiction requires a lot of hard work on a personal level to navigate through life without the need to get high all the time.

How Much Does Rehab Cost?

Rehab costs are quite high, depending on the provider. There are, however, some free options in the UK that one can use instead of paying.

However, these free options come with a waiting list because the services are heavily oversubscribed and underfunded.

So, if you need immediate help, you might have to pay for treatment.

Beware that most rehab programmes are outpatient-based, and this means that the patient will have to attend therapy and counseling sessions regularly.

If you are concerned about how long it will take you to recover, you could consider a residential option.

This means looking for a private rehab clinic. This is where the issue of cost comes in.

How much alcohol rehab costs will also depend on the luxury level and reputation of the clinic.

In a nutshell, what we are saying is that; how much you pay for the treatment depends on the clinic you choose and the length of the programme.

Why Choose a Private Clinic?

After looking at the estimated costs, you may be thinking that there is no way you will pay for private treatment, but there are some things you need to consider before making this decision.

To start with, if the treatment is an urgent matter, private clinics do not have a waiting period, and they can admit new patients almost immediately.

Secondly, private clinics allow the patient to churn away from the temptations of daily life.

The residential facilities do not have any triggers, and there are no chances of returning to substance abuse.

These clinics also offer an intensive and time-consuming approach to getting well. The programmes are highly concentrated within a few weeks, which means that every minute is spent on your treatment, and this gives you very little time to focus on anything else.

When one is immersed in their treatment, and they make this the most important thing in their life, then they have every chance of putting their days of substance abuse behind them for good.

Additionally, when the time to leave the clinic comes, you are better positioned to avoid any relapses. The skills will make you a better and more productive member of your community.


So, there isn’t any specified length of time that one must stay in a rehab clinic. The amount of treatment you need depends on how intensive your addiction is.

But what we have identified is that the longer the treatment plan, the better the chances of permanent results.

Find a good quality treatment rehab clinic if you are currently addicted to alcohol, and we wish you all the best in your treatment.

Abbeycare Pricing Bot

Last Updated: November 7, 2021

About the author

Peter Szczepanski

Peter has been on the GPhC register for 29 years. He holds a Clinical Diploma in Advanced Clinical Practice and he is a Clinical Lead in Alcohol and Substance Misuse for Abbeycare Gloucester and works as the Clinical Lead in Alcohol and Substance Use in Worcestershire. Find Peter on Respiratory Academy, Aston University graduates, University of Birmingham, Q, Pharmaceutical Journal, the Dudley Pharmaceutical Committee, Dudley Council, Twitter, and LinkedIn.