How Long Should an Alcoholic Stay in Rehab?

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How long should an alcoholic stay in rehab?

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.

When seeking treatment at a residential treatment rehab clinic, there are a few specific issues to consider, such as:

  • Do you have co-occurring condition?
  • Do you have any medical conditions?
  • Do they suffer from mental health conditions/disorders?
  • Do you suffer from behavioral health conditions?
  • Do you have have any previous treatment experiences?
  • Do you have any mental, physical, emotional, social or cultural, and spiritual needs?
  • Have you had any alcohol treatment before?

The history of alcohol abuse

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 for their recovery process and rehab programs.

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.

Of course you do not expect to return to normal life immediately, and you may have to join some outpatient rehab centers for continuation of the alcohol treatment for a specific length of time, so you can stay sober.

What is alcohol withdrawal?

Alcohol withdrawal is one of the side effects you should expect as you go through the specific treatment provider. A sober living environment will be hard at first, but completing rehab is the key to beating your drinking problem.

Also you should find local support groups with your outpatient services, to continue therapy sessions, and receive addiction recovery treatment, and any other type of addiction you may be struggling with such as a combination of alcohol and drug, or dual diagnosis, gambling addiction, etc.

The medical provider at the addiction center will provide plenty of assistance on this.

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. They will however have to deal with a certified addiction professional and go through alcohol detox in the process of treatment.

The treatment center 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 such as outpatient treatment options, 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. (1)

What are the different treatment options?

Different rehab centers offer different options for treatment to individuals depending on their specific levels of alcohol addiction, but the first stage is always alcohol detox.

When one starts alcohol rehab, it is wise to set reasonable standards for addiction treatment from the get-go. You must also be ready to deal with alcohol withdrawal symptoms that can be quite intense.

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.

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 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?

It is quick and easy. This alcohol addiction treatment program offers an excellent place to start substance abuse treatment. 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 inpatient alcohol rehab program is a good idea.

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?

Provides additional time and support during inpatient alcohol rehab. This is one of the many treatment programs that offers time to detox from the alcohol at an inpatient alcohol rehab.

It also offers counseling sessions that will discuss any mental health, familial, or situational factors that may have led to the addictive behavior. The treatment programs at the treatment facility provide plenty of support.

The 60-day program gives you time to completely detox from alcohol while receiving trustworthy health information and consciously practicing safe and positive behavior that will help your long-term sobriety.

Partial hospitalization;

You can also opt for partial hospitalization with paid advertisers online chat, that will give you the different options you can have with the partial hospitalization.

Most American addiction centers, will tell you how long rehab will take and the national institute on drug abuse insists on the website's main phone number to offer help from a specific treatment center listing.

Most detox programs from American addiction centers are great treatment providers. They also offer treatment programs for mental health and other types of issues such as withdrawal symptoms during the residential rehab treatment.

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.

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. And the treatment provider should also provide medical advice on mental health assessment as well as support with withdrawal symptoms.

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, and received plenty of professional treatment advice from the rehab programs at the treatment centers, 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 (2). They may have started coping with different issues in their lives, such as deep-seated trauma, long-term violence, etc.

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 for at least a year, where they learn healthy habits from the many treatment providers listed.

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 organized by the rehab programs.

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 over-subscribed 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 the length of time to recover, 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 (3) will also depend on the luxury level and reputation of the clinic.

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.


So, there isn't any specified length of time to stay in rehab, it all depends on you.

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: October 31, 2023