Choosing a 30 Day vs 90 Day Rehab Program

Written by Chloe Nicosia

The pros and cons of choosing a 30-day vs 90-day rehab program

If you or a loved one is seeking help with substance abuse, one of the first decisions you face is selecting the length of the treatment program. In the past, most drug rehab treatment programs were 28 or 30-days in length. For several years, a growing number of treatment centers have begun recommending their patients undergo 90 day rehab programs, believing that they offer patients the best chance for long-term recovery. No one treatment program is going to be right for everyone, so it is important to consider all the factors before deciding which program is the best match for your recovery needs. To help you find the drug treatment program that will offer you the best chance for long-term recovery, let’s look at the pros and cons of choosing a 30-day vs 90 day rehab program.

The pros and cons of choosing a 30-day vs 90-day rehab program

In rehab centers, the first week or so are devoted to detoxification. After undergoing detox, the next step is therapy to help patients learn ways to withstand any cravings. Individuals often have mental, behavioral, or physical conditions that contribute to their substance abuse, which need to be addressed. Relapse prevention techniques are another essential component of drug treatment programs, so patients have the coping skills necessary for long-term recovery from addiction.

Evaluating and treating these issues in a 30 day treatment program doesn’t allow much time to delve into any of these issues in depth. 90 drug rehab programs give patients enough time that they can fully uncover the underlying causes of their addiction and develop strategies for long-term recovery.

For some individuals, the time commitment involved in a stay that is longer than a month is just not feasible. Parents, students, and individuals in the work force may not be able to take three months off from work or school. If your addiction is not significantly impairing your ability to maintain daily life, if you are still maintaining a successful school or work life, and you have family support, a 30 day rehab program may be exactly what you need to get started on the road to recovery.


90 day drug treatment programs are significantly more expensive than a 30 day stay, and many insurance plans provide coverage for a 30 day inpatient treatment program, but will not pay for a longer stay. However, the higher rate of relapse from 30 day rehab programs should be taken into consideration. If a patient relapses and needs to return for multiple 30 day sessions, a single 90 day drug rehab program may actually be more economical in the long run. If your insurance coverage only pays for 30 days of treatment but you and your addiction specialists agree that a longer stay is necessary, you have the option of paying for the additional treatment yourself. That is between the treatment facility professionals and you.

What do the experts recommend?

One study funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that individuals who stayed in treatment longer than 90 days were 22–43% more likely to be employed in the year following treatment than those who stayed a shorter time.

Another study, one of 1,605 cocaine users that was published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, found that 35% of people who were in treatment for 90 days or less reported drug use the following year vs 17% of people who were in treatment for 90 days or longer.

With study results like these, it is not surprising that The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) refers to 90 days of drug rehab treatment as the “gold standard”.

If you are having a hard time deciding whether choosing a 30 day or 90 day rehab program provides the best chance for a lasting recovery for you or a loved one, Better Addiction Care can help you find a rehab center. Call 1-800-429-7690 today to speak to one of our compassionate staff members.