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Long-term Rehab and Its Impact on Recovery

Long-Term Rehabilitation constitutes a comprehensive program that aims at overcoming substance use disorders (SUD). The process typically takes some months up to a year or more; tailored treatment and counseling are offered to assist you in a more successful and lasting recovery. 

8 Minute Read | Published Sep 18 2023 | Updated Apr 23 2024 Expert Verified
Edwin Gomez
Reviewed by
Edwin Gomez
Reviewed by


A more extended period allows for a more holistic approach that seeks to address not only the physical aspect of addiction but also the psychological, emotional, and social features that contribute to the consumption of substances.

How Does Long-Term Rehab Impact Recovery?

Long-term rehab allows for a complete treatment of the physical, psychological, and social aspects of drug addiction. The structure in the rehab center helps people benefit from constant help from their assistants and peers, which is very important for their well-being. 

These recovery programs are centered on gaining skills, training in coping mechanisms, managing stress, and relapse prevention strategies, which are critical if one is to remain free from craving and relapsing. In recovery, the establishment of healthier habits and lifestyles, along with the time needed, will become stronger and gradually become a lifestyle. 

These programs indicate that the longer the program duration, the lower the relapse rates; this serves as evidence of the efficacy of the intensive, prolonged approach. Long-term rehab is a supportive, transforming experience wherein patients prepare their lives to build their resilience and recover permanently.

Advantages of Long-Term Rehab

Attending long-term rehab programs offers significant benefits compared with shorter treatment durations. According to the  National Institute on Drug Abuse, the most important advantage is represented by higher success rates, meaning they’re more effective in achieving and maintaining sobriety, as well as decreased criminal activity, improved employment prospects, and better overall functioning.

This extended treatment period allows the opportunity to identify triggers and high-risk situations, practice and reinforce newly acquired coping strategies, and make significant behavior changes in a supportive environment. This prolonged duration gives them the skills to overcome difficulties and threats in the real world.

Long-term programs provide comprehensive aftercare plans, with outpatient services, counseling, and teaching programs available, greatly reducing the chances of relapse.

Types of Long-Term Programs

Various models of long-term rehab programs have been developed over the years, each with its unique approach and focus.

Therapeutic Communities:

Therapeutic Communities are inpatient rehab programs where participants live in the same residential house and are exposed to a communal environment.

Participants' actions and behaviors rely on one another as they share their experiences, give each other mutual support, and take responsibility for their deeds.

They provide a structured daily routine with different therapeutic interventions, such as personal counseling, group therapy sessions, family therapy, and educational workshops.

They also offer vocational training and educational support, helping you develop relevant skills, have better chances in the job market, and successfully approach the reintegration process.

Dual Diagnosis:

Dual diagnosis programs, which are also known as co-occurring disorder programs, are special rehab programs that deal with two challenging problems concurrently. These services recognize that the co-occurrence of substance misuse and mental health disorders is a reality, and the possibility of achieving positive results when treating them individually might be lower.

This method integrates the work of multidisciplinary professionals, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, addiction specialist, and therapist, who collaborate to draw the treatment plan.

Part of the treatment includes a combination of medications and different behavioral therapies, like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), motivational interviewing, and family therapy.

One of the most essential aspects of dual diagnosis treatment is the inclusion of support groups that are specifically dedicated to individuals struggling with both mental illness and substance abuse disorders.

Faith-Based Programs:

Another type is faith-based programs that incorporate religious or spiritual values into the recovery process. They blend traditional treatment methods with spiritual counseling, scripture reading and memorization, commitment to prayer, and worshipping together.

How Long Are Long-Term Rehabs?

The general length of treatment programs for long-term rehab is based on many causes, including the chronicity of the addiction, personal development, the treatment method, and program guidelines. However, in most cases, these programs are about 90 days to a full year and sometimes more. 

Some of the long-term rehab programs might extend beyond a year, especially for those with complicated, addictive issues or co-occurring mental disorders. An extended stay at the facility facilitates comprehensive treatment, which consists of detox, therapy, counseling, life skills education, and other forms of support to ensure lasting recovery. Patients should cooperate and be proactive with healthcare practitioners when deciding on the right program length to deal with their condition.

How Does Long-Term Rehab Affect Families?

The psychological strain of the long-term rehab process is often felt by family members who deal with worry, guilt, and hope. Roles and patterns of the family may be reshuffled during treatment. During therapy, the families develop an awareness of addiction and recovery, and this improves communication and reduces stigma

Therapeutic approaches assist recovering individuals in reestablishing trust with their family members. The treatment may enable the families to develop coping skills and enhance relationships.

Are Long-Term Rehab Programs Suited for You?

It is critical to bear in mind that entry into a long-term rehab facility is a shared endeavor that necessitates the participation of healthcare professionals. Still, some clues that you might need a long-term program include:

  • If you have a severe substance use disorder.

  • Use of multiple substances.

  • Have a history of repeated relapses following shorter treatment programs.

  • Co-occurring disorders, like depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.

  • Need a supportive system and stable environment.

What Are the Differences Between Long-Term and Short-Term Rehab?

Long-term rehab can last months to a year or longer and focus on complex programs, while short-term treatments may last weeks to a few months and enable only short-term interventions. Long-term programs typically delve deep into essential issues. 

Short-term rehab is set to offer stabilization, detox, and fundamental education, which is perfect for moderate cases and can be taken as a first step for a prolonged recovery. The choice is based on the addiction level and individualized circumstances.


Long-Term Rehab

Short-term Rehab


Several months to a year or more

A few weeks to a few months


Intensive and comprehensive

Focused intervention

Treatment Focus

Addresses underlying issues extensively

Primarily stabilization and detox


Facilitates stronger bonds over time

Provides initial support


Allows ample time for skill-building

Limited time for skill development

Suitable For

Severe addiction, complex cases

Mild to moderate addiction, brief needs


Transition to independent living emphasized

Often a starting point for longer-term rehab


Generally higher due to longer duration

Lower due to shorter duration

Does My Insurance Cover Long-Term Rehab?

As a general rule, insurances usually provide a certain level of coverage, that includes inpatient treatment and rehab.

Some insurance programs allow rehab services only for a specific time frame. You must contact your insurance provider to learn the precise description of your coverage.

If you need to pay for rehab without insurance, here are some options to consider:

Sliding Scale or Income-Based Programs:

Some rehab centers have sliding scale prices or income-based programs where the cost of treatment will be adjusted according to your income level. These programs seek to make it more budget-friendly for people not covered by insurance. Contact the rehabs directly and ask if they have such programs.

Financing and Payment Plans:

Some rehab centers could provide financing opportunities or payment plans to help people fund treatment. This would spread the payments evenly over time and make it easier to pay. Inquire with the facility if they offer in-house financing or partner with banks offering healthcare loans.

Scholarships and Grants:

Some centers and programs offer scholarships or grants to those who cannot afford rehab alone. The programs may have certain enrollment requirements and application procedures.

State-Funded or Non-profit Rehab Centers:

Some states have government-funded or non-profit rehab centers that offer low-cost or free treatment alternatives for uninsured people.

How to Find the Right Treatment Center?

When narrowing down your choice of long-term rehabilitation programs, you must assess whether they have the right qualifications, including licensing and accreditations, to ensure that the program provides the highest standards of care. 

We Can Help

At BetterAddictionCare, we’re proud to include some of the country’s top treatment centers in our nationwide recovery network to help determine the best treatment program for you or a loved one. We also offer transportation and public or private insurance coordination through our team of patient care specialists.


Summing up, long-term rehab programs are designed as an all-inclusive, supportive, and structured program through which substance use disorders are addressed. When we compare them to short-term alternatives, this type of rehab with an all-encompassing and holistic approach stands out.


bullet National Institute on Drug Abuse
"Principles of drug addiction treatment: A research-based guide (third edition)"
Retrieved on April 23, 2024
bullet Social Science & Medicine
"A systematic review and meta-analysis of the efficacy of the long-term treatment and support of substance use disorders"
Retrieved on April 23, 2024
bullet Journal of Clinical Medicine
"Longitudinal Substance Use and Biopsychosocial Outcomes Following Therapeutic Community Treatment for Substance Dependence"
Retrieved on April 23, 2024
bullet Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment
"Effectiveness of Integrated Dual Diagnosis Treatment (IDDT) in severe mental illness outpatients with a co-occurring substance use disorder."
Retrieved on April 23, 2024

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