The timeline for how long someone is in rehab is different for every single person who seeks treatment for addiction. Although addiction is an unfortunately common disease, it is as varied and unique as the people who suffer from it. Different drugs affect people in different ways, and many rehab patients enter a facility addicted to more than one drug or substance at the same time.
Also, a surprising number of Americans with mental health disorders also have a co-occurring addiction to drugs or alcohol. 7.9 million people who experience substance use disorder also have a mental health condition, and more than half of those people are men.
For many with dual diagnosis disorders, it can be difficult for healthcare and addiction counselors to determine if a person suffered from the mental health condition before they became addicted, or a drug triggered a mental health disorder. In many cases, people with co-occurring mental health conditions turned to drugs or alcohol to alleviate or numb their symptoms.
It is imperative that people who enter rehab are thoroughly evaluated for a mental health disorder. Failing to treat both conditions in tandem with integrated modalities can increase the chances of relapse for either condition. The need to address a co-occurring mental health disorder can also increase the length of time a person will need to stay in an inpatient facility or attend outpatient rehab.
Another factor influencing the length of time a person may need to stay in rehab is if they are a polydrug abuser. Polydrug abuse refers to having an addition to more than one substance simultaneously. This can significantly impact how long it will take a person to detox. Drugs and alcohol are toxic to the body, and they can stay in a person’s system for weeks or months after cessation. The more drugs a person has taken, the longer it typically takes their body to cleanse itself of lingering, toxic substances.
During detox, a person will experience a variety of physical and mental withdrawal symptoms, which can vary in intensity and duration. Medical detox centers can give patients medications to help them safely wean from drugs, and these safe medications can also shorten the length and severity of the withdrawal timeline.
Once a person safely and completely detoxes from drugs, they can stay in either an inpatient or outpatient treatment center. Inpatient treatment takes place in a secure, long-term living facility, and is designed to help patients learn their triggers for drug abuse, and how to create better systems and barriers in their lives to avoid drugs and alcohol in the future.