Treatment duration

Alcohol and drug addiction is a chronic disease and abstinence is the aim of rehab treatment. Detox removes all traces of drugs and alcohol from the body and treats the symptoms of withdrawal; and psychotherapy treats the underlying psychological issues that could cause a relapse.

The longer the rehab programme, the less chance of relapse.

The ideal length of stay in rehab varies from person to person and is best decided by a Consultant Psychiatrist following the initial assessment. The necessary length of treatment should be reviewed on an ongoing basis. 

In general, it has been proven that the longer a person stays in treatment, the better the outcome for long-term abstinence. 

The first stage of rehab treatment

4 – 7 weeks

  • Detox from drugs or alcohol (typically 3-14 days for alcohol detox),
  • Ongoing medical care from doctors,
  • Individual and group therapy sessions,
  • Education about the disease of addiction.

At the end of treatment, an aftercare plan is drawn up for the patient.

The second stage of rehab treatment

6 weeks – 6 months

Some patients move on to a second stage (sometimes called ‘Extended Care’) which can last from six weeks to six months.

  • Ongoing medical care and therapy to tackle complex needs,
  • Continue living in a safe, structured environment.  

Complex needs include:

  • Long-term addiction,
  • eating disorders,
  • other addictions,
  • post-traumatic stress disorder,
  • mood disorders or depression.

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Rehab Guide Entry was last reviewed and updated on: