Are 28 Days of Drug Rehab Enough to Keep Me Sober?

28-day drug rehab

Are 28 Days of Drug Rehab Enough to Keep Me Sober?

Most addiction treatment programs last approximately 28-30, 60, or 90 days. While different people have different needs, a 28-day drug rehab program is usually not long enough to provide adequate care for lasting sobriety. Most addiction experts agree that patients need at least 90 days in treatment to see positive results.

You may be tempted to choose a 28-day drug and alcohol rehab program for several reasons. Maybe you’re unable to take any longer off of work or maybe one month is all your health insurance will cover. Regardless of the reason, it’s important to ask yourself whether or not 28 days of drug rehab is enough to keep you sober.

For most people, the answer is no.

What Happens During 28-Day Drug Rehab Programs?

When you first go to rehab, it takes a good 5-10 days to detox and another week to adjust to the rehab facility. This means you could spend your first 2-3 weeks simply adjusting to being in treatment. During the adjustment period, you will participate in group and individual therapy sessions that aim to pinpoint the causes of your addiction and provide you with coping skills and relapse prevention strategies that will help keep you sober.

28 days can go by very quickly. You may be able to learn basic ideas behind 12-step programs, relapse prevention, and the disease of addiction itself, but you might not have enough time to truly make the lifestyle changes that you need to make. Although 28 days is enough time to detox and stabilize yourself, it probably isn’t enough to keep you sober in the long run.

How Long Does Rehab Need to Last for it to be Effective?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s principles of effective treatment, remaining in treatment for an adequate amount of time is critical for sustaining sobriety. Research suggests the vast majority of individuals need at least 3 months (90 days) in rehab to significantly reduce or completely stop their drug use. And, as a general rule of thumb, the longer you spend in rehab, the better.[1]

This doesn’t mean you have to spend all 90 days of your treatment program in a residential facility. Most people participate in a full continuum of care that lasts 90 days, or more, in total. For example, you could spend 28 days in an inpatient program, another month in PHP or IOP, and the last month in a standard outpatient program. By transitioning from one level of care to the next, you can apply the coping skills you learn in real-life situations while still receiving adequate support.

The Pros and Cons of 28-Day Drug Rehab

There are advantages and disadvantages to short-term rehab programs. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons before choosing a treatment program.

Pros of 28-day rehab include:

  • More affordable than long-term treatment
  • Covered by insurance
  • Less time is taken away from work, school, family, and other responsibilities

Cons of 28-day rehab include:

  • Not enough time to address underlying conditions like depression, anxiety, or trauma
  • Patients may be more likely to rush through treatment
  • Insufficient for treating severe substance use disorder

What if I’m Not Ready to Leave Rehab After 28 Days?

If you attend a short, 28-day rehab program, there’s a good chance that you won’t feel entirely ready to leave on day 28. Addiction is a complex condition that often requires long-term treatment. If you don’t feel ready to leave rehab after a month, that’s OK–and completely normal!

The good news is you can always lengthen your stay. You should never leave a treatment program before you are ready. Most people need at least three months in rehab to heal from the social, physical, and emotional effects of addiction.

Reputable addiction treatment programs determine your length of stay based on two factors:

  1. Your treatment needs
  2. The progress you make in treatment

If day 28 rolls around and you and your substance abuse counselor decide you could benefit from a longer stay, your treatment program can be extended.

How Long Should I Stay in Rehab?

How long drug rehab lasts should be based on your individual needs. Some people need more time in treatment than others. A few factors that could make you require a longer, more intensive treatment program include:

  • Being diagnosed with co-occurring mental or behavioral health conditions
  • Having a history of drug or alcohol relapse
  • Not having access to stable, supportive, and safe housing
  • Having a history of trauma or PTSD
  • Entering rehab at a young age
  • Being diagnosed with severe drug or alcohol use disorder

Remember, the longer you can participate in rehabilitation and therapy, the better. There is no harm in dedicating extra time to your personal healing.

Find the Right Drug and Alcohol Rehab Program Today

The best way to find out whether or not you can benefit from a 28-day drug rehab program is to speak with a substance abuse counselor. It all begins with picking up the phone and asking for help. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, call now to connect with one of our dedicated admissions coordinators.


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