How Long Are Alcohol Rehab Programs?
Last Updated: November 3, 2023
Alcohol rehab programs are often customized to meet your specific needs and situation. While there’s quite a bit of variability, average lengths of program stays can give you an idea of what to expect.
How long you stay in alcohol rehab depends on your needs, goals, support and the type of program you attend. There are multiple levels of care within alcohol treatment programs based on what kind of support a person requires. Treatment centers may offer services that include:
- Medical detox: On-site medical monitoring and withdrawal symptom management that support patients as they come off of alcohol.
- Residential rehab: Individuals live onsite while receiving rehab services.
- Partial hospitalization program (PHP): A step down from residential services, where the individual lives at home and attends 18 to 20 hours of treatment each week.
- Intensive outpatient (IOP): Patients go to a facility for around 10 hours of treatment per week while living at home.
- Outpatient programming: The patient lives at home and attends less than nine hours of treatment per week.
- Referrals to aftercare programs: Recovery is a lifelong process, so addiction treatment also includes aftercare support.
How Long Does Alcohol Detox Take?
The duration of alcohol detox varies from person to person, often lasting between four and ten days. Several factors can affect the length of medical detox for alcohol, including:
- Overall health
- Type of alcohol consumed
- Whether another substance or prescription medication was used with the alcohol
- How often the alcohol and additional substance(s) were used
- Amount of alcohol consumed
- Time they last drank
- Co-occurring mental health conditions
How Long Does Alcohol Rehab Take?
Alcohol rehab includes different levels of care, such as residential or outpatient services. Each program varies in its duration lengths, so a person may be in formal treatment for weeks, months or even a year. The type of treatment program a person enters depends on their:
- Support system and living environment
- Risk of relapse
- Level of intoxication or withdrawal potential
- Physical health
- Co-occurring mental health conditions
- Readiness or willingness to change
Residential (Inpatient) Alcohol Rehab Duration
The most common program lengths for residential alcohol rehab are 30, 60 and 90 days. However, some facilities offer more long-term stays, such as six months to one year. These are often for individuals with significant trauma history, multiple addictions or significant comorbid mental health conditions.
The duration of residential alcohol treatment for a patient depends on the specific facility and a number of individual factors, including:
- Support needs
- Willingness to change
- Barriers to treatment
- Support system
- Access to help
- Job and familial commitments
- Insurance coverage
- Finances available for private pay
When deciding how long to stay in treatment, discuss your needs, goals, coping strategies and stressors with your treatment team. Review all of your treatment options upon exiting residential rehab.
Outpatient Alcohol Rehab Duration
Patients spend anywhere between a few weeks to several months in an intensive outpatient program (IOP) before transitioning to outpatient services. Once in an outpatient program, some patients will attend for one to three months, while others will continue for a year. As with other levels of care, program duration varies and is based on the individual’s needs and goals as well as treatment accessibility.
How Long Is Aftercare?
Because addiction is a chronic disease, ongoing aftercare is crucial to long-term recovery. Self-help groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), are a popular option for individuals in recovery after formal treatment ends. AA is available in most areas, and people can decide how often they want to go — daily, weekly or as needed. Some individuals continue going to AA for the rest of their life, and others go when they need additional support.
Aftercare might also include sober living. This transitional housing is for individuals exiting treatment programs who need more support and time before completely reintegrating back into the community. Sober living programs vary in length, with many being between three months to several years.
Does the Length of Stay Affect the Cost?
A longer stay in a rehab program increases the cost of treatment, along with the type of program you attend. For example, residential services are often more expensive than outpatient programs.
Federal laws, such as the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, require insurance companies to provide coverage for substance use disorders and mental health conditions comparable to other medical conditions. However, insurance plans vary in how much treatment they cover. Typically, staff at a treatment facility can help you navigate your insurance coverage and work directly with your insurance company.
If you do not have health insurance, you can speak to the treatment center about payment plans to pay for services over time. If you are unable to pay for treatment, you can contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357. They will refer you to the state office that oversees the state-funded treatment programs in your area.
Get Help for Alcohol Addiction
Seeking support for yourself or a loved one in Missouri? The Recovery Village Kansas City offers medical detox, residential rehab, partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) and intensive outpatient programs (IOPs). Here, you’ll find medical and therapeutic support from a team of experts, treatment for co-occurring conditions and various healing activities. Reach out today, and a Recovery Advocate will guide you through the process.
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Our full continuum of customizable treatment plans ensure each patient gets professional care that meets their needs.
Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. “Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment.” Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, 2015. Accessed May 3, 2023.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition).” Updated January 2018. Accessed May 3, 2023.
American Psychiatric Association. “Mental Health Parity.” Accessed May 3, 2023.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. “SAMHSA’s National Helpline.” Updated August 30, 2022. Accessed May 3, 2023.