Long-term alcohol rehab can seem frightening at first. Being away from family, a job, and your home for a long period of time is a commitment. The benefits of long-term alcohol rehab strongly outweigh the negative fears associated with long-term rehab. What makes long-term alcohol rehab better than a typical 28-day rehab?
Why Short-Term Rehab Doesn’t Work for Most People Struggling with Alcoholism
For people that have been drinking alcohol and using other substances for years, a 28 or 30-day stay at a rehab center isn’t long enough. There are five main components as to why short-term rehabs can fail.
- Misunderstanding of alcohol addiction
Years of drug and alcohol abuse alters brain chemistry. Alcohol especially can damage the brain and body. Going to a treatment center for 30 days barely scrapes the surface of what is necessary to begin treating alcohol use disorders. A 30-day rehab isn’t a “cure” for addiction. Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease meaning that it is a long process to begin treating. Many people may also not understand that they are alcoholics and think they are only binge drinkers or heavy drinkers. Attending a long-term alcohol treatment center can help to break those dangerous thought processes of denial about alcoholism.
- Wrong alcohol rehab center or incorrect type of treatment
About half of all people who enter an alcohol treatment center also have a mental health disorder, like depression or anxiety. At a 28-day or 30-day rehab, there is no time to focus on treating both mental health disorders and alcohol use disorder. Attending an extended alcohol rehab that’s certified to treat substance use disorders and mental health disorders give clients a better chance at recovery.
- Wrong attitude
It’s no secret that people just coming off drugs and alcohol can be moody. It’s easy for a bad day to turn into a bad week when dealing with past choices and traumas during active addiction and drinking. When someone is in a short-term treatment center, it’s easy for a negative attitude to carry on after they leave and result in relapse. In a long-term alcohol treatment center, there is more time to work through these negative thoughts and emotions while in a safe place. Having more time to learn and implement healthy coping skills and one-on-one counseling leads to better results for sobriety. Relapse prevention skills are important to turn back to when dealing with life on life’s terms.
- Wrong timeframe
Addiction and alcoholism are often treated as an acute illness. 30-day detox and residential programs are the norms for treating alcoholism. Addiction is a chronic disease that requires long-term care for the benefits to truly be effective. A long-term alcohol treatment center that has a 90-day or longer alcohol treatment centers are a better choice for rehab. Treating addiction and alcoholism doesn’t end after the 90-day mark in treatment either. Peer support, intensive outpatient, and outpatient services are recommended as a continuum of care. Peer support like 12-step fellowships are often a large part of long-term sobriety from alcoholism for many clients.
- Wrong support systems
Many clients that attend a 28-day rehab and return home tend to go back to old friends and places where they used or drank. Returning to old friends and behaviors can quickly lead to relapse if there is no established sober support system. Those that have been in and out of alcohol rehabs many times often have to work on their family support systems. Long-term alcohol rehabs like GateHouse Treatment offer a family program (https://gatehousetreatment.com/treatment-info/family-program/) to help rebuild family relationships. Attending 12-step fellowship meetings while in a long-term alcohol rehab allows for a support system and a schedule (https://gatehousetreatment.com/importance-making-schedule-recovery/) to be developed. Although attending meetings in a new or old area can be strange at first, it allows for sober support groups to be developed. Sober supports who have longer sober time can help to guide others through their sobriety outside of a long-term alcohol rehab setting.
The Benefits of Long-Term Alcohol Rehab
It takes many months, often years of alcohol and drug abuse, before someone will admit that they have a problem and seek help. The damage to mind, body, and spirit cannot be corrected in 28-30-day programs. It’s not feasible to think that years of behaviors and dependence can be completely switched and corrected in a short time. While detox programs are useful to clear the body of the actual substance, detox is just the beginning of the road to sobriety. Addiction is a lifelong disease that requires long-term treatment.
While the benefits of long-term alcohol rehab are countless, there are ten key reasons why long-term rehab for alcohol rehab is so successful.
- Longer time away from negative influences
Being in an extended alcohol treatment program allows for the separation of the person struggling from negative peers and old environments. Communication is typically limited with outside people while in a treatment center, meaning that old using and drinking buddies can’t be contacted. Also, creating space between old influences allows for new relationships to be formed with other sober people and more time to develop coping skills.
- Drug and alcohol free environment
In a long-term alcohol treatment program, there is no drugs or alcohol allowed. Having a safe and sober environment to grow and heal is extremely beneficial. Learning how to do basic things without drugs or alcohol is a learning curve for most. Not having easy temptations from the bar that’s just around the corner can help those in early recovery learn how to live without drugs or alcohol.
- Structured living environment
Addiction and alcoholism are often steeped in chaos and recklessness. Staying in a long-term structured alcohol rehab allows for clients to get into a daily schedule and learn time management. Being in a long-term rehab gives clients the chance to reclaim their lives through implementing the tools that they’ve learned in a structured environment. Implementing coping skills and tools they’ve learned in a structured environment makes them easier to turn to once they leave treatment.
- Constant support
Staying in long-term treatment means that there will always be someone for clients to turn to, from staff to their peers. Having support around at all times also doesn’t allow for clients to isolate, which can be a relapse warning sign for many alcoholics and addicts. It’s also a chance for clients to learn how to develop sober relationships with their peers.
Supervision in early recovery, especially in the first 90 days is paramount. It’s also helpful to still be in a treatment setting since Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) can be a relapse trigger for those in early sobriety. Although not everyone experiences PAWS, it can be helpful having supervision when these feelings are experienced. Having the supervision provided by a long-term alcohol rehab can make it easier for clients to talk about what’s going on with them.
- Time to focus on yourself
When you are in a long-term alcohol treatment center, you are the main focus. It allows clients to devote their time and energy to their healing process. It’s hard to deal with thoughts and emotions when newly sober but having to focus on themselves allows for more effective treatment. It’s easy to get wrapped up in outside situations and stressors. Long-term alcohol rehab allows the client to focus on their recovery.
- Sober peer support
Surrounding oneself with sober supports is often a tool used after leaving a long-term treatment center. Staying in a long-term rehab allows for clients to assimilate to other sober peers. Instead of being the odd man out who isn’t drinking, it allows clients to live and be around others who are on the same path as them. Sober peers in long-term treatment also allow for clients to see that they can have fun in recovery and make friends without drugs and alcohol.
- Continuous therapy
In short-term rehabs that are generally a 28 to a 30-day stay, you will have three to four individual therapy sessions. That is hardly enough time to get used to a therapist, their therapy methods, or to see any improvement. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a therapy method that is often utilized in addiction treatment. It can take 12-20 weeks of 30 – 60-minute sessions for results to be seen from this form of therapy. In a 28-day rehab, that’s not realistic. Entering a long-term alcohol rehab allows for therapy to truly be effective for those struggling with alcohol and drug addiction.
- Nutritional assistance
When clients come into a long-term rehab, they are often underweight and don’t know proper nutrition. When actively drinking and using, food is often an afterthought. Proper nutrition can help to alleviate some symptoms like irritability that many face in early recovery. A healthy diet is part of a healthy recovery. Addiction and alcoholism affect the mind, body, and spirit. These essential aspects must be taught and honed like all other recovery skills.
- Time to develop and use life skills
Having skills that transfer to the “real world” after long-term alcohol treatment are a necessary skill to learn. In short-term alcohol rehab, there isn’t time to properly learn and utilize the skills that are taught. Having life skills like creating a schedule, accountability, cooking, and working are vital skills for life. In long-term alcohol rehab, clients have the time to utilize these skills while dealing with new stressors in a safe and supportive environment.
Long-Term Sobriety from Long-Term Alcohol Rehab
Alcoholism and addiction are treatable, but there often isn’t enough time to truly work through the underlying issues in a short-term treatment center. When attending a long-term alcohol treatment center, the extended stay in treatment gets better results. Continuing treatment after a long-term alcohol treatment center by participating in alumni activities also furthers care. Recovery is a life-long commitment, and addiction can be too. Choose recovery by attending a long-term alcohol treatment center like GateHouse Treatment. Contact us today at 855-448-3588. You can heal, we can help.