How Long Do Alcohol Rehab Programs Last?

Depressed man by windowWhen contemplating whether or not to enter an alcohol rehab program, one of the first questions many have is: How long will it take? It can be a tough question to answer definitively since alcohol rehab treatment varies so much from person to person. No two people ever have the same exact treatment program, and different people progress at different rates during the course of recovery. Understanding more about alcohol dependency and who is impacted by the disease can help those entering treatment have a better idea of how long the process might take.

Who Is Affected by Alcohol Dependency?

Alcoholism is a serious disease that affects millions of people. Problems with alcohol can range from binge drinking and driving while impaired to serious health conditions like physical and mental dependency. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, more than 15 million adults and 623,000 adolescents ages 12 to 17 had an alcohol use disorder (AUD) in 2015. Only 6.7 percent of those reporting and AUD received treatment.1 While not every person who abuses alcohol becomes dependent, the behaviors associated with both alcohol abuse and dependency can lead to fatal consequences. More than 80,000 people die each year in America from alcohol-related causes, and in 2014, alcohol-related driving fatalities numbered nearly 10,000.1 Children with alcoholic parents come to school hungry, sad and anxious because of their alcoholic parents. Communities and states spend millions of dollars each year on programs for alcoholic residents. No one goes untouched by alcohol abuse in the United States.

Alcohol Abuse Treatment Options

Alcohol treatment options vary based on the individual.2 There are several types of treatment choices available that target the severity of the disease, underlying mental health issues, and the duration of the alcohol abuse or dependency. Each part of the treatment process works together to help a person achieve long-term sobriety. The following are some parts of the process:

  • Detoxification. Sometimes it is necessary for a person to detox before beginning treatment for alcohol abuse. Detox is typically offered as part of inpatient treatment programs. It is one of the first steps in beginning an ongoing alcohol recovery plan, and it can take from a few days to several weeks.
  • Residential treatment. Usually lasting 30 days to six months, a residential inpatient treatment facility offers those struggling with alcohol abuse the opportunity to fully focus on recovery. With continual monitoring and supervision, an individual can be free from alcohol-related triggers and have consistent support. Some facilities offer residential treatment programs for up to one year or longer.
  • Traditional outpatient treatment. This option may be used as a progressive step after inpatient treatment, or it can be the first step for those with less serious alcohol problems. This type of rehabilitation allows a person to live at home and go to work while participating in the treatment plan. Outpatient therapy can average six months to a year intensively and then serve as part of an ongoing recovery plan.
  • Therapeutic communities (TC). As a final step or as its own treatment option, therapeutic communities can be essential in helping a person recover. Some well-known TCs include Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). These communities provide consistent support for those seeking help with recovery. Many programs require at least six months participation and can last for up to two years or longer.

No matter the program, the length of treatment depends on the individual as well as his or her health insurance coverage.

Finding Help for Alcohol Abuse

Don’t waste time struggling with alcohol dependency on your own. Our experts at The Oaks at La Paloma are trained and experienced and can find the right treatment for each person. Take the first step in getting sober by calling us here at The Oaks at La Paloma today.


1Alcohol Facts and Statistics.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. June 2017. Accessed 13 November 2017.

2What Are the Treatments for Alcohol Use Disorder?WebMD, WebMD. Accessed 13 November 2017.