Long Term Treatment Works

Long Term Treatment Works

Long-term drug or alcohol rehabilitation programs are a type of treatment that requires the addict to dedicate a substantial amount of time toward getting sober and clean. In most cases, the program requires an inpatient stay at a residential facility, which can last anywhere from weeks to even a year or more.

Treatment is offered in many different settings with various approaches. In the United States alone, nearly 15,000 drug treatment facilities are operating that provide services to alcoholics and drug abusers. This happens in doctors’ offices and mental health clinics, as well.

Drug addiction or alcoholism is a disease and it affects a person’s mental and physical health. Not everyone requires the same treatment because everyone is unique. However, in many cases, a long-term treatment problem is more likely to lead to long-term sobriety.

Why Long-Term Treatment?

Research has shown that a good outcome, when it comes to drug or alcohol addiction, requires a significant amount of time in treatment. Treatment that is less than 90 days may offer some results, but it will not be of the same quality as a longer stay. Many people are overwhelmed by the idea of going into treatment for a long stay and it is certainly a hard decision to make, but it can be the difference between sobriety and relapse.

These programs allow an individual to cleanse from their addictive substances and then gives them time and the resources needed for recovery. In addition, looking at the root causes of addiction takes time and requires a large amount of therapy to fully understand the underlying causes of their addiction. It also allows a longer time to fully explore these things and understand how to cope with them in the future.

Alcohol and drug abuse take a physical toll on the body and long-term facilities allow extended periods of care and rest. After being in treatment for some time, people find they are eating and sleeping better than before. These things continue improving throughout the duration of their long-term treatment program. This also helps to reduce the chance that the person will need to use substances later on.

Many facilities offer special communities for various demographic groups, like women who are pregnant, teenagers, or women with children.

What Happens In Long Term Treatment?

While every facility will have its own rules and guidelines, a general timeline and understanding of what will occur in rehab can be helpful for people who are anxious about the prospect. Some of the phases of treatment include detoxification, rehabilitation, and aftercare support.

We will go into the things that happen in a long-term treatment facility and how they help addicts find the road towards recovery.

Intake and Assessment

In most treatment facilities, the first thing that will happen is an evaluation and assessment process. You may speak with various specialists at this time. They are there to diagnose how severe your problem is and determine if you have other underlying mental health issues. This might include PTSD, bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety, or others.

This is also often the point where a treatment plan will be made. This is done to allow for assessment of your progress while at the facility. So, during intake and assessment you may have a drug abuse evaluation, mental health screening, health evaluation, as well as other assessments, which allow the staff to understand any personal or financial considerations that need to be considered.

Medical Detoxification

This is the part that nobody looks forward to. However, in order to focus on your progress and start the path toward lifeline sobriety, you need to be away from the influences of drugs and alcohol. This may take place at a facility or another medical location. Medical supervision will be available to ensure you are made as comfortable as possible and that your experience with drug withdrawal is in a safe manner. Depending on the circumstances, medications may be prescribed to help with symptoms or cravings.

Detox can take hours or days, depending on the substance and length of addiction. It is also not enough to detox and then go out into the world. Most addicts need ongoing therapy to continue to stay off drugs, which is why long-term treatment is a good option.

Therapeutic Treatments

There are a number of different treatment options at this stage and it will depend on the individual and the facility what will be utilized. Standard options typically include motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral therapy, multidimensional family therapy, and contingency management.

Motivational interviewing is a technique that works to help an individual feel motivated to change while encouraging them to abstain from substances and continue treatment. Patients are taught what is causing them not to care whether they change or not and helps them work through these issues. The treatment is done in a non-judgmental and non-confrontational way that encourages patients to put in the work. This type of therapy helps increase an individual’s awareness of the negative side effects of addiction and how they can overcome them.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is used to help a patient modify their attitude toward drug use. This type of therapy can be used along with medication to increase the effectiveness of both. The therapy encourages patients to figure out what situations put them at risk for relapse and then determines ways to prevent that relapse from occurring. CBT takes place with a counselor or psychologist.

For adolescents and teens with substance abuse problems, multidimensional family therapy is a common therapy option. This is a home-based program that focuses on treatment of four areas: the person using drugs, their friends, their family, and the community as a whole. This involves therapy for the patient as well as family and is used to help young people stay sober. It involves working on reducing harmful actions and encouraging more positive and health behaviors. Everyone in the family is encouraged to participate in group therapy and a 12-step program.

The last technique, contingency management, encourages making better choices, like staying sober or doing certain tasks. In this case, the patient may be given incentives like food, movie passes, or personal items as a reward for being drug-free. It is a very effective method for keeping people in treatment and sober.

Medication Therapy

Some people may require the use of medications in order to detox and begin recovery. People often wonder whether this is safe or if it is simply exchanging one addiction for another. However, this is far from the actual case. Medications like methadone and buprenorphine are administered and prescribed by medical professionals in controlled conditions where they are effective and safe for treating certain types of addiction.

These medications are administered orally or under the tongue in specific doses and do not have the same effects as the illicit drugs. In fact, taking these medications and then taking a drug like heroin can result in the effect of the illegal drug being suppressed. As such, it’s not worth the effort of seeking out and buying drugs if they are going to do little to nothing.

Self Help Groups

Groups like Alcoholics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, and Narcotics Anonymous are examples of self-help groups. These work well in conjunction with professional treatment. Many treatment centers in Colorado encourage their patients to participate in these groups, both during and after professional treatment has concluded. They are a means of support, especially in recovery, where other people dealing with the same problems are present.

Harm Reduction

In addition to providing help with drug addiction, treatment can also aid in other areas, as well. Those who abuse drugs, whether by injection or otherwise, have a higher risk of getting hepatitis C, human immunodeficiency virus, and other diseases. These types of health problems are transmitted by sharing drug needles, as well as by engaging in unsafe sexual behavior, which may be associated with substance use.

Treatment centers help to limit the spreading of these diseases by keeping an individual in a safe and monitored environment. In fact, those who inject drugs and never enter treatment are six times more likely to be infected with HIV than those who go into and stay in treatment.

Sticking It Out

One of the biggest problems in treatment is that patients become unengaged and drop out of the program or stop working on the process. This is a constant situation and facilities must keep them motivated in order to ensure success. The patient can aid in this by remembering to view their addiction as a disease that requires monitoring and care.

Things To Consider When Choosing A Facility

If you or someone you know is considering a long-term rehabilitation facility, it’s important to choose a place that feels comfortable and can offer what you need. As such, it’s a good idea to talk to someone at the facility who can answer a number of questions that will be important throughout your recovery.

Here are some of the things you should inquire about in order to ensure successful treatment:

Ask questions about what kind of staff members are available and how they are trained and certified to treat those experiencing substance abuse.

Find out what individual and group therapy options are available and ask questions to make sure these fit your needs.

Gain an understanding of whether the facility has both medical and clinical staff and treatment options.

Ask whether your partner or family is allowed to take part in your treatment.

Consider whether the facility offers education on nutrition, coping mechanisms, and life skills that will help with continued sobriety after leaving treatment.

If you struggle with mental illness, see if a dual diagnosis treatment is available that can work with your problem and your substance abuse at the same time.

Family and Friends

Motivating a friend or family member to stay in therapy can go a long way toward achieving lifelong sobriety. Family therapy is one way this can help, as the family takes an active role in treatment, which can be very motivating. Having loved ones around and interested in their sobriety may make someone more likely to stay on the straight and narrow.

Family members can help find treatment for loved ones, but it can be a bit overwhelming. There are a lot of resources out there though, either online or recommended by a doctor. Some of the places you may want to peruse include The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Faces & Voices of Recovery, drugfree.org, and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.


Understanding that long-term care is much more likely to lead to lifelong sobriety is a key concept for anyone considering recovery. The idea of spending months in a facility may be frightening or overwhelming, but those who are dedicated to quitting drugs and living a clean life will almost certainly do better in this type of environment. We hope this guide leads you to understand why this process is available and what it can provide for those who seek it out.

Drug & Alcohol Detox

Peaks Recovery is medically staffed by a primary care physician, a psychiatrist, and round-the-clock nursing. The medical team’s acumen provides the safest medical detox in Colorado.

Inpatient & Residential Treatment

Peaks Recovery is licensed to provide the highest level of inpatient and residential programming in Colorado. In addition to satisfying state criteria, we have further received the highest recognition from the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) for our 3.7 and 3.5 levels of care.

IOP Treatment

Peaks Recovery provides accommodating support for individuals who may be experiencing some obstacles in their recovery journey or are looking for a step down from an inpatient program.

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