If you or someone you love is looking to get help for a drug, alcohol, or any other type of addiction, you’ve probably seen that both long and short term options are available. You may be tempted by a 30-day treatment program, thinking you can go into treatment and come out cured just a month later.
Unfortunately, this isn’t how it works. Plenty of anecdotal evidence and even scientific studies show that people who opt for long term treatment have a lower chance of relapsing in the future. But why is that?
We’ve put together a list of just a few of the reasons long term treatment for addiction is more effective than short term treatment.
Demonstrating a Commitment
By checking in to treatment in the first place, a person is making a commitment to themselves, their health, and their future. The longer they choose to remain in treatment, the more they prove to themselves that they are, in fact, committed to getting better.
Someone who decides instead to enter treatment for 30 days (or another short duration) may not be as committed to recovery and therefore be more prone to relapse when they are released. A person like this is showing that the beginning of a commitment is forming, but they may not be ready to fully recover just yet – and that’s okay. Each individual’s recovery process is unique and they should only enter recovery when they alone decide it’s time.
Getting More Practice
One of the reasons residential treatment is so effective is because it takes the addict out of his or her everyday routine and surrounds them with brand-new people and a completely different environment – an environment where sobriety is both the norm and the expectation at all times.
In this new environment, residents are given the opportunity to get into new habits that don’t involve alcohol or drugs. They’re able to practice their new normal.
The longer someone decides to stay in the treatment environment, the more they can solidify their new habits and practice what it feels like to be sober.
Receiving Community Support
Community is one of the most important building blocks for achieving and maintaining recovery. Residential treatment gives access to a large community of mentors, healthcare professionals, and, most importantly, other people who have shared similar experiences.
Spending a longer time integrating with this community allows more opportunities for sharing stories, hearing advice, and potentially making emotional breakthroughs. A person who opts for short term treatment may not even have a chance to fully integrate into their recovery community and may not receive all the benefits it can provide.