Why Long-Term Addiction Treatment Works

Successful Drug Addiction Treatment takes 90 days or more

A great article published in PsychCentral a few years ago outlines the benefits of long-term drug treatment by asking “How Long Is ‘Long-Term’ Drug Rehab?” The article, written by David Sack, MD, is a near-prophecy for the comprehensive program developed by Riverbank House in Laconia, NH. Here are excerpts:

There is a growing consensus that for those who can manage it, long-term addiction treatment is the most effective option. Thirty days of residential treatment used to be the generally accepted standard in treatment. Why 30? Not because research showed its effectiveness, but because that was the average length of stay covered by insurance. Now, the National Institute of Drug Abuse has declared 90 days of treatment the ‘gold standard.’

Dr. Sack goes on to explain that “research shows that people completing at least 90 days of treatment have significantly lower relapse rates than those who stay for shorter amounts of time.”

Specific Benefits of Long-Term Recovery Care

The Four Guiding Principles of Riverbank House:

  1. Effective Addiction Treatment Requires Long-Term Care
  2. Responsible Recovery Care Addresses the Brain Impairments that Can Hinder Success
  3. Responsible Addiction Treatment Promotes Many Pathways to Recovery
  4. Successful Recovery Requires Practice within a Safe Community

Like Riverbank House, Dr. Sack promotes long-term care because, he notes — the brain needs time to heal, clients need time to practice practical application of new skills, new habits need time to take root, and relapse plans need to be lived with real-world exposure.

Sack, D. (2012). How Long Is ‘Long-Term’ Drug Rehab?. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 1, 2016, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/addiction-recovery/2012/05/long-term-drug-rehab/

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