Wondering what the Length of the Average Drug Treatment Program Is?

The length of the average drug treatment program depends on the intensity of one’s addiction. Treatment centers on finding the root cause of the individual’s addiction to help teach them how not use substances as a crutch. This process can take days or months, depending on each individual situation. After the patient is treated, he or she enters “recovery”, which is an ongoing process that lasts for the remainder of their life.


For those with mild addictions, the average length of the average drug treatment program can be as short as five to seven days. People suffering from milder addictions can usually be treated with counseling and group therapy. Those with more intense and serious addictions need extensive treatment, which often includes inpatient treatment programs. That usually last between two and three months.

Step by Step

The first step is admission into a drug treatment program.  Once admitted, the individual will then be assessed and that includes the patient’s medical history, and an analysis of the addiction, as well as the patient’s personality.  This usually takes half a day to a day to complete. After the initial assessment has been completed, the staff will determine the length of time that the person needs to spend in the treatment program. The next step is usually detoxification. This varies in length, depending on the severity of the addition. Detox can take anywhere from two days to three weeks.

Three Months or More?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) argues that substance abusers need at least three months of treatment to successfully beat an addiction. They state that the length of the drug treatment program is often the most important factor in the success or failure of the rehabilitation process.

We believe that the process should be tailored to the individual’s addiction, their past addiction history, and their current state of being. Therefore, the length of the average drug treatment program will always vary by individual, as no person is the same. There may be a mental or physical health problem happening in unison with the drug addiction that elongates treatment.

The longest drug treatment programs take around eighteen to twenty-four months, and are known as “long-term recovery programs”.  These treatments are so extensive because the individual needs assistance to change their personal psychology in order to conquer the addiction. Such programs also take so much time because they incorporate treatment elements such as medications, counseling, teaching coping skills, and relapse monitoring.

Take Your Time

Statistics show that the more time an addict spends in a drug treatment program, the more likely that person is to recover. There is no foolproof length of time that enables one to conquer addiction. Each individual is unique and should take as long as they need to fully recover.

Get Started

If you’re ready to make the commitment to get clean, we’re here for you.  With over forty years experience in addictions treatment, the Discovery Institute is the longest running recovery program in New Jersey.  Get your life back on track today—call us at (800) 714-2175 or visit us on the web at https://www.discoverynj.org/.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MDDr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.

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