How long does rehab really take? We understand that this is a concern when considering drug addiction, alcohol addiction, or trauma treatment. Many people want to expedite their path to recovery, but effective treatment can’t be rushed.

Why? Because you’re not just addressing one issue, but also the many underlying factors that have contributed to developing this disorder. If you don’t take the time to get to the root causes of a substance use or mental health disorder, you put yourself at greater risk of relapse. For these reasons, it’s best to arrive at treatment without a set departure date in mind. Instead, focus on the work at hand and ask yourself throughout the process, “when am I ready to leave?”

Effective Treatment Takes Time

There are several understandable reasons to want to speed up the treatment process. Taking time away from family, work, and friends can have financial consequences and leave others to pick up the slack. It can also be difficult to explain a longer absence to co-workers and others, making it a privacy concern.


Common barriers to treatment:

  • I can’t leave my job
  • Who will take care of my kids?
  • I can’t afford it
  • I can’t leave my partner

The reality is, if you’re at the point of needing help, your disorder has probably already begun to negatively impact your job and relationships. You’ll be a better partner, employee, parent, and friend once you’ve completed treatment. And many insurance programs cover at least part of the cost of addiction and mental health treatment.

While time way for inpatient treatment can seem difficult logistically, taking the time now to fully heal and develop recovery tools will pay life-long dividends. Some people even decide to extend their stay to work through additional issues, making sure they return home with all the tools they need to maintain their recovery. If you cut corners on treatment the first time, you are more likely to wind up returning, which will be more costly both financially and emotionally.

Inpatient Vs. Outpatient Treatment

The difference between outpatient and inpatient substance abuse treatment is about more than just location (a residential program vs. living at home). It’s about the level of care your condition warrants. We’re big proponents of outpatient treatment, and we’re proud of the work The Meadows Outpatient Center does in several cities across the US (including Dallas) and through its virtual IOP programs.

Inpatient and outpatient treatment differ in the amount of time devoted to treatment (full-day programming vs. partial-day sessions) as well as the amount of holistic and wellness offerings included. Both can be effective, but the right choice shouldn’t be about what’s most convenient right now, but what’s the best fit for your specific needs. Some patients may participate in an inpatient program and then step down to outpatient treatment, based on their unique situation and the recommendation of their treatment team.  

If the patient has a severe substance misuse disorder, needs detox, or lives in an unstable environment, they may be better off in an inpatient program. Inpatient therapy also lends itself to more engagement and fewer outside distractions, allowing the patient to focus solely on the recovery process.

Jerry Law

“It is amazing to be able to watch the transformation that takes place from the time when a patient arrives until the time they leave.”


Complex Disorders, Co-occurring Conditions

Addiction is a complex disease, and it doesn’t happen in a vacuum. In other words, getting sober is just the beginning. Anyone can stop self-medicating with drugs or alcohol for a period of time. But recovery is about more than just abstaining, it’s about understanding the disorder and how it works. It’s about doing the deep work to get to the root causes. It’s about discovering that it’s not too late to be the person you were always meant to be.


It won’t be easy, but it will be the most important thing you ever do for yourself. You can’t be truly healthy until you’re physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy. This may involve confronting unresolved trauma or co-occurring mental health issues like depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. You’ll also work on general coping skills and change unhealthy patterns. And before you leave, you’ll have a concrete plan for how to live out what you learned in treatment once you return home.

Additional reading from our blog: Why Length of StayMatters

We can help you get help

If you’re ready to regain control of your life but you’re not sure how to go about it, we can help. Our admissions specialists can gather the information needed to assess your situation, walk you through your treatment options, look into insurance coverage, tell you what to expect upon arrival, and share resources for communicating your need for treatment to your partner, boss, and loved ones.

Call 833-757-5697