Research Studies Show That The Length of Time Spent in Treatment Can Influence Your Recovery

How the time spent in treatment can influence your recovery

It’s easy to believe that addiction recovery is a “quick fix” – that if you simply attend a week-long treatment program, all of those cravings for substances will go away. The reality is that addiction is a deep-rooted disease that developed over time – and just as it took some time to develop, it will take some time to recover from, too. One of the most common misconceptions about treatment is that it will be quick and easy, and this one of the many reasons why a person may drop out of treatment or have to come back, time and time again.

If you or a loved one are currently considering seeking treatment for addiction, it’s time to get down the facts: time spent in treatment is crucial, and length of time in treatment can influence recovery outcomes.

Aspects of Treatment That Are Important

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) notes that the length of time spent in treatment may vary from person to person, because of individual circumstances and severity of the addiction. This is true – but in many cases, there are other issues that need to be addressed, such as with mental health, spirituality concerns, a need for a stronger social support system and more. Typically participation in a treatment program isn’t as effective if a person only attends for less than 90 days; with that being said, how time is spent in treatment is also of considerable importance.

There are several principles that should be noted regarding treatment:

  • Addiction is a complex disease, but it is treatable – and because it affects the brain so heavily, it will take time to heal and restore.
  • Each person has different needs, so there may need to be slight adjustments to a person’s treatment plan – and, at Cumberland Heights, you can work with a caring team of individuals who want to help you move forward in the best way possible.
  • Treatment needs to be readily available so that a person can become integrated into sobriety, and this is why residential treatment programs, such as the ones offered at Cumberland Heights, can be so helpful.
  • Effective treatment should tend to more needs than simply the addiction at hand; for example, Cumberland Heights offers 12-Step programs to assist individuals with developing a stronger sense of spirituality and creating a life that is focused on the understanding of a Higher Power.
  • Remaining in treatment for an appropriate amount of time is crucial to a person’s recovery – and, as NIDA indicates, at least 3 months is needed for evidenced progress to take place. However, if a person has a more severe addiction, longer durations will be needed.
  • Behavioral therapies, such as family counseling and group therapy, can make a world of difference in a person’s life. When attending these, along with other recovery-related activities such as 12-Step programs and outdoor activities, can boost a person’s self-esteem and confidence in recovery.
  • Constant assessment must be made over time to ensure that a person’s treatment plan is working efficiently for them.

If you’ve already made a plan to seek treatment, consider how long you’d like to stay – and what amount of time you feel would be most beneficial in achieving your recovery goals realistically.

What Research Shows

A 2015 study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence found that, after assessing 284 individuals in a residential treatment program, the percentage of days in treatment in addition to the percentage of days actively involved in recovery-related activities had a significant impact on their recovery outcomes. For example, 12-Step program involvement – such as having a sponsor, completing step work, contacting 12-Step members outside of meetings and more) was shown to increase abstinence over time. The study showed that participants who took part in 5 activities were 3.2 times greater to achieve abstinence than participants who took on 1 recovery-related activity. Altogether, this shows that what you become involved in during your time in treatment can have a significant influence on how your recovery is carried out.

A 2018 study titled, “Beyond Abstinence”: Changes in Indices of Quality of Life with Time in Recovery in a Nationally Representative Sample of U.S. Adults” found that the first year is most indicative of “drops” in self-esteem and quality of life – and that’s likely because the first year of recovery is considered to be the hardest. With this in mind, the amount of time spent in treatment can really set a person’s foundation for how they manage the rest of their lives.

Seek Help Today

If you’re ready to build a solid foundation in recovery, speak with a professional from Cumberland Heights today. It’s never too late to start building the life you’ve always dreamed of – but it starts with the mind, body and soul.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland River in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of two 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first. For more information, call 1-800-646-9998 today.