Today we are going to be looking at the benefits of long term drug treatment and see if there are any benefits over shorter drug treatment programmes.
First to answer your question, is longer term drug treatment better than a shorter programme? Well the simple answer is yes if everything else is equal. Unfortunately it is not that simple. There are a considerable number of things to look for when you are considering a short term or long term drug treatment programmes.
Long Term Drug Treatment Program vs Short Term
The longer away from your triggers and normal environment you can be the better. It is pretty much common sense. 90 days is better than 30 days and 1 year is better than 3 months. Why, well the longer you are clean in a safe environment the more milestones you pass and the more prepared you are for the real world, providing it doesn't go to long for you. Eventually you are going to have to return to work or your family, your home, whatever you are leaving behind when you commit to any length of residential drug or alcohol rehab be it 28 day or a year, all the stuff will be there and your still going to have to face it when you return.
Also some long term drug treatment programmes are just long term, they just stretch it out longer, there is an argument to be made for that as above, the longer you are away from your trigger the better chance you have.
Generally though if you have been to a couple 28 day programs before I would suggest you consider a long term drug treatment programme of probably 90 at least. Why? It didn't take the first couple times in the shorter programs did it?
"If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always got."
That said longer is not always better, some of the 28 day programmes pack a considerable amount of counselling and therapy into their 4 weeks. In some cases more than you would receive in a 90 day or longer programme. With daily 1 to 1 sessions with counsellors and a full schedule for the time you are there. They know they don't have you for a lot of time so they try and get as much done as they can in the time they have you for.
Let's look at the centres in Thailand, most are short term, by short term I mean less than 90 days. The majority of programmes in Thailand are 28 days actually and some of the centers will accept you for less than that. Personally I think it is waste of your time to go to a centre unless you are committing for at least 4 weeks, 12 would be better, since it is very difficult to change years or decades of behaviour in any less time then that and it also takes 90 days for your brain to build new drug free neuro pathways.
So why are the programs in Thailand mainly 28 days? They will be happy for you to book longer but all of our research people were only willing to come to Thailand the majority of the time for one month. Plus with the visa on arrival you only get 30 days without applying in advance or doing visa runs over the boarder, which are getting harder to do and the government is clamping down on.
*Update - This article was written several years ago and it is now easier for clients to extend visas in country. The majority of clients at Siam Rehab stay with us for a minimum of 8 weeks and many for 12.
Another reason that so many centres are structured around short term instead of long term drug treatment programs is 4 weeks or so is all that most people can take off from their jobs or businesses, etc. Try getting 90 days off work and let me know how well that works for you? If you do your very lucky.
That said we do have a number of people come here for long term programsme of 90 days and more, generally however they were independently wealthy or younger people that could afford to drop out of society for a longer period of time.
<I personally always try to talk people into staying as long as they were willing to. The main reason is I believe the longer you are in treatment the better chance of success you have after leaving. Remember it took you years probably to get to where you are at, it will take some time to get back to life without drugs or alcohol.
I would also like to say a good 4 week programme with long term aftercare is going to be better then a crappy long term programme. However the gold standard is going to be a really good long term drug treatment programme with long term after care to go with it. This is your life we are talking about, I am not being overly dramatic, if you have read down this far you know I am right.
Money is also an issue with longer programmes if you are looking for top of the line treatment. Siam Rehab Thailand for an example, the 4 weeks is only $5,950, probably about what you would spend on a nice holiday anyways and within many peoples budgets, especially looking at the alternatives. Also looking at other comparable centres around the world it is excellent value for money when a similar program in the US or UK would probably run upwards of $30k plus. If you want to do a longer at Siam Rehab Thailand you are now looking at $12,500 for 12 weeks. Still good value by international standards but also a very large amount of money for most people and out of reach for many since you are still going to have to add flights, time off work, etc. to that.
Do I suggest a long term treatment programme for most people? Yes absolutely, but it is going to come down to your financial situation, employment situation, family situation and many other 'situations' if it is even a possibility for you. All that said if you can do it, do it. 90 days clean and sober is better then 30 days clean and sober. And if you are getting top of the line treatment for that period of time as well, well that says something doesn't it?
Just remember if you are going to go overseas for a better value programme get your affairs in order first, get a visa, make sure everything that you can predict is taken care of in advance. The last thing you want to do is leave before your ready due to something at home that could of been taken care of prior to you leaving.
If you are looking for a long term drug treatment program, of a shorter one, get in contact with us we can help you choose the best programme for you. We can look at your needs, religious beliefs (or lack there of), previous history, budget, etc. and get you into the program that will give you the best chance of lasting recovery.