Why Long-Term Addiction Rehab Produces Better Outcomes

a man from a long term rehab center looking at the camera

Why Long-Term Addiction Rehab Produces Better Outcomes

a man from a long term rehab center looking at the cameraFor most people, rehab means a 28-30-day stint in a recovery clinic. That standard care often feels like a long time for many of us, especially when we have to take time off of work, away from childcare, and away from other life responsibilities and goals. At the same time, modern medicine and research increasingly shows that 30 days is not enough to offer the full term of support and care that most people need. For that reason, long-term addiction rehab, or rehab that extends up to 6 months, is increasingly available. Here, long-term addiction rehab facilities often adjust the treatment model to the patient. This means that you receive care for as long as your doctor and provider thinks you need it.

The 30-day treatment model still offers convenience and an alternative to those who can’t afford a longer term of care. However, continuing with outpatient treatment after an inpatient stay is still recommended. There are many reasons why long-term addiction rehab produces better outcomes than the traditional model. If you’re considering investing in longer care for you or your loved one, it’s important to understand why, and what the differences are. 

Based on Biological Recovery

Most people are aware that recovering from the physical impacts of addiction can take a very long time. Few of us are aware of just how long. For example, the early impacts of addiction on the reward system typically fade within 30-90 days depending on the individual. After 30-90 days of treatment, your brain will be at a semi-permanent state of “recovery” for the next 12-24 months. From there, you’ll continue to heal, but more slowly.

For many people, it does take 1-2 years before your brain resembles a “control” subject of someone who hasn’t been addicted to drugs or alcohol. For example, it typically takes about 14 months for your brain to show levels of dopamine transporters at levels similar to those of persons who have never been addicted. Brain imaging from persons who were abstinent after alcoholism also showed that the longer individuals were abstinent, the better brain recovery was. For example, individuals who were abstinent for 10 months were significantly more likely to show normal volumes in areas of the brain related to executive control, salience, and emotional processing than individuals who were sober for 1 month.

On the other hand, your brain may never fully recover from addiction. The earlier you start using or drinking, the more permanent changes will be. For example, adolescents who heavily drink are likely to never have a brain that functions the same as a control subject who never had an addiction. Still, that just means you’ll need more ongoing support, rather than that you can’t live without drugs or alcohol.

Essentially, your body takes a long time to recover from addiction. Spending one month in rehab can help you to overcome the worst of cravings. For many others, that process takes up to 90 days. From there, you’ll still have a long uphill battle as your brain slowly returns to normal.

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Benefits of Long-Term Drug Rehab

people during group therapy a long term rehab centerLong-term drug rehab is typically delivered in one of several ways, depending on your resources and time. These include:

  • A longer stay of 90+ days in a rehab facility where you’ll receive full support and ongoing care in a facility, followed by aftercare when you leave
  • A 30-day stay in residential treatment followed by 6+ months of outpatient treatment
  • A 30-day stay in residential treatment followed by a stay in a sober home and 6+ months of outpatient treatment

Here, you’ll normally get a therapy and counseling schedule that’s very similar to what you’d get in a shorter-term rehab. However, it will extend for longer. You’ll also get additional tracks of long-term self-care, physical health, mental recovery, social recovery, etc., to help you rehabilitate back into your life, rather than just helping with the immediate pressing issue of the substance use disorder.

Building Structure – The longer your stint in rehab, the more time you’ll have to build the structure and habits that allow you to live in a healthy way. For example, most people are aware of the “24 days to build a habit” maxim. Few of us are aware that in reality that scales from 14-90+ days. The longer you have to repeat habits like daily exercise, cleaning, self-care, meals, etc., the more you’ll be able to make those routines a normal part of your life, without extra effort. Therefore, spending more time in rehab means you’ll have more time to make structure a normal part of your life. You’ll also have more time to benefit from structure set up by someone else, so you don’t have to worry about or think about things like ensuring you’re eating well, that you’re getting enough exercise, etc. You’ll get the healthy lifestyle while having the headspace to focus on your recovery, managing your mental health, and working through counseling and therapy.

Ongoing Care –Traditional rehab means you get a few weeks of detox followed by a few weeks of intensive therapy and care. With long-term rehab, you get detox and then as much ongoing therapy as you need. This means that your program is completely scaled to meet your needs to help you work through pressing issues as they come up and then to continue to help you build healthy coping skills, healthy life skills, social skills, etc.

A Focus on Life Rehabilitation – Long-term drug rehab means you can shift the focus of mental healthcare away from triage and focusing on immediate issues like cravings and addiction and towards helping you build the skills for a healthy and happy life. That means skills to cope with cravings, time management, emotional regulation, learning to build healthy and fulfilling social relationships, introducing self-care, learning to manage mental health, etc. That will, eventually, mean you’re set up to be much more stable and healthy when you do go back to your life.

Support as Long as You Need It – If you’re staying in rehab as long as you need it, you can get the care you need. That means continuing each part of your track until you’re actually ready to graduate. That means you can focus on recovering from and dealing with cravings for as long as you need. When you’re ready to move on from that, you can do so. You can spend as much time as you need to learn how to manage stress, emotional regulation, and anything else that comes up during the course of your treatment. That will, eventually, give you a much better baseline to deal with and manage yourself and your life. Recovery at your own pace also means you can get treatment for years on an outpatient basis, and you don’t have to stop going to care until you’re ready to do so.

Aftercare – It doesn’t matter how long treatment is, you should always get aftercare. That means options to restart treatment and to have checkups, ongoing sessions with counselors, and meetups with your peers. Long-term addiction rehab typically provides that as a standard part of treatment, meaning you know that when you graduate from care, you’ll have follow-up sessions to ensure you’re still doing well, you’ll have opportunities to reconnect with people, and you’ll have opportunities to give back where you want to.

Long-term addiction rehab is an investment because it takes more of your time and for longer. However, it provides you with a baseline to build a healthy life, to get treatment at your own pace, and to stay in care for as long as you need it. It’s not the right solution for everyone, but for many people, it means you’re opting into long-term support and structure, so you get what you need to stay clean and sober.

If you or your loved-one struggles from alcoholism or other substance abuse please contact us today and speak with one of our experienced and professional intake advisors about our alcohol rehabdetox, partial hospitalization, and residential treatment programs. 10 Acre Ranch also has specialty tracks like our pet friendly drug rehab and couples substance abuse treatment programs. We’re here to help you recover.

The 7 Most Commonly Abused Drugs in College

alcohol, drugs, pills on a wooden background

The 7 Most Commonly Abused Drugs in College

alcohol, drugs, pills on a wooden backgroundFor many college students, going to college is the first point in life when they have to be alone, self-sufficient, and responsible for themselves. That also means that for many, college is a time of self-exploration, creating and setting boundaries, and dealing with high levels of stress at the same time. As a result, nearly all college students will experiment with drugs at some point. For most, that means trying cannabis or even trying something like Ritalin. And, for many, it ends there. For others, that goes on to become a long-term problem.

College students drink and use drugs for a lot of reasons. Those include peer pressure, with students in sororities more likely to drink and binge drink and also more likely to have alcohol abuse problems later in life. They also include for stress management, with many college students using drugs to “self medicate” stress, to sleep despite stress, or to reduce anxiety. Others use “study drugs” like Ritalin to try to boost exam results. As a result, more than 22% of college students regularly use drugs and another 55% regularly drink, and heavily.

The following data covers the 7 most commonly used drugs in colleges.


Marijuana or Cannabis is one of the most commonly abused drugs in the United States. That’s partially driven by the fact that many people don’t see it as harmful. In other cases, it’s because students use it to self-medicate and reduce stress. At the same time, in 2016, 20% of full time college students used cannabis regularly. In 2021, 11% of college students reported using cannabis daily, up from 6% in 2011. This means that cannabis is more popular in colleges than ever, with more and more students using it every single day. Cannabis is most-often used to control anxiety and to de-stress. However, some students also use specific strains as a study drug, although this is less common.

In addition, while cannabis has a low abuse profile compared to some drugs like opioids, it’s still highly addictive, with an estimated 1 in 4 daily users suffering from addiction. 


Ritalin is so well-known as a study drug that it’s sometimes more associated with college students and abuse than with ADHD treatment. Today, somewhere between 5 and 30% of all college students have used or are currently using the drug. This prescription stimulant is intended to reduce the symptoms of ADHD and ADD. However, college students use it to increase alertness, to improve focus, and to stay awake during study, lectures, and tests.

While not highly addictive, Ritalin is illegal to use outside of a prescription. It can also cause heart irregularities and may increase risk of heart attack. And, when mixed with alcohol and other drugs, Ritalin can significantly increase the risks of overdose.


Adderall is another prescription stimulant that’s rapidly becoming more and more popular among college students as a study drug. This means that students are very likely to use it in the same capacity as Ritalin, as they are a very similar drug. Adderall lasts for either 6 hours or 14 hours, which means it’s more likely to still be active when students start drinking or using other drugs. In addition, college students are 3% more likely to use Adderall when age matched to non-college student populations.

Adderall is also illegal to use without a prescription. However, the risks are virtually identical to Ritalin.

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MDMA, LSD, ecstasy, and other hallucinogenic drugs remain extremely popular on campuses across the United States. Often, this means these drugs are taken as party drugs. However, microdosing is also increasingly popular, as students take tiny doses of the drug to boost performance, reduce stress, or create subtle psychedelic effects. Most students think of microdosing as safer than taking a full dose, but over the course of the day, often build up higher levels of hallucinogenic in their system than by taking a single dose at once.

While the addiction profile for hallucinogenic is low, these drugs are still dangerous. Many have a risk of causing psychosis, months-long symptoms, and extreme reactions like vomiting that can be life-threatening. As a result, ER-related visits have gone up by close to 4.7% since 2011.

college students and cocaineCocaine

Cocaine was the fourth most commonly used drug on college campuses in 2017. In one study, 4% of full-time college students used cocaine. In others, cocaine is shown to be much more common, with as many as 13% of students in some universities using it. Cocaine is primarily used as a party drug, which is popular for being relatively safe and for wearing off quickly. However, cocaine still exposes users to significant risks including hypertension, mental health disorders, hyperactive disorder, heart problems, increases in paranoia, and increases in anxiety. As a result, students use the drug thinking it’s a relatively harmless party drug but end up facing significant side-effects and cravings at the same time as high stress and peer pressure.


Today, an estimated half a million college-aged adults have an opioid use disorder. This means that 1.2% of all people in this age group are addicted to opioids, with many more using them. Changes in how opioids are prescribed to young people have also resulted in increasing reliance on street drugs like heroin and fentanyl, including mixes of fentanyl and Adderall, which pose significantly high risks of overdose. Opioids are primarily used as a party drug or self-medicating drug, with people using them to destress, to feel better, and to escape from the stress of college life. At the same time, these drugs pose a significant risk of addiction as well as of physical and mental health complications.


Alcohol is the single most abused drug on college campuses. While not traditionally though of as a drug, this intoxicating substance is abused by more than 55% of all college students. In fact, 39% of college students report binge drinking. Men in sororities are most vulnerable, with increased risk of binge drinking, substance use disorder, and later life substance use disorder. Alcohol creates risks of addiction, mental health problems, and physical health problems. For many students, it also makes it harder to study, harder to focus and stay alert in class, and harder to have the mental energy for study.

This means that alcohol abuse can significantly sabotage study and your ability to feel good around college. It can also mean making impulsive decisions like drinking too much, not doing homework, and staying up too late, which makes the rest of study harder.

Getting Help

If you or a loved one is struggling with drugs or alcohol, it’s important to reach out and get help. Today, most college campuses offer resources for students who need help. For example, you can often get therapy, work towards enrollment in a rehabilitation program, and get therapy right from campus. However, it’s also important to talk to your doctor, to figure out the underlying causes behind substance abuse, and to work towards building coping mechanisms and skills that will allow you to navigate college without turning to drugs and alcohol. For many college students that means going to therapy, getting longer-term treatment and support, and ensuring that you have a good support network in place, even when going off on your own to a college.

I Found Out I’m Dating an Addict – What Should I Do?

couple having trust issue because of drug addiction

I Found Out I’m Dating an Addict - What Should I Do?

couple having trust issue because of drug addictionFor most of us, the picture of an addict brings up someone who doesn’t function, who perhaps doesn’t have a home, and who doesn’t have a job. So, learning that people in your life, including people you are dating, are struggling with addiction can be a massive shock.

Addiction is a normal part of life for 48.7 million Americans. That means that 17.3% of the population, or nearly 1 in 5 Americans, has an “addiction”. It’s perfectly normal to work with, date, and be intimate with people who have drug and alcohol addictions.

At the same time, figuring out what to do with that knowledge is a harder step. Do you break up with them? Do you try to get them into treatment? Is it your responsibility to take care of them? Should you be creating as much distance as you can? Unfortunately, there are no easy answers, but you can take a lot of steps that take both yourself and your partner into account.

Stay Safe

The first thing you should keep in mind is that people facing addictions can be unpredictable. If you aren’t sure how your partner is going to react, you should be careful. You should also take steps to ensure you’re taking care of your own mental health. That means:

  • Making space for yourself and your feelings
  • Not turning into a caretaker
  • Not making yourself uncomfortable for the sake of your partner
  • Not agreeing to lie or hide substance abuse for your partner
  • Taking time and space out when things get stressful
  • Breaking up if you feel uncomfortable dating an addict
  • Seeking out therapy and trauma therapy and thereby recognizing that this is a traumatic experience for you

If you find yourself over extending, taking on all of the responsibilities in the relationship, or constantly being unhappy because of your partner, it’s okay to break up. Even if you love them, you shouldn’t be ruining your life for someone else.

It’s also important to keep in mind that addiction changes people. Once someone goes to therapy and gets help, they are going to be a different person. Holding out for getting someone you used to know back or expecting that your partner is the same before and after therapy is only going to result in self-harm.

Understand Your Boundaries and Capabilities

a couple resolving issues togetherYou’ll have to set boundaries with your partner, decide if you want to stay with them, and decide if you can even be fair to them in a relationship. Before you do, you should figure out answers to questions like:

  • What are you comfortable with around drug and alcohol use?
  • Can you approach substance abuse from a perspective of nonjudgement? E.g., seeing it as a disorder and something that needs medical treatment?
  • Can you take an approach of harm reduction (my partner will use x substance so the important thing is that they use it as safely as possible until they can get treatment)
  • Decide how much addiction and the resulting behaviors make you uncomfortable

That can mean realizing that you see addiction as a shameful personal choice and that you can’t change that, and therefore can’t date this person. It can also mean realizing you don’t have the mental health or the stability to deal with someone who will be an emotional rollercoaster who needs a lot of extra support and care. It may mean realizing that you invest too much into caring for people and it’s not healthy for you. It may also mean realizing you have to set very good boundaries that may mean seeing your partner less or even breaking up with them.

Whatever that leads to, it’s important that you go at it from a perspective of understanding yourself and what you need and then figuring out how that works with what your partner needs in that time.

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a female talking to her boyfriend about his addictionTalk to Your Loved One

It’s important to talk to your loved one and set boundaries and expectations. That won’t be easy. It may also involve confronting your loved one with their addiction. That can be difficult, and it can end up being a very emotional and even confrontational conversation. At the same time, you need that conversation to decide what to do.

  • Set boundaries and state what you can take and why. Try to be gentle but be firm and clear about your needs. Set hard boundaries where you can follow up on them. E.g., if you say “I need you to not come home completely drunk” you have to be able to follow up and step out of the situation if your partner comes home completely drunk. Good boundaries look like “I need X to be able to be comfortable and happy”. E.g., “I need to have a partner I can rely on, and that means I need you to follow through on promises when you make them, if you can’t do that, I will stop accepting promises from you”.
  • Set communication guidelines. That can mean siting down and talking, sharing when your partner is off using or drinking, avoiding heated conversations, avoiding name-calling, etc.
  • Share any steps you are taking to protect yourself. E.g., “I won’t share finances with you”, or “I don’t feel you can be reliable with chores so I won’t share them with you or live with you”.
  • Try to be clear about what your wants for the future are, ask those from your partner, and try to create a plan for the future.
  • Try to stay calm. People who are addicted to substances can be avoidant, violent, moody, and irritable. They can respond to what seem like perfectly reasonable statements by being completely unreasonable. It’s important that you

Sitting down to have a discussion will help you both understand what to expect from the other. However, it’s important to keep in mind that addiction can make honesty around that difficult. You might find that you set clear expectations with your partner and they don’t follow up or act as though the conversation was never had.

Seek Out Help

man getting into treatmentTaking time to understand addiction, how it works and what help looks like is important if you want to stay with your partner. Even if you’re casually dating, you’ll want to know what addiction is and what treatment looks like. That means taking time to learn about addiction, to learn about treatment options, and to try to talk to your partner about them.

At the same time, it’s not your responsibility to get your partner into treatment. You also can’t make them make better choices or get help. You can offer to help, you can be supportive, and you can be nonjudgemental, but you can’t make them motivated to get clean or sober.

You’ll also want to consider getting help for yourself. Living with or dating someone with a substance use disorder can be highly traumatic. It’s not easy to invest in someone who can’t invest fully in you. Seeking out therapy, attending groups like Al-Anon, and otherwise working towards ensuring you have space for your own mental health will be important if you stay dating your partner.

Addiction is a behavioral disorder that legally qualifies as a temporary disability. The person you’re dating is very sick. You don’t have to stay with them, you don’t have to take responsibility, and you should make sure you take care of your own mental health and wellbeing if you stay with them. Dating an addict can be difficult and traumatic, however, there are no right answers except to try to approach the situation with nonjudgement, to make sure you’re taking care of yourself as well, and to ask for help for yourself and your partner wherever you can.