A new study published this month in the Open Journal of Psychiatry found that longer addiction treatment highly improves patients’ chances of long-term recovery.
The study followed 72 patients, with an average age of 30 years, who had been treated for alcohol and drug addictions. At follow-up after one year, results showed that those who underwent a standard 30-day treatment program, had a 55% treatment success rate, while for those in longer programs, success rates were 84%.
Continuing Care is Crucial
Most government and private health insurance companies around the world only reimburse patients for 30 days of addiction treatment. The study shows this is not enough:
“Aftercare is crucial once an individual has completed drug or alcohol treatment and is in recovery. There is a continuity of care that should be followed once initial treatment is completed. Our study shows that the absence of such treatment after 30 days significantly reduces the chances of the patient maintaining their sobriety,” said study leader Dr. Akikur Mohammad, of the University of Southern California.
Proof of Longer Treatment Success
The most important conclusion of this study is that it once again proved that longer addiction treatment significantly improves long term recovery rates. There has been an argument supporting longer-length rehab treatment for many years, and several other research results have supported the claim that a short 30-day-quick-fix treatment plan has high relapse rates.
For example, a 1999 research paper from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) investigated relapse rates of 1,605 cocaine users, a year after treatment, showing that 35% of patients treated for 90 days and below relapsed, while only 17% of those treated for longer did.
A 2001 study by the University of California included 1,167 adolescents undergoing treatment for substance abuse and showed that those who were in rehab treatment for longer than 90 days were less likely to relapse, as compared to adolescents who only stayed 21 days.
Castle Craig’s Outcome Studies Back The Argument
Castle Craig also conducts its own treatment outcome studies, which have consistently supported the argument that longer rehab programs give better results.
Oliver Barnes, a psychologist, who reviewed Castle Craig’s outcome studies explains: “Christo Research Systems’s independent study, which was conducted for Castle Craig in 2007 showed that patients who completed the entire programme, rather than just detox, had a 45% better abstinence rate after 3 to 5 years. Furthermore, Christo’s 2015 study for Castle Craig found that patients who were readmitted for a second attempt at treatment had better outcomes than first time clients. You could argue from this that repeated, longer term rehab does seem to be more effective.”
Addiction is a primary and chronic disease – as a result, successful recovery is a lifelong process that usually begins with treatment. During residential rehab treatment, specialist psychotherapy needs to address the psychological correlations and possible causes of addiction.
A comprehensive treatment programme of 90 days or longer is most effective because it gives patients sufficient time to learn recovery skills, coping skills, reset and replace their compulsive using patterns with new healthy mechanisms and deal with relapse triggers.
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Page last reviewed and medically fact-checked | February 26, 2020