Addiction rarely occurs overnight, and like the descent into the disease, the journey out of it can take some time.
People naturally want to know how long treatment and recovery will take. They want to know when they can expect to feel better and when they’ll stop craving that drink or that hit so badly.
Frustratingly, concrete answers to questions like these are hard to come by. Every person recovers in their own time, and every person requires something different on what is always a very individual journey.
The only part of recovery that transcends this individual experience is the reality of a lifetime of recovery. No matter who you are, once addicted, addiction recovery is for life.
The Facts of Recovery
- Addiction remains an incurable disease. Although treatment can induce remission, recovery lasts a lifetime.
- The National Institute on Drug Addiction (NIDA) does not recommend residential or outpatient programs that last fewer than 90 days, calling programs shorter than this “of limited effectiveness.”
- NIDA recommends staying involved in addiction treatment for “significantly longer” than 90 days as the best way to encourage lasting success.
- NIDA recommends that people taking methadone to help break their addiction stay on the medication for a minimum of 1 year before attempting to taper off.
- Longer Is Generally Better
There are no quick fixes to overcoming an addiction, and you should be wary of those treatment methods that promise the impossible. When deciding to get treatment for your addiction, realize that recovery is a lengthy journey. For the best chance of continuing recovery, you will need to invest significant time and effort into your treatment experience.
People who enter a short- or long-term residential addiction treatment program will need to continue their involvement in aftercare outpatient programs to maximize their chances of success. That will provide them continued support and encouragement on their path of recovery.