Research has proven unequivocally that the longer an addicted person is in treatment, the more effective the treatment will be for long-term recovery. In general, an effective addiction treatment plan should last at least 90 days, and in many cases, much longer.
Sometimes, addicted people have health emergencies, such as an overdose, that require immediate placement in an effective detox and treatment program. Unfortunately, placement in an effective program is not always immediately available or further medical treatment is required for the health emergency. For those who need acute addiction care, treatment must begin as soon as possible.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration explains, “Acute care refers to short-term care provided in intensive care units, brief hospital stays, and emergency rooms (ERs.) Providers in acute care settings usually are not concerned with treating substance use disorders beyond detoxification, stabilization, and/or referral.”
These settings and their medical staff don’t have adequate resources or the specialized staff necessary to provide comprehensive mental health treatment for genuine addiction recovery. They can, however, provide the valuable services of detoxification and initial intensive counseling that prepares the patient for admission to an appropriate treatment program.
Short-term addiction treatment commonly takes place for three to six weeks before the transition to a 90-day or more program can be facilitated.