December 13, 2022

What’s the Shortest Time You Can Stay in Rehab?

What's the shortest amount of time you can stay in rehab? Learn all you need to know about treatment length of stays.

person marking their calendar to see how long they are going to stay in rehab

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Contributors & Editors

Susana Spiegel

Recovery Writer and Advocate

Last Update on June 5, 2023

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What’s the shortest amount of time you can stay in rehab? It’s a question that people ask themselves when they’re considering getting admitted but don’t know if they can stay for a long period of time in treatment. 

In this treatment education resource, we explain. 

Searching for help with drug and/or alcohol addiction? Call us now at (888) 201-4610.

How long do people stay in rehab on average?

Rehabilitation is a long and intensive process that can take weeks, months, or even years to complete for some people.

The truth is that no set time frame for how long someone should stay in rehab exists.

The amount of time needed to achieve positive long-term results in recovery varies from person to person.

In some cases, someone may only need a few days to detox and get back on the right track.

In others, a longer stay may be necessary to fully address their complex addiction issues.

So, what’s the shortest time you can stay in rehab?

The answer depends on the type of treatment program you’re enrolled in and the severity of your addiction.

Generally speaking, most inpatient rehab programs last between 28 and 90 days.

However, some programs do offer shorter stays of 7 to 10 days, depending on the individual’s needs.

Inpatient rehab centers provide 24-hour medical care and support, which is critical to the success of long-term recovery. It’s why many recommended length of stay is at least 28 days.

Is going to treatment for a short time worth it?

Attempting to go through with drug and alcohol treatment, no matter how long you stay, is always worth.

However, the question that you want to ask yourself is: is will I see true long-term results if I stay in rehab for a short period of time?

The reality is that some people can and do get sober with a short stay in treatment, provided that they have ample support and a solid aftercare plan.

12 step programs, SMART recovery, and many other types of recovery programs exist to help individuals stay sober, even if they aren’t in treatment.

What does research say about treatment length of stays and success rates?

Let’s uncover the data that research has compiled about length of stays in rehabs and their correlation with successful or unsuccessful outcomes in recovery.

The one resounding message from each of these studies remains consistent: Research suggests that the longer you stay in treatment, the more likely you are to achieve successful recovery.

The correlations between longer lengths of stay in recovery and long-term success in recovery are clear.

A study1 from American Journey of Drug & Alcohol Abuse revealed that women who have longer stays in residential treatment have a better chance of remaining drug and alcohol free long-term.

Another study2 revealed that despite a growing body of evidence that longer treatment stays produce better outcomes, many are still staying in treatment for a shorter amount of time.

How long should I stay in a drug rehab program? 

It might not be the answer you want to hear, but it’s truthful. The length of stay in a drug rehab program depends, depends, depends. 

When looking at your substance abuse history there’s a lot to take into account to determine the length of stay that would be optimal for your success.

Considerations include the severity of addiction and your needs as individual. If a treatment center packed up a program with a set certain amount of days and kept it the same across the board for every person, outcomes wouldn’t be great.

So typically, most residential programs last from 30 to 90 days, but some may be shorter or longer depending on the situation.

What do I do if I can’t stay for a long time in rehab? 

The best thing you can do is call and speak with a treatmetn admissions specialist. The key is to let them know what’s going on and get an honest account for their program and what you can expect. 

Sometimes, treatment centers are able to make certain exceptions for those who can’t stay in inpatient or residential for a long time. 

The truth is there are many other options such as outpatient treatment that can help bridge this gap and ensure you get the treatment you need. 

Is 30 days in drug rehab enough? 

While every person is different, 30 days in drug rehab is usually not recommended. 

However, if you want to stay 30 days in drug rehab inpatient and then step down to a lower level of care like intensive outpatient or standard outpatient, you can still get the longer amount of care that you likely need. 

What can I do to figure this all out and make a decision?

Give us a call. We are Cornerstone Healing Center, a drug rehab facility in Scottsdale, Arizona and we’ve helped hundreds of people recover from drugs and alcohol. 

We can talk to you about your concerns about treatment length and create a plan that works for you. 

Call (800) 643-2108 or start with an insurance verification. 



[1] Effectiveness of Long‐Term Residential Substance Abuse Treatment for Women: Findings from Three National Studies. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 30, 537 – 550.

[2] Friedmann, P. D., Alexander, J. A., Yey, Y., Nahra, T., Soliman, S., & Pollack, H. A. (2006). Duration of nonmethadone outpatient treatment: results from a national survey. Substance abuse27(3), 47–53. 

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Author & Reviewers

susana spiegel recovery writer and SEO expert

Susana is a recovery writer and advocate with over 8 years in addiction recovery. She is passionate about sharing accurate and helpful information about mental health, addiction, and recovery. She holds a Bachelor’s in Christian Studies from Grand Canyon University and has over 7 years of working in the addiction field. 

lionel estrada lisac clinical director

Lionel is the Clinical Director of Cornerstone’s Scottsdale treatment facilities. He has had over 4 years at Cornerstone. He is personally in recovery and passionate about helping others overcome substance abuse and mental health challenges; he is trained as an EMDR, adopting a trauma-informed approach to treat the underlying issues.

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