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What is Long-Term Recovery?

Heavy drug use over a prolonged period can cause major chemical changes in the brain. Eventually, the brain becomes reliant on these drugs in order to function.

While this can be effectively treated with addiction rehab, recovery requires most of the body’s key functioning systems to get healthy again. It also takes time for the brain’s neuropathways to reconstruct; this doesn’t just happen overnight. There are many types of treatment options for drug and alcohol addiction and trying to decide which is the best option for you can feel extremely overwhelming. One of the first questions you will have to ask yourself is whether you want to try inpatient or outpatient rehab. While both can be completed on a short and long-term basis, inpatient rehab is typically recommended for long-term addiction treatment.

The length of treatment will vary depending on the severity of your addiction and whether you have any underlying health conditions or complex needs that need to be addressed.  It is extremely common for addiction and substance misuse to co-occur with other mental health disorders, such as depression or anxiety. Due to their complexity, co-occurring disorders generally require specialised treatment and longer-term care.

Long-term treatment recovery programmes involve a minimum of 90 days in a residential rehab setting and are typically followed up with continual care and support. In contrast, short-term recovery treatment refers to any programme that requires less than three months of treatment. Short-term residential rehab can last anywhere between three to six weeks with some patients opting to continue receiving outpatient care once they complete their programme. Short-term recovery plans are typically offered by health services, private rehab clinics, support groups, and charities and the therapies used in each will vary depending on your individual needs.

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What does a long-term recovery programme involve? 

Inpatient rehab

The first step in a long-term recovery programme is beginning treatment, preferably at an inpatient facility. The rehab process is typically split into two stages: detox and therapy.


The detoxification stage aims to tackle the physical aspects of addiction and rid the body of any toxins that have built up over time. Once you have cleared your system of any harmful chemicals, you are ready to begin your addiction therapy. Alcohol detoxes can be especially dangerous and in some cases, life-threatening, if attempted alone and without medical support. By undergoing detox in a professional setting, you will be prescribed an approved medication designed to reduce and manage the alcohol withdrawal symptoms and ensure your comfort during the process.


There are many different methods used to treat the psychological aspects of addiction. Counselling and therapy are designed to explore the underlying causes of addiction. Popular addiction therapy methods include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) one-to-one and group therapy sessions. Many inpatient rehabs offer holistic therapies such as meditation, mindfulness and yoga, which have been proven to accelerate the recovery process.


Aftercare is a vital part of any recovery and is invaluable when it comes to relapse prevention. Many people struggle with the thought of leaving rehab, however, many rehabs have exceptional aftercare programmes in place to ensure you remain supporting during your transition from clinic to home.

Support groups 

Support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous can be extremely beneficial as part of an ongoing recovery programme. These groups operate as a collective rather than one-to-one therapy, on the basis that talking about your experiences with addiction and hearing others share theirs can aid in long-term sobriety.

What are the benefits of a long-term recovery? 

The benefits of long-term recovery treatment become more apparent the longer you stay there. For example, if you decide to spend six months in rehab, you’re more likely to see big improvements in both your physical and mental health.

  1. Promotes structure, routine and productivity

Long-term residential rehab encourages people to make healthier lifestyle choices and develop better coping mechanisms. Spending weeks in a residential environment helps to ensure that you maintain this new structure and routine once you leave treatment.

  1. Provides the opportunity to form healthy relationships with peers

Having support is crucial during the recovery process. This support is especially valuable when it comes from people who have had similar experiences to you. Sharing helps to create bonds between people previously isolated because of their addiction. Through group therapies and social events, the long-term treatment encourages the development of healthy relationships.

3. It keeps out distractions

Choosing to undergo treatment in a residential rehab facility removes you from potential triggers and access to drugs and alcohol. This allows you to focus solely on your recovery journey without having to deal with external stressors. While outpatient treatment is convenient for many people, others struggle to remain sober and find that spending so much time at home during this crucial stage of their programme poses many challenges.

4. You receive a high level of support

Support is crucial in the early months of recovery, and long-term rehab provides the continual support you require during this stage of your treatment. Addiction is a complex disease and getting to the root of the problem can often take time. However, being surrounded by trained addiction staff as well as your peers, allows you to reach out for help whenever you need it. Long-term recovery provides more than just a detox and therapy programme. It offers patients the opportunity to form relationships and develop effective coping mechanisms which allows them to replace cravings with healthy behaviours, all of which aid in maintaining long-term sobriety.


Relief in having long-term rehab Which Rehab’s Inpatient programmes

At Which Rehab, we can help you find addiction treatment on both an inpatient and outpatient basis where appropriate to do so. Whether you need behavioural rehab or treatment for substance misuse, the type of treatment you need will depend on the severity of your illness and whether you require round-the-clock care. Make the first steps towards a better you, with our long-term recovery & short-term recovery programmes at Which Rehab.

For advice on which type of recovery programme is best suited to your needs, call our free 24-hour confidential helpline for advice on treatment options available to you.