30 Days in a Drug Rehab: A Shortchange, Not a Shortcut

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Burning Tree, a long term drug rehab in Texas, recently published success may prove 30 days in a drug rehab really is not long enough for people to recover from addiction.

Another challenge of a short stay in a rehabilitation facility is the lack of time in addressing and following up the underlying issues that led to drug or alcohol abuse.

Burning Tree, a long term drug rehab, announces that many people that continue to relapse after leaving treatment may not need more of the same but longer stays in treatment before being discharged. They recently published their success rates after a 4 year study.

One person whom help conduct the study stated, "Failed attempts at recovery in short-term rehabilitation facilities have long been attributed to the individual. But evidence suggests that relapse of someone who spends 30 days (or less) in rehab may have more to do with the limitations of the program than the personal characteristics of the person attempting the recovery. In effect, the individual seeking a shortcut to sobriety may find he or she is shortchanged by the offerings of a 30-day program."

The data also suggest that internally one common expectation is that a person with a dependency will receive a sufficient amount of treatment over the course of four weeks to sustain a long-term abstinence. For most people, the separation from the drug or alcohol of choice is maintained only during the duration of the program or shortly thereafter. That may be due in part to a generic approach of abstinence touted by most short-terms programs that are not designed to provide customized treatment with respect to a person’s history, health condition, gender and cultural background.

Michael Smith media director at Burning Tree had this to say, "Another challenge of a short stay in a rehabilitation facility is the lack of time in addressing and following up the underlying issues that led to drug or alcohol abuse. During the course of one month, a person with a long-standing drug problem may be begin to understand the damaging effects of the abuse, but still not understand how to solve the problem. The skills necessary to avoid returning to the abuse have not been effectively ingrained in such a short period of time, and the pattern of abuse still exists."

He went on to say, "Repeated attempts at recovery using short-term rehab are indicative of a shortcoming with the method as well. The individual who returns to a 30-day program as a response to the same condition may grow frustrated with the process and mistakenly assume that any effort to reach his or her objectives is futile. This frustration can exacerbate the problem, leading to more self-destructive behavior that compromises one’s health and well-being as well as relationships, employment and financial status."

The study also found that an another difficulty with achieving success through a short-term rehabilitation program is the willingness of the individual to accept the need for treatment. A person whose stay is involuntary, such as one sent to rehab by a court order, is generally reluctant to readily participate in treatment at first. This delay can reduce the overall effectiveness of treatment.

In contrast, a long-term drug and alcohol rehabilitation program can offer an essential element that’s missing in the 30-day programs: the chance to experience a relapse and plan for the next one. These relapse prevention plans are crucial because of inevitable nature of relapses, even in the midst of treatment. While in the safe haven of a long-term residential program with its ongoing monitoring and round-the-clock care, a person’s relapse can become a learning tool to help someone recognize warning signs for a relapse and learn the strategies to avoid the people and places in the outside world that are more likely to lead to a relapse.

Burning Tree team would like those in need of help to know, when chronic relapse has profoundly affected an individual’s health, relationships, employment and financial status—and repeated short-term rehabilitation programs have provided no lasting solutions—it’s time for a long-term rehabilitation program. Burning Tree in Texas operates two long-term residential facilities, outside of Dallas and Austin, that serve people from all 50 states. Information about the services at Burning Tree can be found online at http://www.burningtree.com while inquiries by phone are welcome at 866-287-2877.


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Michael Smith