Your guide to how long rehab is likely to take to recover from addiction in the UK.
The short answer as to how long rehab will take you, is that the amount of time needed will differ from person to person, depending on the severity of your addiction, but typically a stay in a rehab facility will be anything from a week to 90 days. Government guidance states that getting the time period right is crucial to your successful recovery[i].
This page will explore all the aspects that can affect how long rehab takes you in greater detail.
No Two Treatments are the same
First and foremost: never compare your rehab time to other people. There are countless things that can affect your progress, let alone things like your age, height, and weight. There’s no point comparing yourself to those who rehab quickly as their genetics are simply different to yours. No to rehab treatments are the same. In fact, brain imaging has shown how different addictions affect us differently[ii].
Don’t measure yourself against people. Instead, focus on taking your time and getting it right.
Rehab can take 7 days, 14 days, 28 days, or longer
When people talk about rehab, they are often referring to the stay as an in-patient in a rehabilitation clinic, but the term rehab could also refer more generally to the complete programme which includes after care support and this will usually go on for much longer than 90 days.
If you are receiving aftercare from a high end clinic, for example, you could be receiving help for a full year afterwards. If you are in a 12 steps program, you could continue to go to the meetings for as long as you needed to[iii], even using your experience to help others.
Remember, treatment timelines are an individual thing that the National Institute of Drug Abuse recommends you discuss with your doctor[iv].
Why choose 7 days?
7 day rehab treatments are best used by those suffering a mild addiction, or by those who have already conquered their addiction but feel in danger of a relapse. There is no rule to say you can’t go to rehab as many times as you need to.
Why choose 14 days?
A 14 day rehab treatment program will get you off your substance and make a start on therapy for you. This is for those with mild to middling conditions who haven’t been using for very long. 14-day rehab stints are perfect for those with responsibilities or who can’t get more time off work.
For best results, team your 14 day rehab plan with our online therapy sessions on completion. Together, they can get you off drugs for good.
Why choose 28 days?
28 day rehab programs are best for those that have been on drink or drugs for a while now, and desperately want to quit. 28-days is the perfect amount of time to get a good handle on your addiction, understand why you use, and be able to do something about it.
For some of us, 28 days won’t be enough and that’s OK, too. We can go to rehab again if we need to – and some clinics will allow you to stay for as long as 3 months.
How Long Should You Stay in Rehab?
If trying to work out how long a stay is best for you, it’s important to know that the length of time you stay there is related to how successful your recovery will be.
If you feel your addiction has taken over your life completely, opt for 28 days to three months. If you feel you can only afford a one week stay, look for a rehab clinic with exemplary aftercare to support your transition back to normal life. On the other hand, if your addiction is mild, a week may be just enough for you to conquer it.
When you first enter rehab, you will have a personalised rehabilitation programme drawn up by a specialist, who will discuss your personal circumstances and learn about your addiction. They will then be able to create a programme that will work for you.
Factors that influence your Recovery from addiction
The length of time it takes for you to quit taking drugs and alcohol will depend on factors beyond your control. Some of those are:
- Your metabolism – some people get through detox faster
- Your age – a 20 year old will get off drugs far faster than a 50 year old will
- Your weight – someone who is heavier can hold more of the drug for longer
- The length of time you used for
- The drug or substance you used
Drug Types and their Rehab Timelines
Although these are just estimates, this is roughly how long it might take you to recover from each drug. Keep in mind it takes years to be fully recovered and you may still feel cravings from time to time.
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms will peak at 72 hours and begin at 6 hours[v]. You will feel intensely unwell for up to a week, then can expect to spend a minimum of one week in rehab. Longer if you were a long term addict and heavy drinker.
Cocaine stays in your system for up to 5 days. Once you have detoxed, the rehab program can take anything from a week to a month, depending on how often you used.
Cannabis user’s addiction recovery times are exclusively related to how long you used it for. If you used it lightly, a one week period will see it gone from your body. If you were a heavy user, detox can take a full month. Recommended rehab time is 28 days.
Heroin users feel intense flu-like symptoms for up to two weeks of detox. After this, heroin use takes months to get over. It starts with weaning users off the drug and onto something less addictive.
Prescription drug recovery timelines change depending on the drug used. Opioid painkillers such as tramadol and codeine are the hardest to combat.
Expect intense symptoms for up to two weeks, when they will start to ease. You will need at least a week in rehab once the symptoms subside. Treatment timelines for ketamine addiction therefore hit the 28 day mark.
Symptoms of withdrawal start after a day of cessation and last for five days in detox. After this, the symptoms press on for another fortnight. Again, we recommend 28 days or more in rehab.
You will experience the basic withdrawal symptoms for up to four days, after which you will start to see more intense withdrawal symptoms. These can include hallucinations and paranoia. After 14 days the worst of these will have passed. Ongoing treatment should last three months or more.
How Much Does Rehab Cost per week?
If your rehab is assisted by the NHS, then the budget starting price is £1,400 per week. If you are opting for private care, expect to pay closer to £4,000 per week. Luxury rehab clinics can charge anything upwards of this price. You can learn more about rehab costs in our pages.
What types of Rehabs are there?
There are multiple different types of rehabs.
Private residential rehab is a popular choice for the recovering addict. This method of rehab allows you to recover as a full time resident within your rehab facility. Private residential rehab is almost exclusively inpatient treatment, although there may be exceptions.
Quasi residential rehab
With this model of rehab treatment, the user stays in a separate facility from the one they receive treatment in. In the mornings, they will travel between facilities to get rehab treatment. This method removes you from the circles that put you in danger of drug use but doesn’t have you feeling trapped in the clinic that’s treating you.
Outpatient Rehab Treatment
Being seen as an outpatient means you are either an NHS rehab patient or that you are in the final stages of overcoming your addiction. Secondary rehab treatment is always outpatient treatment. If you are being seen as an NHS patient and want to go to rehab, you will have to complete all the tasks they give you to prove that you are in need. Even then, they will only substitute some of the cost and you will be expected to make up the rest.
The Steps of Rehab
In general, there are three steps towards completing rehab. They can be broken down into the detox process, the therapy process, and the aftercare process.
Before you can truly begin rehab, you will be invited to go through the detox process. You may have to detox in a separate facility, or you may be able to detox as part of your rehabilitation plan in one single building.
Detox periods change per drug taken or they can change per how long you used for. They might also change based on your physical attributes such as metabolism, body mass, and age.
Therapy and Consistency
After detox, the next portion of your rehab treatment includes several different types of therapies. These will draw from several known treatment techniques. For example, if you are addicted to stimulants, then the matrix model, developed in the 80s to combat cocaine addiction[vi], may well be at the top of the list of treatment techniques employed in your recovery. On the other hand, if you are a particularly emotional person, your therapist may wish to employ dialectical behavioural therapy[vii] instead.
You will be expected to stick to your daily schedule rigidly. A daily schedule in rehab normally includes wholesome meals, afternoon exercise, educational workshops, and blended therapy sessions. You can learn more about what happens in rehab within our pages.
Aftercare is sometimes known as secondary treatment. This term describes the support you receive when you leave rehab and attempt to return to your normal life[viii]. Secondary treatment can last up to 12 months, longer if you opt for an enhanced secondary treatment service. Usually, aftercare includes things like ongoing telephone support, regular group meetups, and maybe even check-up appointments with your counsellor.
The Benefits of Going Through Rehab
There are several benefits to going through rehab for addiction. Some of our favourites include:
- Detoxing from drugs or alcohol in a safe and healthy environment.
- Learning long turn coping strategies to help you avoid relapse in future.
- Making connections with people in a similar life situation to you.
- Residential rehab removes you from the situations that put you in harm’s way.
- You are given a healthy and balanced diet. Many people suffering from intense addictions are malnourished.
- Instils healthy habits of exercise and good mental health to give you the best chance at avoiding future relapses.
- Increased lifespan[ix]
And let’s not forget the obvious answer: you will be able to break free from your addiction.
Free Addiction Consultation Service
We offer a free, no-obligation consultation which you can access by clicking the link at the top of the page. We will ask you a few short questions, then get back to you at your convenience. This service operates as a rehab hotline, helping you discuss every option before you commit to any single rehab clinic.
Where to Get Help for Addiction in England and Wales?
Our recommendation is that you seek out rehab help for as long as you possibly can. To see how to make your rehab budget stretch, contact our team today, on 0203 955 7700. We will narrow down your list of options while still giving you the best quality rehab experience you can afford.
You can also see these pages about getting help via the NHS, should you want to go down this route.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if I go to rehab part-time?
How long does rehab take?
How long does rehab aftercare take?
Can I go to rehab for a week?
Should I spend longer than a fortnight in rehab?
Can I take time off work for rehab?
Can I go to rehab for a gambling addiction?
How long do I go to rehab for a mental health problem?
How long does rehab take for an eating disorder?