To understand whether this length of rehab is best for you, it’s important to understand the basics of 30-day rehab programs, the differences between those and longer programs, and the benefits and drawbacks of short-term, inpatient rehab.
Rehab programs offer different treatments to patients based on their level and type of addiction. Most employ a combination of evidence-based medical and behavioral therapies to address both the physical and psychological causes of addiction. They include:
For more information on the various types of therapy, read our guide on The Addiction Rehabilitation Process
Short-term, 30-day rehab programs can be completed in two service settings: inpatient residential treatment or inpatient hospital treatment. Both provide intensive therapy with one requiring patients to live full-time at the treatment center, while the other allows patients to return home after each session.
30-day rehab programs are most commonly full-time programs conducted at inpatient treatment centers. During the program, patients live at the facility and receive intensive treatment 24 hours per day from experienced professionals. They attend individual therapy sessions, receive appropriate medical treatments, participate in drug education lessons, and learn techniques to prevent future relapses. Many centers use a therapeutic, community-based approach in which patients live, interact, and participate in group therapy with other recovering users.
According to the SAMHSA, short-term inpatient treatments account for 9.6% of all rehab admissions nationwide. Lengths of programs range from 14-30 days, but the average stay for those who complete their treatment is 26 days.
For more information, read our guide on Inpatient Rehab
Short-term programs are also offered in some mental health hospitals. Hospital-based programs are typically classified as inpatient due to the intensity of the treatments, hospital setting, and a nearly full-time schedule; however, they are not live-in programs like traditional inpatient therapy.
Inpatient hospital treatments are more accurately referred to as “partial-hospitalization.” Patients check in for 4-8 hours per day to undergo the same intensive treatments as a residential facility but then return home afterward. Inpatient programs also tend to be shorter than residential treatments, with many only lasting 2-3 weeks, after which patients are encouraged to transition to a less intensive program.
Inpatient hospital treatments account for less than one percent of all program admissions, and the average length of stay for those who complete their treatment is 20 days.
|Short-Term Residential||Partial Hospitalization|
|Definition||Intensive treatment, in a live-in facility. Usually, a community setting where patients interact with other recovering users.||Intensive treatment in a hospital setting. Patients do not stay overnight. Referred to as “inpatient” due to the hospital setting, extensive services provided, and the near full-time commitment every week.|
|Days Per Week||7||5-7|
|Hours Per Day||24||4-6|
|Average Length of Stay||26 Days||20 Days|
All of the therapies and service settings associated with 30-day rehabs are also found in other types of treatment programs. The main difference between 30-day programs and longer programs (other than the length of time) is intensity.
30-day programs tend to be more intensive than many longer programs in an attempt to consolidate the same amount of therapy into less time. While long-term rehab programs may include a substantial amount of time for recreation and other positive activities, 30-day rehab programs tend to require patients to spend most of their time in treatment.
According to the SAMHSA, 56% percent of patients who enter short-term residential treatment complete their programs versus 45% for long-term residential treatment, 37% for traditional outpatient treatment, and 32% for intensive outpatient treatment. The completion rate for short-term hospitalization is 48%. Those numbers don’t necessarily reflect the effectiveness of the treatment, but as it stands, those who enter short-term rehab programs have a greater chance of finishing their entire program than those who choose longer treatment options.
Patients who cannot commit to long-term residential treatment might choose outpatient treatment because of the flexibility it affords. However, most outpatient programs are not as intensive as 24-hour inpatient treatment. A short-term program heavily emphasizes recovery in the critical first few weeks after quitting a substance.
Because the full treatment plan is administered in a condensed time frame, it offers little chance to focus on anything but recovery. It also provides a solid foundation for patients who continue their treatment with less-intensive outpatient therapy and increases their likelihood of success more than the outpatient program alone.
For patients with work and familial obligations, it could be difficult (and damaging) to go away for an extended stay in long-term residential rehab. Short-term treatment provides the intensive treatment of residential rehab with less of a time commitment, which means it is less disruptive to a patient’s personal life.
Treatment facilities typically charge by the day or week, so the longer the stay in rehab, the higher the cost. A 30-day program is likely to be half the price of a 60-day program, one-third the cost of a 90-day program, and so on. For patients with financial limitations, short-term rehab has an advantage over long-term programs.
Many insurance companies will only cover outpatient treatment options, as they tend to be cheaper. For those that do cover inpatient rehab, they often limit the stay to 30-days or less.
Treatments less than 90 days have been shown to have lower recovery and higher relapse rates than treatments lasting 90 days or longer. Favorable outcomes tend to improve in direct proportion to the number of treatment days beyond 90.
The ineffectiveness of short-term programs could be due in large part to the time it takes to detox. Detoxing from drugs and alcohol often comes with unpleasant physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. Depending on the substance, those symptoms can last for weeks. Medical and behavioral interventions cannot begin in earnest until detox is complete, so the longer that process takes, the less time the patient has for the actual treatments necessary for recovery.
As you can see, rehab is not one-size-fits-all. Not every treatment is appropriate for every addiction or personal situation. A trained professional can help decide if a 30-day program is appropriate for your situation, but in general, they are recommended for people with mild addictions, time restrictions, or financial limitations.
|Best for severe addictions||✕||✕||✓||✓|
|Best for mild addictions||✓||✓||✕||✕|
|Best for people with limited time off from work||✓||✕||✕||✕|
|Best for people with unbreakable personal obligations (i.e. child care)||✓||✕||✕||✕|
|Best for people with limited finances||✓||✕||✕||✕|
|Covered by most insurance||✓||✕||✕||✕|
Here are some of the most important factors to consider:
For more information, read our full guide, “Choosing the Right Rehab”
As previously discussed, 30-day rehab programs are typically offered in one of two settings: residential inpatient or hospital inpatient (partial hospitalization). You’ll need to decide which is more suited to your needs before beginning your search. Residential treatment requires you to live at the facility full-time, so they are best suited to those without personal or work obligations that would prevent them from doing so.
Partial hospitalization programs allow the patient to go home after treatment each day, so they are best for patients with outside obligations. They are also most appropriate for those with strong social support systems, and those who can be trusted not to return to substance use during the hours away from treatment each day.
The cost of treatment varies by facility, especially among residential programs. In addition to professional treatment, the price of residential rehab also includes room and board, food, and amenities. Therefore, factors like location, the level of luxury, and treatment services offered can increase the cost.
While the cost of rehab is generally between $5,000 and $20,000 for 30 days of treatment, your actual out-of-pocket expense depends on what type of insurance you have (or if you have it at all), whether you qualify for payment assistance, or if you are able to secure a rehab scholarship.
Our treatment finder tool offers many filters to help you narrow your search down to the perfect facility. To find 30-day residential programs, simply apply the “Short-Term Residential” filter under the category ‘Service Settings.” To find partial hospitalization programs, apply the “Hospital Inpatient” filter.
To find a 30-day rehab facility in your area, use our searchable directory that includes thousands of treatment centers nationwide. Click your state from the list below, and input your zip code or address in the directory tool on your state’s page.
Recovery doesn’t stop when rehab ends. For many, maintaining abstinence is a lifelong struggle. It’s important to engage in some form of aftercare following any treatment program. Studies show that failure to enter aftercare is one of the main predictors of relapse.
As evidenced by the previously-mentioned studies that found long rehab stays to be more effective than short ones, many experts recommend that users who complete a 30-day rehab program transition to a longer outpatient program. Outpatient aftercare is less-intensive, part-time treatment that includes individual and group counseling, reinforcement of relapse prevention techniques, family therapy, and random drug and alcohol testing. Most 30-day treatment facilities will arrange an aftercare plan for their patients which could include an outpatient program at the same facility or a referral to another treatment center. Other aftercare options include:
If, after reading this guide, you’ve decided that a 30-day rehab program is right for you, use our directory (above) to find a facility. Get started today – after all, the sooner you start your journey of recovery, the sooner you can experience the benefits of sobriety.
If you’ve decided that a 30-day program is not appropriate for your situation, we can help you choose which program is. For more information on long-term rehab options, read our guides on 60-Day Rehab Programs, 90-Day Rehab Programs.