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Can I Leave My Rehab Program Early?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Individuals progress through drug addiction treatment at various rates, so there is no predetermined length of treatment. However, research has shown unequivocally that good outcomes are contingent on adequate treatment length.” It is not recommended that any individual leave their rehab program early unless the decision is made between the patient and their physician. Even this possibility, though, is rare because leaving treatment early usually does no coincide with a safe and strong recovery.

What are the Normal Treatment Lengths?

Leaving rehab early

Have a discussion with your doctor if you feel the need to leave treatment early.

“Generally, for residential or outpatient treatment, participation for less than 90 days is of limited effectiveness, and treatment lasting significantly longer is recommended for maintaining positive outcomes.” For certain types of rehab programs, like therapeutic communities or methadone maintenance, 6 months to a year are more adequate lengths, which has been proven through studies of the programs’ effectiveness. However, it often depends on the individual, and some programs can continue even longer than the ones mentioned here, if the patient is still benefitting from it.

Why Shouldn’t I Leave My Rehab Program Early?

It can be dangerous for an individual to leave their rehab program early because they have not received the full effect of the program. Though recovery is an ongoing process, a person needs time to be able to learn and process the tools they need in order to live with their addiction, and attending treatment for the necessary amount of time can help with this.

In addition, leaving rehab early can cause you to feel secure in your recovery when you are not. You may feel that you have been cured of your addiction instead of understanding that your recovery will likely continue for months or years after your initial treatment has ended. Because relapse rates for substance use disorders are so high, it is necessary for addicts to get all the help they can in order to safely recover and to continue rebuilding their lives.

Rehab centers are often built around keeping individuals in the program for the necessary amount of time, as “whether a patients stays in treatment depends on factors associated with both the individual and the program” (NIDA). But it is very important that patients stay in their rehab program for the necessary amount of time, as leaving early can be very damaging.

Can You Really Get Sober in 28 Days? Importance of Long Term Rehab Centers

Is Early Release from Treatment Possible?

Sometimes this is a possibility, but it is hardly ever recommended, as most clinicians have a difficult enough time as it is keeping patients in treatment for adequate lengths of time. If you are curious about the possibility, talk to your doctor, but understand that it will almost always be better for you to continue your rehab program and to complete it than to end it early. The more help you receive, the better, and though there is still a possibility of relapse even after treatment has ended, this chance lowers considerably when one attends a treatment program to its completion as opposed to not going through the process at all or leaving early.

If you have more questions about the benefit of rehab centers and addiction treatment on recovery, call 800-481-6320Who Answers?. We would be happy to help you find a program that fits your needs.

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Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) could be forwarded to SAMHSA or a verified treatment provider. Calls are routed based on availability and geographic location.

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