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How Long is Alcohol Rehab?

how long is alcohol rehab

Tonight was one of those nights where you felt like drinking your emotional pain away. You stare at your 3rd bottle of beer in your hand and consider getting help from alcohol’s control over your life. You’ve thought about looking into treatment facilities for alcohol use before, but you don’t want to take time off work. You’re already on thin ice from coming in late due to hangovers, and you can’t afford to lose any more time. You wonder how long alcohol rehab will take for you. 

In 2019, 187,000 people were diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder in Kentucky. SUN Behavioral Health Kentucky offers no-cost care assessments. These assessments allow you to meet with a representative to help you determine your care level and tentative length of time at the facility. They can also answer your questions about your individualized care plan. 

While the length of time someone attends alcohol rehab can vary, some average lengths of time may give you an idea of how long your alcohol rehab stay will be. With that in mind, how long is alcohol rehab? 

Timeframe of Alcohol Rehab 

When someone decides to undergo treatment, they might wonder how long it will last. When it comes down to it, the length of time someone is attending an alcohol rehab can vary from person to person. Everyone is different and comes from a diverse background, meaning some people might need longer times while others may need shorter ones. However, there are ways to know approximately how long your treatment might be.   

The Span of Alcohol Detox and Rehab in Kentucky

Alcohol detox typically follows your alcohol withdrawal timeline. In contrast, alcohol rehab can vary based on the individual facility and your personal needs. This timeline can look different for every person. People will more than likely drink their last drink of alcohol within hours of arriving for treatment. Once withdrawal symptoms start, people might be more likely to change their minds about receiving treatment. Typically, alcohol withdrawal symptoms begin around 6 hours after your last drink. Standardly, your withdrawal symptoms will peak approximately 48 to 72 hours after your last drink. The average length of total withdrawal is 2-10 days. Most inpatient rehab treatment programs last around 30, 60, or 90 days, while an outpatient treatment program varies greatly depending on your individual needs.

duration alcohol rehabilitation programs

Factors on the Length of Alcohol Rehab

Several things can impact the length of alcohol rehab. These things might include:

  • Your age
  • Your weight
  • The amount of alcohol you consume
  • How often you drink
  • How long you drank alcohol
  • Medical history
  • Other health conditions you have

No two people experience the exact needs when it comes to how long they need to stay at an alcohol rehab facility, but there are ranges for how long someone might stay. However, it is essential to remember that if you need to stay longer, it is okay. The length of your stay at a facility does not mean you have failed or cannot recover. Recovery takes time; it is not a race to the finish line. 

Alcohol Detox Length

Alcohol detox will typically last 48-72 hours. This length of time will generally be the time someone is experiencing alcohol withdrawal. While alcohol withdrawal symptoms are not necessarily dangerous, medical observation can help make the process easier and keep you safe if you do experience complications. Alcohol withdrawal typically follows the following timeline:

  • 0-6 hours: This time is immediately after your last drink. You will most likely not feel any symptoms. When your symptoms start will depend on several factors and may vary from person to person.  
  • 6-12 hours: You may experience mild symptoms at this time, the most prominent being cravings. These cravings will try to encourage you to return to using alcohol. You may also feel symptoms of nausea, headaches, and insomnia. You might also become restless or nervous.
  • 12-24 hours: Symptoms will start to intensify at this point to moderate levels of intensity. These symptoms might include nightmares, depression, and being absent-minded. 
  • 24-48 hours: Symptoms are continuing to grow in intensity. Cravings are most likely intensifying, and you might experience rapid breathing, irregular heartbeat, and mood swings. Gaining experiences of confusion may also be expected during these hours. 
  • 48-72 hours: This is when the highest level of intensity occurs. Medical supervision is most often needed during this time as symptoms may become life-threatening. They are not always life-threatening, but it is better to be safe when it comes to alcohol withdrawal. Symptoms may include delirium, hallucinations, heart attacks, and seizures. You may also feel suicidal ideations during this time. 

After about 72 hours, your withdrawal symptoms will dissipate. You may stay longer during detox if you are continuing to experience withdrawal symptoms. On average, people will stay at an alcohol detox for 3-14 days, depending on the specific program they are at and the level of care they need. However, it is still essential to continue treatment plans after an alcohol detox. These treatment plans may take the form of inpatient or outpatient alcohol rehab. They might also include both. The path you take after alcohol detox depends on your individual needs and goals. 

Inpatient Alcohol Rehab Length

If you attend an inpatient alcohol rehab program, it may last 30, 60, or 90 days. The factors above determine the time you spend at an inpatient alcohol rehab program. However, insurance companies may also limit how long they will pay for inpatient care, impacting how long you can stay without paying out of pocket. Some insurance companies do not pay for inpatient care, while others only pay for certain circumstances. It is best to discuss with your insurance company if you have questions about their inpatient alcohol rehab timeframes. 

Outpatient Alcohol Rehab Length

At the outpatient level, the time required to complete can vary the most. It also includes several forms of outpatient care at different levels of intensity. A partial hospital program is the highest level of intensity at an outpatient facility. This level of care will meet for several hours every day. The next level down would be intensive outpatient, which meets several days a week but for fewer hours than a partial hospitalization program does. Traditional outpatient programs may only require a few hours every week. All levels of treatment allow the patient to return home at night and teach you the skills necessary for a successful treatment and can prevent a return to use. 

The amount of time you need for each level of treatment will depend on the factors listed above. They will also vary on your progress in treatment. Someone who progresses through treatment more slowly may need more time than someone else. You may also need to transfer between different levels of care as your needs change. No matter where you are in your recovery journey, your timeline is unique and is not always linear. Whatever recovery journey you find yourself on, remember it is up to standard.

timeline for alcohol recovery treatment

How Much Time Will Insurance Cover for Alcohol Rehab?

Medicare splits into 2 parts: Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B. Part A covers inpatient rehabilitation, while Part B covers outpatient. How much you pay depends on how long your hospitalization is. In 2024, days 1-60 have a $1,632 deductible, days 61-90 have a $408 copayment each day, and 91 and beyond have a $800 copayment for each “lifetime reserve day.” These lifetime reserve days have a maximum of 60 days throughout your lifetime. If you overstayed the 60 reserve days, you must pay all costs. Days 1-90 reset each benefit period. Having more than 1 stay in a benefit period does not restart the 90 days, as your benefit period started at your first hospital stay. This coverage does not cover private nursing, separately charged phones or televisions in the room, personal items, or private rooms.

Starting in 2024, Medicare Part B will begin covering intensive outpatient programs. Once you meet the Part B deductible, you must pay a coinsurance. To receive coverage for this, you must participate in an intensive outpatient program for at least 9 hours weekly. They will also cover partial hospitalization if you meet specific requirements and your doctor deems it necessary. You will pay a percentage of the service for partial hospitalization until you meet the deductible. Once you complete your deductible, you will pay coinsurance each day.

In Kentucky, Medicaid varies depending on your managed care organization. However, they will all cover screenings and assessments, residential treatment, intensive outpatient, and traditional outpatient services. Contact your managed care organization for more information on your specific Medicaid plan to learn about their coverage. 

The days covered for other insurances will depend on your specific insurance plan. These can vary from insurance company to the plan you have. If unsure, your insurance company can help answer questions about how many days they will cover. However, all plans must cover behavioral health treatment, mental and behavioral health inpatient services, and substance use disorder treatment, which includes alcohol use disorder treatment. 

Alcohol Rehab in Erlanger, KY

Asking for help can be a difficult thing for some people to do. When it comes to seeking assistance for alcohol use, it can be even more difficult. You might feel like it is a waste of time, but the reality is that alcohol rehab can be a powerful experience. Asking for help is okay, and sometimes it is necessary. The time you put into your alcohol use disorder treatment will bring you strength and solid foundations that allow you to take your life back from alcohol use.

Located in Erlanger, KY, SUN Behavioral Health Kentucky solves unmet needs in our community. We have 24/7 crisis care that allows people to get help when needed, even if it is not the most convenient time. To start alcohol use disorder treatment or for more information, call us today at 859-429-5188.


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