May 5, 2006, Newsletter Issue #81: Short-Term Programs

Tip of the Week

Some health insurance programs will cover a maximum of 30 days of inpatient drug treatment. Can such drug treatment programs make a difference in addictions that may have lasted years? Researchers say yes, pointing to studies that show it takes three weeks to break a habit. A 30-day program in many cases can break a person of the habit of using an addictive substance and point the way toward long-term healing.

Spending a month away from environments associated with addictive behavior will also tend to have the effect of breaking down the defenses addicts build up to convince themselves that their addictions aren't that bad, that they can quit anytime, and so forth. In such drug rehabilitation programs, it may also become clear that patients have underlying conditions that require treatment of their own.

Such programs often include elements of family therapy, to help users and their loved ones understand relapse triggers, change codependent behaviors, and work through emotions about the addiction. Perhaps most importantly, they get to spend time in an environment with others on the same path. For example, a Malibu drug rehab program may offer patients a chance to understand that their experiences are not unique and that recovery is possible.

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