Deciding to seek help with recovery from alcohol or drug addiction is an enormous hurdle for many individuals and families. Once you or a family member have made that decision, so many questions arise about how best to plan for recovery that the process can often feel overwhelming. Chief among many families’ questions is: “How long will addiction treatment take?” 

Addiction Treatment and Recovery Times Depend on the Individual

We all want to be reassured that we or a family member can make a quick recovery and return to a “normal” life – but the answer to how long treatment will take depends on factors such as the severity or prevalence of an individual’s addiction, the support an individual has in their recovery, and the commitment level of the individual seeking treatment. The best addiction treatment and recovery programs build their outcomes and their recovery plans around the needs and realities of the person seeking treatment.


Here, we’ll discuss stages of a person’s recovery and some general timelines for treatment programs.

Treatment Timelines are Flexible – and Recovery is a Lifelong Journey

Key to your understanding of how long treatment will take is the realization that recovery is a lifelong journey. Because addiction is a chronic disease, the potential for relapse is high for many people. For that reason, treatment timelines and expectations at Palmetto Recovery Centers is flexible and reactive to the needs of every person seeking treatment. To meet those needs, we often recommend a treatment plan with phases that can include inpatient and/or residential treatment and intensive outpatient treatment that includes individual, family, and group therapy over several months to prevent and provide resources in case of relapse. 

Intake and Assessment – 3 Day Evaluation

For many people seeking recovery, a treatment plan will start with an evaluation to determine the presence and extent of their involvement with problematic drinking or drug use. While evaluation in an outpatient setting is possible, the best evaluations occur during a three-day stay at one of our residential centers under the direction of our trained professional medical and mental health staff. 

Individual Residential Treatment Plans – 30 to 90 Days

Many treatment facilities offer 30-, 60-, and 90-day programs for addiction treatment and recovery. At Palmetto, we do not pre-determine a client’s length of stay, instead designing individual treatment plans for every person seeking treatment. Our treatment plans feature outcomes that are developed by the patient and treatment team to clearly define progress in understanding and coping with their addiction. Through our Therapeutic Community Model, staff and clients move through four phases of addiction treatment, setting goals and making progress in a healthy, holistic way. Staff and clients meet weekly as a community to discuss progress and determine when a client is ready to advance to the next phase. Residential treatment is designed to be intensive and temporary, helping people in recovery to integrate back to their everyday lives with healthy coping mechanisms and new learned behavior that helps them avoid relapse.

Intensive Outpatient Treatment Programs – 30 to 90 Days

Whether combined with residential treatment programs or undertaken on their own, intensive outpatient treatment programs can help a person in recovery integrate back into everyday life with the tools to live a sober lifestyle. Often, residential treatment is followed by an intensive outpatient treatment program that includes individual, family, and group therapy. These programs are highly individualized, and they pair people in recovery with support and professional guidance closer to home than a residential program.

Sober Lifestyles and Relapse Prevention Support – Ongoing

No program can “cure” a person of addiction. Living sober is a lifelong commitment – and it takes lifelong support. Once you or your family member complete residential and/or outpatient therapy, it’s important that you have a plan that includes where to find good support groups (including other people in recovery with shared experiences), how to foster support in friend and family groups, and what to do if you or your family member experience a relapse. 

Help, Hope, and Healing at Palmetto

Whether you’re seeking treatment for addiction for yourself or a loved one, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. Our team of mental health and addiction treatment professionals are here to support your recovery journey. Contact us to learn more about our residential and intensive outpatient treatment programs.