How Much Treatment Is Enough?
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Updated: April 22, 2022

How Much Treatment Is Enough?

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 40.3 million individuals 12 years or older had a substance use disorder in 2020. Within a six-year time frame, the number of people almost doubled compared to the 22.5 million individuals in treatment for alcohol or drug addiction in 2014.

Many factors play a part in getting clean and staying sober. The amount of treatment required for one person can be significantly longer or shorter for someone else. We could rely on science to tell us how much treatment is enough; unfortunately, there is a limited amount of research about the actual number of recovery attempts individuals make before successfully quitting drugs and alcohol. Time spent in treatment is subjective to each individual. There is no magic number for the right amount of time in treatment. However, some medical studies have revealed that more extended treatment periods equal greater long-term success.

Remaining in Treatment

Recovery from alcohol or drug addiction is a deep-rooted developmental process often requiring several treatment attempts. Some research implies that most people recovering from addiction need a minimum of three months in treatment to decrease their alcohol or drug use, and many clients prefer a continuing care approach. Many treatment centers like Present Moments Recovery offer a 90-day continuum of care that can help individuals get “over the hump” of early sobriety.

Implementing Strategies for Treatment Retention

Since the best recovery outcomes occur due to longer times spent in treatment, it would be beneficial for treatment centers to consider strategies to engage clients so they will want to remain in treatment for the required duration. For instance, holistic approaches to addiction recovery have been proven to inspire a sense of personal satisfaction during treatment, which becomes a compelling reason to keep going. Also, peer support groups included in addiction treatment have shown great potential to prolong a person's involvement in treatment.

There are many evidence-based treatment methods for substance abuse; the following include those that are known to produce tremendous success during and after treatment:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): A therapy that helps clients conquer alcohol or drug addiction by teaching them how to acknowledge and avoid damaging thoughts and behaviors; for example, introducing a client to recognize triggers that cause cravings for alcohol or drug use, then avoid or manage the triggers
  • Motivational interviewing: A technique involving structured dialogues that help clients enhance their motivation to overcome an alcohol or drug addiction and, for instance, assist the client in recognizing the difference between how they currently live and how they desire to live in the future
  • Contingency management: A method that offers substantial incentives to motivate and encourage clients to stay sober; an example of a reward could be money or gift cards for every clean drug test
  • Multidimensional family therapy: An approach to treatment designed to enhance overall family functioning while helping clients and their families with alcohol or drug addiction, which covers a variety of factors that impact substance abuse patterns

We Do Recover

There are countless interconnected causes for the gap between science and practice in addiction treatment and knowing when enough is enough. One reason is that there is an extensive history of handling alcohol and drug addiction as immoral or unholy rather than dealing with addiction as a disease. If health and mental health care systems began integrating addiction as a disease, it could help close the gap and produce actual recovery numbers.

Even though empirical data is lacking, there are ways to indicate an individual is successful in treatment. According to the Recovery Research Institute's publication “Identifying Indicators to Measure Recovery," a study was conducted to try and identify which indicators are essential in assessing recovery; the process revealed that it could be possible to create a validated tool for measuring recovery.

Some of the top chosen indicators for recovery included:

  • Not using street drugs
  • Coping with problems without turning to drugs or alcohol
  • Treating others with respect and consideration
  • Being honest and law-abiding
  • Feeling happy with the overall quality of life

Treatment Is Enough

Relapse rates for addiction resemble other chronic diseases, such as hypertension and asthma. Therefore, addiction is manageable, just as other chronic illnesses are treatable. Like other chronic diseases, relapses can happen and should indicate a requirement for new or modified treatment plans.

The types of treatment needed for each client vary depending on the type of substance being used, medical history, and the client's characteristics. Treatment methods can determine how successful recovery will be. Aligning treatment environments, interventions, and services for specific problems is extremely important for healing and returning to the real world confidently and productively after the treatment process.

Hypertension and asthma patients do not wonder how much treatment is enough for them because it is something they will continually manage throughout life. So, when we begin to wonder about our sobriety, let's settle with the concept that treatment is enough. Focus on your coping skills, attend meetings, and work for it, one day at a time.

Seeking addiction treatment can be one of the most important decisions you will make throughout your life. If you or a loved one struggles with addiction, we are here to help. Present Moments Recovery in San Diego, California, provides an individualized and comprehensive approach to addiction, with many levels of care to ensure a successful treatment stay resulting in long-term recovery. From detoxification programs to outpatient programs and aftercare, we can help you form a foundation for sobriety. At our family-run treatment center, you can to talk with therapists one-on-one, guaranteeing all needs are satisfied. We focus on extended treatment that is less intensive to promote long-term sobriety. We provide a calming and home-like environment where you can allow yourself to heal. Present Moments Recovery believes recovery only happens in the present moment. Call us today to learn more about the 4 levels of addiction treatment and which level of care is right for you or your loved one (619) 363-4767.


If you or a loved one is looking for an effective drug rehab in San Diego, call 619-363-4767. One of our caring members is ready to answer all of your questions.

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Your first call will be greeted by one of our intake counselors who will be able to provide information on what program would be appropriate for your situation, as well as information about the process of getting treatment at our facility, if appropriate.

If Present Moments is the right fit for your current situation you will be speaking to Admissions Director Mark Gladden, who will be your guide throughout the process of arranging travel and undergoing an initial detox (if necessary). Mark has been the guide for dozens of men and women who have gotten their lives back by entering treatment at Present Moments. He has earned his reputation as being truly dedicated to the recovery of others. Mark will be the one to ‘show you the ropes’ when it comes to admitting to our facility for treatment

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