Just as there are many types of addicts, there are many types of addiction recovery programs. While most addiction treatment specialists agree on the basic causes, symptoms, and general treatment methods for addiction, there are numerous specific approaches sanctioned by the recovery community. As for how long a treatment program should take, that depends on several factors, and it varies from person to person. Here are a few of the things that determine how long your treatment will take.

What type of addiction?

Different drugs have different effects on the body and mind, and this affects how long addiction recovery takes. Alcohol and opiate addiction recovery can be particularly time consuming since these substances have strong psychological holds and lead to severe physical withdrawal for anyone who tries to quit. Other addictions may require less time-consuming treatments, but all require substantial commitments of time in order to quit.

How much do you take?

An alcoholic who habitually drinks from morning until late at night is obviously going to have more difficulty quitting than someone who drinks in the evening every couple of days. The same applies to other substances. As a rule of thumb, the more of the substance you need to get drunk or high, the longer the addiction recovery process is going to take.

How long has the addiction lasted?

Addictions that have lasted years or even decades are particularly difficult to overcome. Even when the dosage is relatively low, a long-term habit creates a deeply engrained dependence. For example, someone who has been drinking habitually for 20 or 30 years is going to need not only strength but also substantial medical and emotional assistance in order to get through the difficult early stages of recovery.

In contrast, if your addiction has only been going on for a few months, recovery may still be difficult, but at least you have a clear memory of what life was like before the addiction started. People who have been addicted for decades often don’t know how to go about their daily lives without the addictive substance.

What other services do you need?

Addiction commonly co-occurs with other disorders. Many addicts have depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, or schizophrenia, among other things. In fact, many addicts begin abusing drugs or alcohol as a method of self-medication, so removing the substance without treating the underlying cause is obviously not a sustainable solution. If you have deep, underlying issues that contribute to your substance abuse, then full addiction recovery is going to take a bit longer.