Learn / How to Find a Short-Term Inpatient Rehab

How to Find a Short-Term Inpatient Rehab

Kayla Gill
 April 6th, 2023|   Clinically Reviewed by 
Rajnandini Rathod

Key Points

  • Short-term programs are designed to kick-start your recovery.
  • Programs can last from a few days up to 2 weeks.
  • Recovery doesn’t end when the program does: long-term success requires deeper healing.

For most people, the phrase “inpatient rehab” conjures up the image of a monthlong stay in a treatment center. But that’s not the only way you can start healing. Short-term rehab programs can help you jump-start the healing process. Sometimes lasting only a few days, these programs offer intensive treatment for people in early addiction recovery. 

Finding a Short-Term Rehab

There are a few key differences between short-term treatment and more traditional rehab.

  • Short-term rehab can take anywhere from a few days to 2 weeks. Longer treatment programs typically last 28 days or more.
  • For the most part, shorter programs, such as a 7-14 day inpatient rehab, offer more intensive treatment. The goal is to jump-start recovery. This type of rehab may take less time, but it requires just as much focus and commitment.
  • While short-term treatment can help you begin recovery, it’s not always enough. Some of these rehabs—including most medical detox centers—require clients to enroll in a longer program before you even arrive on site. In that case, you’ll go directly to your next treatment center after you complete short-term rehab.

If this type of treatment sounds like a good fit, you can compare short-term programs based on several different criteria:

  • Location: If short-term rehab appeals to you because of its flexibility, you can look for a center close to home. You can find these programs around the world. Some are even attached to longer-term treatment centers, so you can easily update your care plan if necessary.
  • Types of treatment: Every rehab program is a little different. Short-term treatment can include medical care, talk therapy, alternative treatments, and more. Your length of stay is just one aspect of recovery.
  • Specific diagnoses: Rehab isn’t just for people healing from substance use. If you have a co-occurring disorder or physical health issues, you can look for a center that offers the care you need.
  • Insurance coverage: While there are many rehab centers that accept insurance, not all of them do. It may depend on your location, the provider’s location, and which types of treatment they provide. 

Is Going to Rehab for Detox the Same as Short-Term Rehab?

Medical detox can fall under the umbrella of short-term rehab. However, these terms mean different things. 

Some short-term programs require you to complete drug detox before you arrive, so you can focus more on mental health recovery. And some offer alternative treatments, which treat clients after detox but before longer-term rehab. 

How Long Do I Have to Stay in a Short-Term Rehab?

Like any other type of rehab, your length of stay depends on your specific rehab, your health, and your goals for recovery. Inpatient detox, for example, typically lasts a few days or up to a week. Clients with more severe physical symptoms may take longer to recover.

It’s important to note that very short programs are often not sufficient to heal symptoms, work through underlying issues and establish habits that support long-term recovery. After short-term inpatient rehab, clients have the option to continue treatment in an outpatient program (or choose a long-term inpatient rehab if necessary). 

Is Short-Term Inpatient Treatment Right for Me?

Short-term drug addiction programs can be a good fit for people with clear goals. These programs can help you take the first step on your recovery journey. Treatment can set you up for success as you move on to the next phase of healing. However, it’s rare for people to recover completely after just a few days. You’ll also need a strong support network to help you transition out of treatment. That could include loved ones, healthcare professionals, and other people in the process of recovery.

This approach is a powerful way to address acute or highly specific symptoms. However, short-term treatment is rarely enough on its own. Healing is a complex process, and it can take a long time. Even years after successful treatment, many people consider themselves to still be in recovery. If you’re still trying to define what you need from treatment, a longer program might be a better option. 

Pros and Cons of Short-Term Rehab

It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of any inpatient rehab program before deciding where you’ll go. Short-term rehab has some unique benefits and disadvantages. 


  • Flexibility: You’ll need to take less time off work and away from family commitments. This can make it easier to plan your stay in a residential treatment center.
  • Intensive treatment: Short-term rehab packs therapy, medical care, and other treatments into just a few days of treatment. This can help you get a head start on the recovery process.
  • 24/7 care: Many of these facilities give you more access to healthcare professionals than you’d have in a longer program. 
  • Lower total costs: Depending on your specific center, the total cost of treatment might be lower than it would be in a 28+ day rehab. If you’re paying out of pocket, this can make recovery more affordable.


  • Pressure to heal quickly: The timeline for recovery can be unpredictable. You can’t control when you’ll stop having withdrawal symptoms or have a breakthrough in talk therapy. You might get to the end of a short-term program and realize you need more time in residential rehab.
  • Back-to-back transitions: Both starting rehab and completing treatment are major transitions. In a shorter program, clients go through them with little time in between. That quick turnaround can be jarring, and in some cases, it can interfere with recovery.
  • Time for medications to take effect: As part of treatment, your care team may prescribe daily medication. Most psychiatric meds take effect in about 6 weeks.1 You might not know if they’re working for you until after you complete treatment.

Types of Short-Term Treatment

There are several different types of short-term rehab. It’s important to choose a program that aligns with your needs, goals, and values. 

Medical Detox

Inpatient detox is one form of short-term rehab. This type of treatment isn’t strictly necessary for everyone, but many clients find it helpful. Most inpatient detox programs last 5-14 days (14-day inpatient rehab), although that varies depending on your physical symptoms. 

If you’re healing from an opioid, benzodiazepine, or alcohol addiction, medical detox is essential. Detoxing from these substances can cause life-threatening symptoms, including delirium tremens.2 To see whether you’ll need medical care during withdrawal, you can learn more about detoxing in rehab.

Recovery Retreats

Some rehab programs offer intensive treatment in the form of a luxury retreat. You may even be able to bring family members, so all of you can start healing together. The lengths of these programs vary widely, ranging from days to weeks. 

Alternative Treatments

While many clients benefit from traditional medical care, some prefer a more holistic approach. Treatments like ibogaine therapy use alternative methods to help you recover. This psychedelic treatment lasts up to 72 hours, and can have a long-lasting impact on your mental health. Most programs include a few days of counseling before and after your actual ibogaine experience. It’s also important to note that the effects of ibogaine are not permanent. Most clients benefit from additional treatment after they complete one of these programs. 

Ibogaine therapy is just one type of short-term alternative addiction treatment. This approach is only available in certain countries, and it’s not appropriate for everyone. If you’re interested in trying an alternative therapy, talk to your doctor about whether this type of treatment could work for you. 

How Much Does Short-Term Inpatient Rehab Cost?

In most rehab programs, your length of stay determines the total cost. So if you’re paying out of pocket, short-term inpatient rehab can be much less expensive than a longer program. Alternatively, you can narrow your search to rehab centers that accept insurance.

The exact cost of short-term rehab varies widely depending on the type of treatment you receive and the location of your program. But many luxury rehabs cost approximately $1,000/day.

Verify Your Insurance

Short-term rehab centers don’t always accept insurance. That’s most often true for recovery retreats and alternative treatment programs. When you’re choosing between rehab programs, you can ask their admissions teams for more specific information. You can also browse our list of insurance providers to find a program that can accommodate your plan. 

Compare addiction treatment centers and ask about available lengths of stay to find the program that meets your needs.

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