long term drug & alcohol rehab
treatment programmes in thailand

Addiction comes in many forms, and can be experienced as anything from a mild to severe substance dependency. The road to recovery is similarly varied. Some people connect quickly with the therapists and counselling provided by rehab facilities, and can soon return to their old lives without too much disruption. Others may need much more time to learn how to re-shape their thought patterns and behavioural impulses. Long term rehab provides ample opportunity to absorb the lessons of rehab at your own pace, giving you time to practice and improve each skill that is necessary to achieve a lasting recovery

What is long term rehab?

Long term rehab typically refers to stays of 3 months or longer in an inpatient treatment facility, though many long term clients stay for 6 or even 12 months. Individual needs may vary considerably, but as a general rule, the longer you stay, the better you will become at learning the techniques necessary to stay sober, and developing the right habits to begin a new and healthier lifestyle.

How long should you stay in rehab?

Generally speaking, a minimum stay of 60 days in long term drug rehab is recommended for all who suffer from substance addiction. As the length of stay increases, so does the likelihood of recovery – meaning that it is often wisest to undergo primary treatment for a total of 90 days or more. A subsequent period of secondary care, such as residing in a sober living facility for another 90 days, can also be a great help during recovery. That said, it is important to understand that the total length of stay isn’t usually determined well in advance. It is instead adjusted in accordance with how each person responds to treatment at the time.

What stops people from staying longer

While research strongly suggests that longer stays in rehab are beneficial for people trying to break free from drug or alcohol addiction, a number of rehab centres have difficulty accommodating clients for long periods. Some rehabs are better than others at setting clear rules and boundaries, creating mutual bonds, and developing a group ethos – all of which are essential for maintaining positive and productive treatment over longer periods. By identifying rehab centres that frequently treat clients for long periods of time, you’ll be able to see which facilities are successful at building the necessary rapport.

In addition to the above, many recovering addicts have practical concerns that prevent them from remaining in treatment for such long periods. Costs quickly add up for people in long term inpatient care, who may also have professional or familial responsibilities to attend to back home.

Yet sometimes flexible arrangements can be made by long term rehab centres, to find solutions to financial, personal, or work-related issues. And for some people, health insurance policies may cover the lion’s share of rehab costs. It is therefore worth examining long term drug rehab in depth, to understand what it involves and whether it may be the right choice for you.

Stages of long term rehab programmes

The rehab process begins with a detailed evaluation, followed in many cases by an initial period of detox before the main treatment period begins. Detox is a medically supervised process of keeping you healthy and stable as your body readjusts to sobriety. Primary care involves evidence-based therapy and counselling, to help you manage your cravings and learn to live independently once again. This stage is followed by secondary care, which provides additional support as you begin to re-enter society.
N.B.: In the USA, detox is referred to as primary care, but here we refer to detox as a separate initial stage, and use primary care to mean residential treatment after detox.

Detox (3-7 days)

If your initial evaluation indicates that you are likely to suffer from significant withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuing the use of an addictive substance, you will be assigned to a special period of detox before undergoing your primary treatment. It is important to note that withdrawal symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable and even dangerous if they are unaccompanied by medical attention. By providing the necessary supervision, including prescription drugs to counteract the effects of withdrawal, detox can ensure a much easier experience as you begin your recovery.

Primary care (60-90 days)

The goal of primary care is to empower you to retake control of your body and mind, by developing a healthy mindset that is no longer dominated by urges and cravings. Evidence-based treatments, introduced in one-on-one counselling sessions and put into practice in group therapy environments, will help you move onward from substance dependency and into a more wholesome and satisfying lifestyle.
The following stages serve as a rough guide to how recovering addicts will experience the treatment process. Typically your immediate cravings will be addressed first, along with basic emotional needs. Later, you will learn how to guide your thought patterns in healthier and more positive directions, while also addressing any unresolved personal issues that may have contributed to your addiction. These tasks tend to use cognitive behavioural therapy and dialectical behaviour therapy to help you find your way forward. An additional period of care is used to prepare you for living independently once again, as a sober and highly functional citizen.

Of course, addiction recovery is an intricate and very challenging process. Each person is different, and counsellors must adjust the course of treatment according to your current condition, as well as how you respond during each phase of care. Although the categories below are presented in a linear fashion, it is perfectly normal for stages to be revisited in order to reinforce earlier les-sons.

Early Stage

A mountain can only be climbed one step at a time. During the early stage of primary treatment, your treatment will be centred around immediate concerns, such as how to get through each day, how to think about the challenge of recovery, and how to deal with your condition on an emotional level.

Middle Stage
Once you have found your footing, your counsellors will turn their attention to your addiction itself, to determine whether any additional underlying factors may have contributed to your fall – and how best to address them. You will also begin to approach recovery from a long-term perspective, learning the skills needed to live a meaningful life without chemical dependency.
Late State
The final stage of primary treatment focuses on the future, and how to make the most of your return to wider society. You will come to terms with your life up to this point, putting successes and failures into context, while also reinforcing your mental training so that you can maintain sobriety even after you move to an unregulated environment.

Secondary care

After completing your course of primary treatment, you may wish to avail yourself of secondary care options, such as a stay in a sober living facility. This arrangement involves placing you into a temporary home with other recovering addicts, as you begin the process of re-integrating with society.
Sober living houses can help make the transition back to independent life more manageable. The houses themselves are loosely monitored, with no drugs or alcohol of any kind allowed inside. Housemates are encouraged to offer support to one another, and share their struggles as they confront each personal challenge on the journey to recovery. Many former addicts credit their time in secondary care facilities to be a valuable stepping stone on the path back to normal living.

Therapeutic techniques used in long term drug rehab

Your experience at a long term drug rehab is likely to involve several of the following therapeutic techniques, to bring about a healthy and resilient state of mind. Each of the approaches outlined below have been shown to help recovering addicts achieve real and lasting sobriety.

Cognitive behavioural therapy is a core pillar of modern addiction therapy. Through a series of personal counselling sessions, CBT will teach you how to practise self-control even when you feel strong cravings. CBT’s psycho-social approach helps you redirect harmful patterns of thought, channelling them in more positive and constructive directions.

12-steps programmes combine personal growth and a commitment to foundational principles, with a group environment of practical information sharing, friendship, and social support. Made famous by organisations like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, 12-step programmes represent a valuable resource that recovering addicts can benefit from even after their primary care period is complete.

Motivational enhancement therapy recognises that even the best tools for recovery depend on being fully engaged and having a strong will to break free from addiction. Treatment sessions are conducted by a counsellor either in a one-on-one environment, or with the recovering addict present alongside a loved one. Each session focusses on keeping morale high, and building a deep commitment to recovery that will stand the test of time.

Family behaviour therapy is intended to benefit both the recovering addict and their loved ones, who are also in attendance. FBT can help resolve any continuing tension within these relationships, while also showing your loved ones how they can best provide support – both during your present recovery period, and in the future. By helping to smooth over emotional difficulties, and build a stronger foundation for personal support, FBT can make long-term recovery far more manageable. 

What additional therapy do long term rehab centres offer

Many long term rehab centres offer additional services, beyond the evidence-based approaches that form the core part of their recovery programme. These extra services can be seen as part of a holistic philosophy toward rehabilitation, and – while often entertaining and recreational – also fulfil real client needs during the recovery process. If you are seeking long term rehab in Thailand, you will find that many of the following activities also draw from the culture and traditions of the region.

Mindfulness means learning to stay present and alert at each moment – to ourselves, our sensations, and our surroundings. Developing good habits usually requires conscious effort, making it especially important for you to know how to enter a mindful state. Eastern meditative practice can facilitate this re-orientation, helping you stay focussed on the consequences of each decision before you make it.

Another common element of holistic therapy, physical relaxation sessions are important for conserving your body’s energy, stimulating its reward centres in a healthy way, and maintaining a high level of motivation during the long recovery process. Thai massage is a particularly well-developed technique, whose comforts also help to put the mind and spirit at ease.

Your body can only be as healthy as what you put inside it. Many long term rehab facilities make an extra effort to give you a balanced and healthy diet, by keeping you well supplied with nutrients you may have missed during your period of addictive behaviour. This diet need not sacrifice taste; locally grown ingredients often make for the most delicious and wholesome meals.

This eastern practice lets you coordinate your body, mind and spirit in pursuit of a common aim. Beyond simply helping you stay loose with physical exercise – although that is important, too – yoga encourages you to develop and maintain a meaningful spiritual bond with the outside world. This feeling of connection will give added purpose to your recovery effort, anchoring it to your relationship with life and society.

Who should attend long term rehab?

Long term rehab requires a considerable time commitment, and – as we will see below – costs that can really start to add up as each month goes by. Yet for some people, long term rehab may be a wise investment. If you fall into any of the following categories, you may want to give long term rehab special consideration.
  • Your addiction is severe, and/or long lasting. The more entrenched an addiction has become within your body and mind, the longer it is likely to take to break free.
  • You have tried rehab before, but struggled with it or relapsed. Some people respond quickly to rehab, while others need more time – including a longer period of adjustment and support.
  • You suffer from a co-occurring disorder. The combination of substance addiction along with an underlying mental health condition may take longer to treat than addiction alone.
  • Cost is not an important factor, and you have no pressing obligations elsewhere. Studies consistently show that longer stays in a rehab facility lead to better outcomes. If you have nowhere else you need to be, and can afford to stay longer, then a longer period of treatment is probably a wise idea.

How much does long term inpatient rehab cost?

In Western countries, luxury rehab can cost anywhere from US$40,000 to $160,000 per month – with some of the high-end centres charging upwards of $300,000 per month or more. Lower prices may be available, but only by sacrificing atmosphere (many rehabs have an institutional feel to them) or treatment quality. Whilst standard inpatient care tends to cost anywhere between $8,000 to $30,000 for each 30-day period, depending upon the type of facility, the accommodation option you select, and how luxurious you’d like your experience to be.

Long term rehab in Thailand is far more affordable than in most other countries that have high treatment standards. On average, Thai rehabs cost roughly $10,000 per month, all-inclusive.

long term rehab facilities in Thailand

Entering a long term rehab facility in Thailand brings many benefits that may not be available in countries like the US, UK, and Australia. The lower cost of treatment in Thailand makes a dramatic difference when staying for a long period of time, saving tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars over comparable treatment in the West.

Yet there are other reasons to choose Thailand as your rehab destination, particularly for long stays. These include:
  • Warm climate
  • Excellent cuisine
  • Remarkable hospitality
  • Fascinating culture and landscapes to discover
  • Evidence-based treatments, such as CBT and DBT
  • Holistic therapeutic approach, including excursions
  • High quality of care by Western-trained counsellors from the US, UK, and Australia
  • Physically distant from sources of stress in your life
  • Most rehabs are in peaceful and secluded locations, or by the beach

If you would like to learn more about long term rehab centres in Thailand or addiction treatment options in general, feel free to contact us. We can help you find the best treatment centre that meets your needs. This is a no-cost consultation, call us now or fill out the contact form below.

Cameron Brown
  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Types of Treatment Programs.” NIDA, www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/drug-addiction-treatment-in-united-states/types-treatment-programs.
    National Institute on Drug Abuse.
  2. “Behavioral Therapies.” NIDA, www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment/evidence-based-approaches-to-drug-addiction-treatment/behavioral-therapies.
    Treatment, Center for Substance Abuse.
  3. “5 Stages of Treatment.” Substance Abuse Treatment: Group Therapy., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1 Jan. 1970, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64208/.

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