What You Need to Know About 30-Day Drug Abuse Programs

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Substance abuse is a life-altering struggle that can be difficult to overcome without help. Evidence-based treatment programs exist to help people through this difficult situation, and 30-day programs offer intensive support and care that can increase the likelihood of maintaining long-term abstinence.

Substance abuse is a life-altering struggle that can be difficult to overcome without help.

In 2015, 10.1% of the U.S. population aged 12 or older were current users of illicit drugs 1. Only 10.8% of those who struggled with substance abuse sought help for their addiction, and more than 50,000 people died from a drug overdose that year—many of whom could have been saved had they received treatment 1,2.

Clearly, substance abuse treatment can save the life of someone feeling trapped by their drug use, and 28- or 30-day rehab is an excellent place to begin the recovery process.

What Happens In a 30 Day Rehab Program?

Most 28 and 30-day drug and alcohol treatment programs follow a general course:

  • A clinician performs a thorough substance abuse test/assessment, which includes a detailed drug or alcohol use history and examination for any pertinent medical or mental health issues.
  • You work with a program professional to develop your individual treatment plan to ensure that the program meets your specific needs. This also helps you know what to expect over the next 28 or 30 days.
  • Detoxification is an important part of the beginning of recovery since it involves clearing all substances from the body through sustained abstinence. Depending on your substance of choice, you may experience extreme discomfort when withdrawal symptoms set in; some substances even carry the potential of lethal withdrawal symptoms if not managed appropriately. Formal programs can help alleviate the discomfort and prevent possible death through medications, medical monitoring, and psychological support.
  • As you progress further into the program, you engage in various types of therapy and counseling, depending on your personal treatment plan. Individual therapy, group therapy, and 12-step meetings are all potential aspects of your treatment course.
  • Throughout the program, you work with your therapist to create a personalized aftercare plan, which could include continued therapy, sober living arrangements, or 12-step meetings.
  • Once you’ve completed the entire program and have solidified your aftercare plans, you are discharged.

There are many different program types and styles, and finding the best one to suit your needs is a vital part of treatment success.

A typical day in a treatment program may run something like this 3:

  • Breakfast.
  • A couple hours of different group therapy sessions.
  • Lunch.
  • More group therapy, as well as some individual or family sessions.
  • Dinner.
  • Recreational free time or group outings.
  • Lights out.

Some people may require extra care to help them cope with co-occurring disorders, meaning they have a substance abuse disorder as well as a mental health issue. Treatment for a person with a dual diagnosis should address both issues simultaneously and may require extra time and an increased level of care to ensure their safety.

Some programs offer alternative forms of therapy and recreation, including yoga, acupuncture, equine activities, massage, and many other holistic options. Many programs offer service to specific populations, such as:

  • Gender-specific.
  • Teen-only.
  • Veteran service programs.

There are many different program types and styles, and finding the best one to suit your needs is a vital part of treatment success.

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How Do I Know If It Is Right for Me?

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5) contains a standardized set of diagnostic criteria to determine if someone has an addiction (officially termed a substance use disorder). If they meet any 2 of these criteria within a year, they may be diagnosed with an addiction 4:

Woman abusing various drugs

  • Using a substance in larger amounts or for longer periods than intended.
  • Having a desire to cut back on use, but having been unsuccessful in doing so.
  • Spending a lot of time trying to get, use, or recover from the substance.
  • Craving or wanting to use the substance.
  • Substance use leads to a failure to fulfill major responsibilities at work, home, or school.
  • Continuing to use the substance despite social or interpersonal problems related to use.
  • Giving up or reducing important social, occupational, or recreational activities because of substance use.
  • Using the substance in physically dangerous situations.
  • Continuing to use the substance despite knowing that there is a physical or psychological problem caused or exacerbated by the substance use.
  • Tolerance to the substance’s effects (requiring increasing doses to achieve the same effects).
  • Withdrawal effects and symptoms in the absence of the drug, or taking the drug to avoid the withdrawal syndrome.

If you or someone you love meets 2 or more of the above criteria, a 30-day program may be an important first step to getting clean. When looking for programs, consider whether you want to stay close to home or take a break from your home environment to focus entirely on recovery in a sober facility.

One at-home option is outpatient care, where you continue to live and sleep at home and check in on a regular basis. These options may seem more convenient than an inpatient program, but they require a lot of self-motivation, which can be difficult to muster in the throes of an addiction. Outpatient programs may not be best suited to people with severe addictions or for those with a history of repeated relapse—in these cases, a 28- or 30-day program is likely a better fit.

Concerned you may have a problem? Take our assessment today.

How Much Does a Drug Abuse Program Cost?

The cost of 28- and 30-day drug and alcohol rehab varies depending on the program. Most run anywhere from $400 to $900 per day, depending on a few factors, including the location, insurance accepted, and the specific range of amenities and recreational offerings 5.

There are many ways to pay for substance abuse treatment, including:

  • Out of pocket: You can pay for treatment using your checking or savings account. If you are able, you can pay in full up front—sometimes you’ll receive a discount for doing so. If you cannot afford to pay the full amount at once, ask about payment plans and sliding scale cost options, which adjust the cost to your ability to pay.
  • Insurance: Your insurance plan may cover all or part of treatment, so making sure a program accepts your provider and your plan is an important part of the search. Call your insurance provider to ask about the specifics of your plan and then work with the insurance specialist at the treatment program you’re considering.
  • Scholarships: Many programs and government agencies offer rehab scholarships to help you pay for treatment. Be sure to ask those that you’re looking into about these options to help mediate costs.
  • Loans: You can take out a personal loan, a home equity loan, or a specialized healthcare loan to help cover the cost of treatment now and pay back the cost over time. Just be careful since the loan’s interest continues to build over time, and if you don’t pay it back relatively quickly, you end up paying a lot more.

What to Look for In a Rehab

Man researching 30 day rehab options

When looking for a 30-day program, there are many factors to consider. First, ensure that the program is accredited, including certifications from any of the following 6:

  • State substance abuse agency (SSA)
  • National treatment accreditation organizations, such as:
    • The Joint Commission
    • Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF)
    • National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA)

The staff should also have experience with substance abuse treatment. You can ask about the staff’s accreditations, certifications, and education to ensure the facility employs capable and qualified employees. On top of program and staff qualifications, consider whether the center specializes or has extensive experience in treating addiction to the specific substance you are addicted to. Make sure you find one that knows how to handle your recovery situation.

Unfortunately, there are some program out there that practice unethical treatment of clients—you obviously want to avoid these centers at all costs. These programs can do any number of questionable things, including using proprietary nutrient supplements, internet marketing scams, and unproven treatments. Some even claim to take a patient’s insurance, when in fact the reimbursement is low to negligible, leaving you holding the financial bag. Make sure to research any program well, and avoid those with a sketchy reputation.

You may want to consider your own comfort in terms of who you prefer to recover with. Many programs have designed their treatment with particular groups of people or special requirements in mind, including gender-specific, LGBTQ-focused, dietary restrictive, and age-based rehabilitation.

How to Find a 30-Day Inpatient Rehab Near Me?

If you have insurance, call your insurance provider to ask about your plan’s coverage and in-network facilities. Be sure to ask them how much they cover and what your out-of-pocket cost is anticipated to be. If you are in the market for low-cost insurance, you may qualify for government-sponsored plans in the healthcare marketplace.

If you do not have insurance, there are numerous resources available to help you pick a program. Friends and family members who have worked through treatment may offer valuable insight, and you can check out online facility reviews to see what program graduates are saying about particular programs. Another great way to find a program is to ask a trusted therapist, psychiatrist, or primary healthcare provider about recommendations.

Recovery is possible—start your journey today. Call our helpline at 1-888-744-0069Who Answers? to talk with a treatment support specialist about your program options.


  1. Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2016). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. SMA 16-4984, NSDUH Series H-51).
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2017). Overdose Death Rates.
  3. American Addiction Centers. (2017). A Day in the Life.
  4. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing.
  5. American Addiction Centers. (2017). Home page.
  6. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator.
Last updated on June 3, 2020
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