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Does Rehab Work?

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How Often Does Rehab Work?

There is no doubt that rehab centers around the US have helped thousands of people recover from substance use disorder (SUD), drug abuse, and alcohol use disorder (AUD).

Navigation: How Often Does Rehab Work?, Heroin & Opioid Rehab Success Rates, Alcohol Rehab Success Rates, How Do You Know if Drug Rehab is Effective?, Why Do People Relapse?, Why Relapse Prevention Skills are Part of Addiction Treatment, How to Prevent Drug and Alcohol Addiction Relapse, Rehab is Your Best Chance

 

Addiction is an overwhelming condition that affects many different aspects of a person’s life. Not many people seek treatment and get the help that they need. This is mostly because of the stigma surrounding drug abuse, addiction, and rehab. People avoid treatment out of shame, fear, or guilt.

But to help fight stigma, we need to talk about addiction and how the treatment process works. Part of the reason why this condition is so stigmatized is because of a lack of education surrounding the topic. Even those who are dealing with addiction may think twice about going to rehab simply because they don’t know what to expect.

Others are skeptical about the existence of effective addiction treatment. After all, there are many rehab facilities out there claiming that they will be the one to help your addiction. So here we will discuss rehab success rates and other things people worry about when it comes to recovery.

Let’s break down the question “does rehab work?” and dive into the world of addiction treatment and recovery.

To start this off, we need to put it out there that the recovery journey is different for everyone. Addiction is a personal journey. Everyone experiences different symptoms. Everyone has different circumstances. Some people may have to stay longer while others have only a brief stay in rehab. Some treatments may work better for certain individuals than others. At the end of the day, whether or not rehab will work for you will depend on how much work you put into your own sobriety.

There is no doubt that rehab centers around the US have helped thousands of people recover from substance use disorder (SUD), drug abuse, and alcohol use disorder (AUD). You should go to rehab simply due to the fact that fighting addiction on your own is incredibly difficult and not to mention dangerous. It can put your life at risk if you don’t receive medical care during this difficult process. Proper medical support will make it easier. While success rates cannot determine what will and will not work for you, going to a rehab facility is still much better than quitting cold turkey and putting yourself at risk. Evidence-based treatments can be personalized to cater to your unique needs and help you recover from addiction safely.

Here are some significant drug rehab statistics to consider.

 

How Often Does Rehab Work?

One of the most common questions people ask when looking for an addiction treatment facility is “what is your success rate?”

While a few facilities do have an answer for this question, most of them do not report this number. This is because of various factors. As you may know, addiction is far more complex than other chronic diseases. This extends into the treatment process.

With how many clients rehabs get each year, it is impossible to keep track of all of them for an extended period of time. Additionally, there really isn’t a standard definition for “success” when it comes to recovery.

A facility may say they have a 95% success rate because not a lot of clients have requested a second stay, which means very few have relapsed. Other facilities may choose to base their success rate on the progress reported by their clients after a year. This will involve tracking them and asking to confirm their sobriety.

This means success rates don’t paint the entire picture. While you can still ask about success rates, you should also look into other important aspects of treatment. Ask the rehab facility about the types of treatments they offer and whether they specialize in certain types of addiction. Ask about certification and education levels of clinicians. Also look into the facility’s accreditations.

These questions should give you a more accurate idea of what to expect from a certain rehab center.

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Heroin & Opioid Rehab Success Rates

People suffering from chronic pain have a high risk of developing an opioid use disorder that leads to opioid addiction. While opioids work great for pain relief, they are highly addictive substances because of the way they relax a person and make them feel good. This usually becomes a problem because the person becomes dependent on their medication.

There’s also the common misconception that opioids are safe because they are prescribed by doctors. When taken long enough, the body can become physically dependent on the substance, which can lead to withdrawal if the person stops taking opioids or reduces their intake. People who misuse their prescription or take these substances recreationally are at an increased risk of becoming addicted.

Long-term sobriety for people with an opioid addiction can be tricky. One study found that almost 60% of people who finished opioid rehab relapsed within one week. Up to 80% ended up relapsing in the first year.

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) seems to work much better. This treatment is a combination of medication and therapy sessions. The relapse rate for opioid addicted individuals who went through MAT is only 39% even after 3.5 years.

Alcohol Rehab Success Rates

Alcoholism leads to over 95,000 deaths each year. Alcohol remains one of the most commonly abused substances in the world, along with opioids. Because of how common alcohol use disorders are, plenty of rehab facilities have opted to specialize in its treatment.

The best alcohol rehab programs combine detox and behavioral therapy to help patients achieve long-term sobriety. This combination will help patients get sober and learn how to maintain their sobriety.

For a successful treatment, it is recommended that patients stay for at least 30 days in rehab. Usually, longer stays produce better results. Some patients may require 60 to 90 days in a rehab facility, depending on their condition and progress.

After treatment, patients should continue their recovery journey through outpatient treatment or at least attend meetings with support groups or stay in a sober living environment. This will help them adjust to life outside of rehab and start working on maintaining their sobriety.

Unfortunately, the chance of relapse is high for those who have an AUD. About 80% of people relapse within a year. In this case, the definition of relapse is having at least one alcoholic drink in a day.

However, those who manage to stay sober for two years by abstaining from alcohol completely can reduce their risk of relapse to 60%. People in recovery who manage to abstain from alcohol for at least five years have a less than 15% chance of relapse.

Those who wish to maintain their sobriety should put in the work and commit to attending support group meetings.

Keep in mind that relapsing is not the end of the world. It only means there’s more work to be done to help the patient maintain their sobriety. Recovery is possible.

How Do You Know if Drug Rehab is Effective?

As a chronic condition, there is no cure for addiction. It cannot be prevented by vaccines, or cured by medicines. The worst part is anyone can develop it at any age. This is why they say addiction recovery is a lifetime journey.

But just like other chronic conditions, it can be treated effectively. Addiction treatment can help a person get sober and learn various coping mechanisms that will help them stay sober for the long term. Relapse prevention is one of the main goals.

While it can be difficult to gauge exactly how successful an addiction treatment program is, there are still a few ways to tell if rehab is working for you. According to The Office of National Drug Control Policy, rehab works if it has positive effects that clients immediately experience upon discharge.

The client should have a reduced drug or alcohol intake, as well as improved mental health. Their interpersonal relationships should also improve. People who have completed drug or alcohol rehab should have improved employability and reduced criminal activity. Overall, the patient should see an improvement in most aspects of their life.

Being able to maintain long-term abstinence is also a good sign. The person should be able to make better and healthier life decisions.

Staying sober is only one way to tell if rehab is successful. Making long-lasting positive changes to your life is an even better indicator.

Your physical health will improve, becoming healthier and more energetic. After all, abusing drugs and alcohol can make your body more susceptible to illnesses. Staying sober boosts your immunity.

Your mental health will also get a boost, improving your mood and general well-being. Illicit substances tend to affect your mood and even cause mental health problems like anxiety, depression, etc.

Your performance at work or school may also improve. Addicted individuals tend to prioritize substance abuse over everything else, neglecting all of their responsibilities in the process. People leaving rehab tend to see an improvement in their academics or career. This also allows them to get their finances in order because they won’t be spending on drugs and alcohol.

Finally, when you feel healthy and happy, your relationships with other people tend to improve. Your friends and family can connect with you and support you on an emotional level as you strive to maintain your sobriety. You will be spending more time with people who are good for your health and sobriety. Rehab may even teach you to cut ties with certain people who are toxic or enabling your substance abuse.

Relapsing is a normal and common thing, affecting between 40 and 60 percent of the population. It’s not something to be afraid of. Successful rehab will lead to longer breaks between relapses. This shows that you are learning how to avoid triggers and handle stress without using drugs and alcohol.

Why Do People Relapse?

As a chronic illness, relapse is a possibility for those with an addiction. Relapse is a common thing, but there are various reasons why a person may relapse. Everyone is different.

Withdrawal is the most common reason for a relapse. It usually happens to people who have developed drug dependence, especially those who try to quit cold turkey instead of going through proper treatment. If a drug dependent person tries to reduce or stop their intake, their body will respond with adverse health effects.

Withdrawal is a part of the recovery process, but this experience can be very uncomfortable or even painful for the person going through it. Withdrawal symptoms may vary depending on the type of substance taken and other factors. They may also vary in intensity, ranging from mild to severe. In some cases, withdrawal can be life-threatening.

Common symptoms of withdrawal include nausea, restlessness, vomiting, diarrhea, insomnia, muscle aches, and even seizures. Withdrawal from benzodiazepines and alcohol are particularly dangerous. Medications may be used to keep withdrawal symptoms and intense cravings at bay. Medically-assisted treatments may use medications like Suboxone or Valium to help keep the patient stable.

This is why a proper drug detox program is necessary. During this process, the person can gradually lower their intake while health care professionals manage their symptoms and keep them safe. While withdrawal can still be uncomfortable, it will at least be done safely.

Mental health problems could also lead to relapse. Anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, etc. could increase the risk of relapse. Some people deal with the symptoms of their mental health disorders by drinking or using drugs. Without addressing these co-occurring issues, it would be difficult to get sober for the long term. Psychiatrists and therapists could help patients dive into the real causes of their addiction, including their mental health issues.

People in recovery should also be careful about the kind of company they keep. They need to surround themselves with people who understand their sobriety journey and would support them instead of being a bad influence or enabling their behavior. You may have to part ways with people who enjoy drinking or taking drugs recreationally. You need people who will respect your decision to change your life. Even if you don’t cut ties with toxic people entirely, you need to at least set healthy boundaries.

Relationships in general could be tricky. If you are in recovery and you are not already in an intimate relationship, you may have to avoid entering one especially if you are newly sober. New relationships may trigger unwanted and unpleasant emotions that can make it difficult for the person to stay away from drug and alcohol use.

Certain places may also increase the risk of relapse for people in recovery. Bars, wineries, clubs, casinos, liquor stores, and parties are places you might have to avoid. There are also places that are triggering to specific people. It all depends on the individual in question. Any place that they associate with drinking or using drugs should be avoided.

Another potential cause of relapse is boredom. Some people who just got out of rehab do not know what to do with their extra time now that they are not wasting it on drugs and alcohol. It is important to reclaim your sense of purpose and direction so you can channel your energy into positive and productive things. Otherwise, boredom and isolation will lead to very bad decisions.

Even the smallest things can prove to be triggering for a person in recovery. This is why coping skills are in place—to avoid relapse when facing certain stressors and triggers.

Everyone in recovery is at risk of relapse. It’s okay to feel good about all the progress you have made, but do not let this turn into overconfidence. You may think you will never use alcohol or drugs again, but it still demands a strong commitment to sobriety or else you may accidentally fall into the same patterns all over again. Do not get complacent, especially if you are in the early stages of sobriety. Follow treatment recommendations, go to AA meetings, and do your best to avoid triggers no matter how confident you may feel.

For those who want to turn their lives around and beat their drug addiction, they need to commit to their sobriety. They need to confront the issues that are causing their addictive behavior. During rehab, patients will be encouraged to face these issues, identify their stressors, and learn healthy coping mechanisms.

Once you are out of rehab, you will have to face the realities of life once again. This means having to face difficult emotions from time to time. It may seem overwhelming at first, having to deal with these stressors on your own. But you can always get support from loved ones, friends, and support groups. It’s impossible to avoid these emotions as they are part of life. But learning how to manage your emotions and control your reactions is the key to lasting sobriety.

Why Relapse Prevention Skills are Part of Addiction Treatment

Rehab success rates are influenced by a number of factors. It really depends on how you define success. In any case, relapse prevention is an important part of the drug and alcohol treatment process because that is the long term goal of anyone who enters rehab.

So while detox is focused on helping your body get rid of the harmful substances that are keeping you addicted, behavioral therapies will help you recognize unhealthy thought patterns and triggers while teaching you relapse prevention skills.

Rehab is all about setting clients towards a healthy path of lasting recovery. It means helping them achieve personal growth so that they can reduce their risk of relapsing even when they are out there on their own. This way, they can deal with stress, anger, boredom, money problems, relationship troubles, and triggers without falling back into drug abuse.

How to Prevent Drug and Alcohol Addiction Relapse

There is a misconception that you are only supposed to use relapse prevention skills when you are on the verge of using drugs or drinking again. But in reality, relapse prevention skills are life changes you need to implement on a daily basis to reduce your chances of relapse.

Just because relapsing is common doesn’t mean you have to go through it. Attending treatment regularly can help you confront the root cause of addiction, but you still have to put everything you’ve learned to practice. If rehab teaches you the theory of recovery, it’s up to you to handle its application.

The best way to avoid relapse is to take care of yourself. Self-care is an empowering act especially if you have been through the effects of addiction. Addiction overwhelms your mind and body, preventing you from doing basic things like taking care of yourself, your appearance, your diet, your personal hygiene, your fitness, etc. But taking care of yourself is going to give you the confidence you need to stay away from drugs and alcohol. You can change your life by making healthy choices each day.

Take care of your body through exercise, a balanced diet, and enough hours of quality sleep. Stick to a daily routine, fix your schedule, follow a healthy structure and you will establish a much healthier pattern for yourself. This reduces the risk of relapse significantly.

One important acronym to keep in mind is “HALT”, which stands for “Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired”. Whenever you are feeling “off” and having an intense craving to use, ask yourself if you are feeling any of these symptoms. These are some of the most common triggers for relapse, especially for people in recovery. Do some self-inventory and guide yourself away from your cravings.

Do some mindfulness meditation if you want to increase your self-awareness. With better self-awareness, people are able to recognize potential triggers and cope with existing stressors. Mindfulness meditation has been found to result in less cravings, longer periods of sobriety, and the ability to “roll with cravings” rather than give in. It is normal to feel cravings every now and then, but meditation can help you stick to the healthier path. The core concept of mindfulness is paying attention to what you are doing, who you are, etc. This helps you gain power over your own cravings and stay in control.

You can also try deep breathing exercises. Breathing is central to life, and you can gain so much control over your body and mind by simply controlling the way you breathe. Changing your breathing patterns can affect many essential functions throughout your body. It even has a positive impact on your brain chemistry.

If you feel like you are on the verge of using again, it helps you have an emergency contact list. It is important to have a safe person to talk to if you are struggling to get past the craving. They can support you and remind you why you got started on treatment in the first place. Just imagine what would happen in the short and long-term future if you decide to use drugs or drink alcohol again. Think of all the consequences you will have to face again if you relapse.

Being able to handle stressors without relapsing is a skill you need to develop. However, knowing your triggers and avoiding them in the first place can also be a useful skill. Some triggers are internal, such as HALT, while others are external. Certain people, places, and things can remind you of your past drug abuse and push you towards relapsing. But gaining an awareness of your stressors and triggers can reduce your risk of relapse.

Remember that you do not have to do all of this on your own. You can join a support group like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous to get support from peers who understand what you are going through. Here you can get emotional support, education, and accountability. Support groups can reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness.

The fear of relapse is normal, and it can even be debilitating. But if you find yourself feeling hopeless, seek help. You are not alone in your journey to lasting recovery.

There are plenty of addiction treatment options out there. For example, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is an excellent resource for things concerning rehab and addiction treatment services.

Look for a rehab facility near you and learn more about inpatient or outpatient treatment programs. An inpatient treatment program is ideal for those who have severe drug and alcohol addiction, while outpatient treatment is for those who need to keep up with their responsibilities while receiving treatment. Even if you relapse, you can always find other rehab facilities to offer a different approach that will help you get back to living a sober life.

 

Rehab is Your Best Chance

Treatment is an addicted individualʼs best option if they want to recover. Beating an addiction not only requires eliminating the physical dependence, but also addressing the behavioral factors that prevent them from wanting to get better. Simply quitting may not change the psychological aspect of addiction. Some people quit for a while, and then take drugs or alcohol again, only to overdose because they did not detox properly. Recovery involves changing the way the patient feels, thinks, and behaves.

author avatar
Fel Clinical Director of Content
Felisa Laboro has been working with addiction and substance abuse businesses since early 2014. She has authored and published over 1,000 articles in the space. As a result of her work, over 1,500 people have been able to find treatment. She is passionate about helping people break free from alcohol or drug addiction and living a healthy life.

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