Does Drug Rehab Work?

When addiction has taken enough of a toll on an individual or family that they seek the help of a treatment center, there is a sense of desperation. We get that. No one wants to continue to endure pain and suffering. Rather, there is usually a desire to mask certain feelings with drugs or alcohol. In such circumstances, some people may feel that they have no option but to put their trust in something beyond them: a treatment facility. Still, does rehab work? Here is what we know about drug rehab success rates.

Measuring “Success” in Recovery

First, we need to think about what success looks like for someone who is recovering from addiction. Does the individual in question have to stay sober for a week, year, or the decade before we can say they rehab worked for them? Do they have to die from old age? Recovery is not back and white, and frankly, relapse is a part of the recovery process. This is no different than someone with diabetes or hypertension. Ultimately, the goal is to develop a lifestyle and habits for an overall happy, healthy, and productive life. Someone with adult on-set diabetes will likely have to make several lifestyle changes and work on the psychological aspects behind their diet in order to prevent this disease from progressing and causing irreversible damage. They will probably have days or weeks where they don’t follow their recommended dietary days, especially at the beginning of this transition. Just as patients with diabetes may meet regularly with a health coach to review their progress or regression, a patient in recovery from addiction will meet with their therapist and/or doctor on a regular basis. 

Success is progress. Success is working to build the tools and strategies to overcome relapses. It is knowing when to reach out for help. It is gaining an understanding of why you use and why you need to stop. It is rebuilding relationships with loved ones, returning to work, and becoming a positive part of the community without drugs. 

Rehab Can’t Work If It Isn’t Accessible or Attempted

You cannot succeed if you don’t try. According to the CDC, approximately 114 people die and 6,748 people require emergency assistance per day due to substance-related issues. It is also estimated that 90% of people who need substance abuse rehabilitation do not receive it. This may be due to a lack of access to treatment, a lack of education on treatment options, a lack of a desire to get help, or a combination of these issues. How does rehab work if treatment is not administered? It doesn’t. It can’t.

When drug rehab does work, it can lead to some of the greatest success stories. An effective drug rehab program helps their clients work through guilt, anxiety, and trauma and guides them to realize their potential. These are the success stories. Individuals who complete a rehab program often develop a new appreciation for life, love, and the pursuit of happiness.


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