Does Rehab Really Work

Does Rehab Really Work? What You Need to Know About Drug Rehab

If you or a loved one suffer from drug addiction, you have already heard a lot about drug rehab. Doctors and former addicts often talk about how rehab can help people live a drug-free life. But does rehab work as well as experts claim?

Overcoming addiction can seem like a task of tremendous difficulty, but countless people have succeeded through rehabilitation. However, the cost and effort can be intimidating, especially when you don’t know the results.

Read on to find out if rehab really works, and what you need to know about drug rehabilitation.

Drug Rehab Basics

The most important thing to know about addiction is that it is a complex illness.

By definition, drug addiction is a brain disorder that leads to the inability to control drug abuse. An addict’s brain is rewired to make it impossible for them to stop, despite the harmful effects. An addict has an uncontrollable compulsion to seek drugs even if it means they might die from it.

People can become addicted to numerous chemical substances, including a variety of drugs, prescription medicine, nicotine, and alcohol. Addiction affects the brain’s reward mechanisms, making the addict feel dependent on taking more of the same drug. Prolonged drug use can bring about tolerance, which means that the addict will need a higher dose to get the same sense euphoria from their drug of choice.

What is even more worrisome is that drug addiction also has broad social and mental consequences. The destructive behaviors wrought by addiction can damage a person’s career, social life, mental health, and family happiness.

So, an effective drug rehabilitation program should address all the root causes and restore a person’s life. This is a complex challenge. Also, each addiction is different and requires a different approach to treatment.

Each drug rehab program is different, but they all have the same core aims. These include helping the patient get rid of drugs from their system, as well as from their life. Drug rehab also works to prevent relapses, which are common among former drug addicts.

Since you are here, it means that you have already started your journey towards recovery. Let us see the different levels of rehabilitation care you can seek.

Drug Rehab Levels of Care

As we have seen above, different addictions merit different treatments. The most effective treatments rely on a combination of comprehensive professional treatment, psychological support, and long-term life changes.

Detoxification Programs

Detoxification is the cleansing of drugs from the body. All drug rehab programs have some form of detox, but some focus solely on detoxification. These programs include frequent, and often constant, medical monitoring to ensure that the patient does not relapse.

Detox may also include specific prescription medicine designed to alleviate the symptoms of withdrawal. For example, methadone is an opioid prescribed to treat heroin addiction.

Residential Treatment Programs

Residential treatment involves staying in a live-in healthcare facility. Recovering addicts leave their homes and stay at the facility to get therapy for substance abuse. This is the most intense form of drug rehab, and also the most expensive.

The length of stay in the healthcare facility varies depending on the type of addiction and the severity of the symptoms of each recovering addict. The key benefit of residential treatment is that it helps recovering addicts stay away from the triggers and temptations that led to their addiction in the first place.

This type of treatment allows recovering addicts to “reset” their lives and make a new start once treatment is over.

Inpatient Treatment Programs

Another form of intensive care, inpatient treatment aims to heal severe cases of drug abuse. In such programs, recovering addicts live in a closed treatment facility for a month or longer. During that time, they must follow a strict schedule with no deviations.

The aim of inpatient treatment is not only to detoxify, but also to help recovering addicts build the coping mechanisms they need to live a drug-free life.

Partial Hospitalization Programs

Partial hospitalization programs (PHP) do what they say in the box. With PHPs, recovering addicts receive partial hospitalization and enjoy many of the benefits of inpatient care. The treatment requires a minimum of six hours each day, five days a week.

Intensive Outpatient Programs

Intensive outpatient programs (IOP) give recovering addicts the chance to live at their homes and still receive effective treatment. In such programs, patients must visit a hospital or treatment center on a daily basis to receive treatment.

With IOPs, patients get to maintain some of their daily habits while eliminating everything that has to do with their addiction.

The drawback of IOPs is that recovering addicts may still be exposed to the triggers that led to their addiction. Intensive outpatient programs have a higher rate of relapse than inpatient and residential treatment programs.

Conventional Outpatient Programs

A milder approach, conventional outpatient treatment involves detoxification and frequent meetings with a psychologist who helps with behavioral issues.

These programs are less intense than intensive outpatient programs. They are mainly for recovering addicts who haven’t been abusing drugs for a long time.

Halfway Houses

Halfway houses, also known as sober living homes, offer additional support once a recovering addict finished their primary rehab treatment. Recovering addicts can live for a while in a halfway house before returning to their homes.

Halfway houses offer a safe and drug-free environment. Recovering addicts get to live with each other and build social support. This helps recovering addicts stay drug-free and avoid relapsing once they return to their homes.

Ongoing Support Groups

With drug relapse being a real threat, ongoing support is a must even after you have escaped your drug addiction. Joining an ongoing support group like Narcotics Anonymous (NA) can help you maintain your motivation and find constant encouragement to stay off drugs.

Recovering addicts can also help others who struggle as they did through ongoing support groups. Giving back to the community can be a rewarding experience for those who overcame their addiction.

How Efficient is Drug Rehabilitation?

Many drug addicts are reluctant to commit to a drug rehab program because it often fails. Yes, drug relapse is real. Studies show that more than 85% of all recovering addicts will relapse in less than a year from finishing their treatment.

However, this is not the whole picture. The same studies also show that only 10% of all drug addicts ever receive treatment. This means that more than twenty million drug addicts in the US alone will never receive the treatment they deserve.

For those struggling with drug addiction, rehabilitation may be their only chance to live a healthy, drug-free life.

However, the patient’s dedication and the level of care they receive are crucial to the outcome. Moreover, strong ongoing support is also essential to avoid relapsing since recovering drug addicts are still in high risk for years after their treatment is over.

Drug addiction is a disease much like diabetes, depression, or cancer. It requires careful treatment, follow-up support, and lifestyle changes to overcome.

Coming out of rehab, your body will be clean and you will have the tools you need to live a drug-free life. What you do with these is up to you. Many recovering addicts never touch drugs again, but others fall into the same traps and relapse.

Even if you relapse, you can seek treatment again. This will be different than the first time, to give you a new perspective and avoid the same mistakes.

Evaluating Drug Treatment Effectiveness

Before committing to a drug rehab program, you should do your research to make sure it is the right program for you. If you are looking to book a treatment for a loved one, you should also research your options and discuss details with a qualified physician.

As part of the national drug control strategy, the Office of National Drug Control Policy provides a list of factors to determine the effectiveness of drug rehab programs. These factors include:

  • Reduction or elimination of drug use
  • Physical health improvement
  • Mental health improvement
  • Social interaction improvement
  • Education improvement
  • Employment improvement
  • Public safety improvement
  • Legal status improvement

According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, complete sobriety is the end goal, but even a reduction in the use of drugs is a success. The office aims to improve quality of life. This is possible even before achieving complete sobriety.

The Profile of a Good Drug Rehab Program

Knowing what you should expect at drug rehab can help you make that big decision to change your life.

The first thing you have to understand is that rehab represents a huge commitment. A commitment that can change your life forever. However, the stakes are nothing less than your life itself.

Getting into rehab will take you away from your triggers, temptations, and distractions. It will also take you away from your current responsibilities, allowing you to focus 100% on getting sober.

While different rehab plans offer different options, most follow some basic core elements. Let us see them below:

Initial Assessment

Rehab starts with an initial assessment interview. You will have to complete an interview and a series of medical exams to assess your health and the severity of your drug addiction.

Medical Detoxification

Unless your addiction is at very early stages, or you have just relapsed, you will have to undergo medical detox. This includes going through a withdrawal period and taking prescription medication to ease the transition to sobriety.

A Fixed Schedule

All rehab programs are scheduled to optimize your time in treatment. There is little free time and everything is planned and programmed. This doesn’t mean rehab is boring or tiring. It means that even leisure and rest are tightly scheduled.

Behavioral Counseling

You will take part in counseling sessions on a daily basis. These will help you build the skills you need to live a drug-free life. Counseling will also help you deal with the underlying causes of your addiction to prevent relapsing.

Education

These include workshops to teach you new skills and educate you on how drugs and addiction work. Knowing how the brain works can help you avoid the same mistakes.

Social Support

Rehab often means socializing with other recovering addicts. This can build mutual social support that will help you find the motivation you need to keep going.

Family Support

Family participation can be a huge boost in your recovery efforts. Your close family members will learn how to help you stay sober and support you during your recovery and after you have become sober.

Ongoing Care

Finally, rehabilitation continues even after you are sober. You will have to join support groups and take part in ongoing activities to ensure you remain drug-free.

These are all part relapse prevention planning. The aim of drug rehab is not only to get you free from drugs but also prevent you from doing them again.

So, Does Rehab Work?

Finally, answering the question “does rehab work”, we have to say that it does. It does work and has helped millions find happiness without drugs. Here at Addiction Treatment Services, we help recovering addicts find the personalized rehabilitation they need.

With so many drug rehab options, it can be difficult to find the right one for you or your loved one. Taking that first step is often the hardest thing to do, but remember that ending your drug addiction is possible.

At Addiction Treatment Services, we know how to help with rehab that works. Contact us today to start your journey to find out the ideal rehab center to treat your addiction.

Article Reviewed by Dr. Keerthy Sunder, MD, DFAPA

Dr. Keerthy Sunder, MD, DFAPADr. Keerthy Sunder, MD is an accomplished and internationally recognized expert in the field of addiction. He has earned diplomates from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, the American Board of Addiction Medicine, and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.