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Top 5 Reasons Drug Rehab Fails

A young man in recovery thinking about his next drink

Updated on

Rehab for drug or alcohol abuse is often a very complicated process. For many, it is merely about giving them hope that rehab will help them get their life back on track, and give up the pain of addiction. For others, they are forced into it with some sort of consequence for them if they do not complete treatment. Whatever the reason, people come into drug treatment looking for many different things, and with many various reasons for being there.

A woman sits alone upset that she has relapsedDrug or alcohol addiction is also a challenging thing to fight. It is about both the mindset, the behaviors, and the biology of the person and the changes that substance use has done to them. Drug rehab has to overcome the changes in the brain and neural pathways as the addiction has changed the way a person thinks. Substance use also changes the behaviors a person has and can make them do things they would not normally dream of doing. It also changes their very way of being with people and the relationships around them.

There are things that help people have a successful recovery and things that cause rehab to fail. The purpose here is to look at why rehab fails, to help everyone learn what they need to do, and what they need not do, to stay clean and sober. Looking at why rehab fails is not to discourage, or to put down drug treatment facilities. They all put in the time and effort to help people live free of addiction, and even the top drug rehabs have patients that relapse Learning why rehab might fail is to help you, so you know what you need, to have a successful recovery.

Going back to the same situation that made you use drugs and alcohol in the first place. People have a safe place when it comes to drug treatment facilities. It is a structured environment where the staff is around to help with any urgent or emergent needs regularly. Food is provided, a strict schedule is kept for sleep, work, and treatment, and the outside world very rarely comes into play. There are specific times for visitors, who often are screened, and there are sometimes searches of property to ensure no drugs or alcohol are making their way into the unit.

This is very different from the environment that a person with an addiction likely came from. People who are unsuccessful in rehab often complete it, but then go right back to the same situation they left. There will be chaos, family drama, and most likely, their old using buddies or dealers will come right back around, and the temptation may still be there.

Drug rehab often fails because nothing changes outside of treatment for them. Patients in rehab need to change a great deal in treatment, but they must also learn new ways to cope with bad situations or keep a better, healthier schedule, and most importantly, stay away from people or things that would trigger their relapse. Rehab for drug abuse can succeed, but it takes a significant amount of change all over, for a person going into recovery.

Lack of support outside rehab. Leaving an inpatient unit can be one of the most significant accomplishments a person has done in their life. It takes hard work, introspection, and overcoming a lot of fear and adversity to do this. It can also collapse quickly if a person does not have support once they leave treatment.

A person leaving treatment needs support still. They have completed this intensive course, but rehab for drug addiction is a lifelong process, it does not end after 28 days. If a person goes back home and there is no aftercare program for them to be involved in, this could hurt them in terms of long term recovery. Aftercare is typically an outpatient treatment program that helps reinforce what they learned at an inpatient unit and provides weekly individual and group counseling. People who do not have this setup, or who do not attend aftercare, are much more likely to relapse, and then rehab will have failed.

Another type of support that people have mixed feelings about is a recovery group, or a support group, like Alcoholics Anonymous. 12 step programs can be hard for some to embrace due to the spiritual or religious nature of the program. This might keep some from attending support group meetings and interacting with the recovery community. Unfortunately for those who make this choice, research has shown that attending support groups of any kind will increase the chance a person will stay sober and reduce relapses, also, you don’t need to be religious to succeed in a 12 step program,. Rehab does fail, but there are many tools out there that can and will help you stay on track.

There is no hope instilled. People are amazingly resilient and can overcome great adversity. There are thousands of years of human history that prove this. For many top drug rehabs, there are thousands of stories of people overcoming their addiction. One thing they have in common is that they had some form of hope that they could do this.

Bad influence spelled out in blocksA drug rehab needs to help instill hope in a person. They need a belief in themselves that they can do this, and can overcome this obstacle. A belief in oneself, self-efficacy, has been shown to have a substantial impact on people’s sobriety. Unsurprisingly, people who feel they can overcome addiction are more likely to actually do it, stay in recovery longer, and relapse less. Rehabs fail when they don’t inspire hope in the patient. While you may enter rehab at your lowest point, an effective rehab treatment center will help you to realize quickly that long term recovery is possible.

There is no commitment to sobriety. This one may be obvious, but not all patients who enter drug rehab may be sold on the idea that they actually need to quit using drugs or alcohol. They might have entered rehab for drug abuse because they got the ultimatum from their boss that they need to get sober or they would be fired. That does not show a commitment to sobriety; it shows they want to keep their job.

However, this can be addressed early on in treatment. Motivation and change are some of the most important things that you will talk about in rehab and often take place swiftly upon entering. Just because you went into rehab with the mentality that you were doing it to make those around you happy, but had no actual intention of being committed to it, doesn’t mean that you will feel the same way once you are in there. Many drug and alcohol rehabs employ people who are recovering from addiction. who know what you have gone through and are proof that recovery is possible.

A lack of appropriate treatment. Rehabs fail too often when they do not provide adequate treatment to meet each need. Every person coming into rehab needs specific help. They have their own reasons for starting to drink or use drugs, and those reasons need to be addressed. A one size fits all model of drug treatment is not as helpful as taking a person-centered approach and helping each person with their individual needs and goals.

Individual and group treatment should be provided, but a lack of individual treatment is another reason why rehabs will fail at times. This is part of the process of treating each individual and addressing their underlying causes for addiction. Lack of appropriate treatment means a failure to address or provide support for, other health conditions, like mental or physical illness. Substance use is comorbid with health problems, and many often turn to drug or alcohol use to escape from physical pain or mental health problems like depression or anxiety. Without addressing these causes, then a person is being set up for failure by the rehab. They must provide appropriate treatment for each person that enters the facility. Luckily, many top drug rehab facilities offer individualized treatment plans that cater to the specific needs of each patient.

Drug addiction is a terrible disease that causes lifestyle and lifelong change. It physically, mentally and emotionally changes and damages a person. This is a hard way to start the change process to begin with, so drug rehab needs to do everything that has been shown to help promote recovery and sobriety. People entering and leaving treatment need to take what they learned and what research has shown and use that to their advantage. A drug rehab fails for many reasons, but now you know what you can do to help yourself stay in recovery, and avoid relapse.

There isn’t a “one size fits all” plan when choosing the right drug and alcohol treatment center for yourself or a loved one. You want to choose a rehab that is the best fit for your individual, is committed to your recovery and has your best interest in mind. Let us help you start on your road to recovery, call Recovery Connection 866.812.8231.

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    Our mission is to offer a safe, non-triggering, recovery-focused resource for anyone who has struggled with addiction or has helped someone who struggled. We aim to provide articles that help bring awareness to addiction as a disease and honor the recovery process through insightful and motivating topics. Together, we can all work to inspire each other and bring thoughtfulness and truth to the recovery journey.

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