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Why Does Drug Rehab Sometimes Not Work?

Drug rehab makes the difference between addiction and recovery for many people. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work for everyone, often because the program is a poor fit or the individual doesn’t have adequate support.

Why Does Drug Rehab Sometimes Not Work?

Addiction is a devastating disease that is very hard to overcome alone. For many people struggling with addiction, drug rehab is the bridge to recovery.

Unfortunately, drug rehab doesn’t always work. That doesn’t mean that it’s not worth trying, but there are several things to be aware of before enrolling in a rehab program.

Why Drug Rehab Doesn’t Always Work

The goal of drug rehab is to help someone live a life free of addiction. Some people find this freedom in a rehab program but relapse when they return home. Others drop out of treatment early, unable to refrain from substance use.

There are many reasons that drug rehab may not work, depending on the individual and the program they choose.

Lack Of Participation

If someone enters addiction treatment unwillingly, they are less likely to reap the full benefit of drug rehab.

Overcoming addiction requires active participation and immersion in the healing process. If a person does not accept or embrace the changes they need to live substance-free, drug rehab probably won’t work for them.

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Not Enough Time In Treatment

People who seek treatment for alcohol and drug abuse have usually been addicted for a while. They—and their loved ones—have begun to notice how substance use negatively affects their life and health.

Some people enroll in drug rehab before their life falls apart, but many people do not. Because the destruction of addiction is a gradual process, healing is a process too.

Healing from addiction takes time. Insurance companies have made the 30-day program a popular choice because it is most likely to be covered by healthcare. However, most people need more than a month to make the drastic life change necessary to overcome addiction.

During drug rehab, an individual works through issues that lead to substance abuse, as well as issues that stem from addiction.

To prevent relapse, a person has to learn new skills, replace old habits, and get used to a different way of life. That doesn’t happen overnight. Drug rehab probably won’t work for people who need more time than allowed by the program they choose.

The Rehab Program Doesn’t Meet Individual Needs

Addiction is a personal experience that people deal with in different ways. Addiction treatment should be tailored to the individual for the best outcome.

The best drug rehab programs use a personal assessment to create a unique treatment plan. This plan should address:

  • how addiction affected the individual (their life, health, relationships, etc.)
  • how the individual dealt with the effects of addiction
  • what caused the person to abuse drugs or alcohol
  • which areas of the person’s life were affected the most by substance abuse
  • their history of addiction treatment

A rehab program that doesn’t address the root causes of addiction, such as trauma or co-occurring disorders, is unlikely to lead to lasting recovery. Unresolved issues can resurface later and cause a relapse.

Addiction treatment that doesn’t heal mental or physical issues that result from substance abuse can end in a relapse, too.

Lack Of Support System At Home

Individuals in outpatient rehab programs often struggle to remain consistent with treatment progress if they don’t have support at home.

Some people finish an inpatient drug rehab program and are jolted by how different home life is from the rehab center.

Without a supportive home environment, it can be very difficult for a person to stay sober. This is especially the case if they live with people who abuse drugs or alcohol.

It can also be challenging if their family or friends do not seem to care about their recovery progress. Resisting relapse isn’t easy without encouragement.

Aftercare, which may range from periodic check-ins from the rehab center to ongoing substance abuse counseling, is vital for many people in recovery.

Support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), can also help individuals avoid relapse. These groups bring people together to share their burdens and remind each other of the coping skills learned in addiction treatment.

Alcohol Or Drug Cravings

With some drugs, cravings continue after detox or may re-emerge months or years later. Cravings are physical or mental urges to use drugs or alcohol that are very hard to resist.

This is why addiction treatment often begins with detox to eliminate or reduce cravings so a person can focus on recovery.

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) may be an option for individuals who struggle with cravings. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved several drugs for the treatment of opioid and alcohol addiction that are used along with counseling and therapy.

MAT uses mild drugs that relieve cravings or produce an adverse reaction to substances of abuse. The goal is to wean a person off of the stronger substance (heroin, alcohol, etc.) and eventually help them live substance-free.

There is not much that can be done to prevent cravings that resurface later in life. But someone who has cravings during drug rehab may be more successful in recovery through MAT. And the right drug rehab program can prepare them to stand firm in sobriety if cravings return.

A Traumatic Event

A traumatic experience can lead someone to turn to substance abuse as a way to cope, even during or after drug rehab. Despite healthy coping skills for everyday stress, the physical and mental effects of trauma may be too strong for someone to resist their old means of comfort.

Trauma can be caused by something that happened to a loved one, such as an unexpected death.

It may also result from something that happened directly to the person, like a bad accident. If they were injured, they may be prescribed opioid painkillers, which lead many people to relapse.

Finding A Drug Rehab Program That Works

If drug rehab doesn’t work once, that doesn’t mean it will never work. Choosing a different treatment facility and building a support system can make a significant difference in recovery.

The drug rehab program that works best may be different for everyone, but some factors increase a person’s chance of success.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that long-term rehab programs that last three months or more produce the best outcomes.

Many people also benefit from inpatient care that removes them from an unhealthy home environment and immerses them in the healing process. Inpatient addiction treatment can be followed by an outpatient program and aftercare for long-term support in recovery.

A drug rehab program that works will help the individual resolve underlying issues. It will also heal their body and mind from the effects of substance abuse. It should use a blend of proven therapies that encourage physical, mental, and spiritual wellness.

At Addiction Campuses, we offer personalized care through holistic drug rehab programs. To learn more about our programs and discover if they are a good fit for you or your loved one, contact us today.

National Institute on Drug Abuse - https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/principles-effective-treatment

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