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How Effective Are Drug Rehabs in This Day and Age?

drug rehabs

More than 20 million Americans over the age of 12 had a substance abuse disorder in 2018.

When an individual with a substance abuse disorder wants to get help, rehab is a common choice. But with so much time and money invested, you need to know for sure: do drug rehabs really work?

A drug rehab success rate doesn't really give you the full answer to that question. For that, we need to reimagine how we define success in terms of substance abuse.

We're going to do exactly that in this quick guide to what you should know about rehab success rates. Keep reading for more.

How Is a Drug Rehab Success Rate Calculated?

Calculating a drug rehab success rate is problematic for a number of reasons. The first of those reasons is that there's no standard definition for what "rehab" is. Without a standard definition for what qualifies as rehab, there can't be a standard metric for measuring rehab success rate.

Percentages boasted by an addiction treatment center can be based on any number of measurements. Some measure how many patients complete the program they signed up for. Others may look at sobriety rates in the months following treatment or use client interviews and internal studies.

There are also different criteria for defining a successful recovery. Some rehabs consider abstinence from drugs and alcohol a successful recovery, without looking at potential increases in other problematic behaviors. In addition to these different definitions of success, relapse is rarely talked about when calculating a rehab success rate.

Changing the Definition of Success in Recovery

The most important thing to remember when talking about substance abuse is that it's more than a disorder. Substance abuse is actually qualified as a chronic disease and, like other chronic diseases, there is no cure. Instead, substance abuse requires treatment.

With that in mind, success in recovery shouldn't be looked at in the black and white terms of relapse and abstinence. Recovery should be viewed in terms of living a healthy and productive life, and a few missteps don't take away from that journey.

Changing the definition of a drug rehab success rate would therefore involve measuring factors such as a reduction in the frequency of using a substance and longer gaps between relapses. But it might also include such items as improved employment or education status, improved physical and mental health, and improved relationships with family and friends.

How to Improve the Odds of Success

The success of an individual in rehab depends on a number of things. Of course, the extent of the addiction and the substance in question are two very important indicators of how difficult rehab will be. But there is one thing you can do to improve your odds of success.

That is, you need to look for the treatment program that's right for you. Not all rehabs are created equal and you need one tailored to your needs. Maybe that means seeking help from a facility that specializes in dual diagnosis and comorbidity or maybe you require a medically-assisted treatment program.

Additional Personal Growth Resources

Calculating a drug rehab success rate is problematic because of the different criteria for defining treatment, recovery, and success. But too many rehab programs focus solely on abstinence as their criteria for a successful recovery. In reality, there are a number of factors that should be considered in defining success in recovery.

The first step in any treatment is recognizing that you need help. Keep looking through our personal growth resource for more things to help you be a better you.


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