Drug Rehabilitation Success Rates

One of the criteria considered when looking for a drug addiction treatment program is the success rate of the center. However, success rates can’t be clearly defined as many different factors are taken into consideration when compiling drug rehab success rate statistics. Furthermore, a high success rate doesn’t necessarily reflect the quality of a facility, since available statistics can be misleading or at least unclear.

How effective is drug rehab in the long term?

Of course, the aim of any rehabilitation center is to stop drug abuse and return the former addict into society as a productive, functioning individual. This works for the majority of people, with most people who undertake some form of treatment ceasing to use drugs, decreasing their criminal activity and making great advances in their social and psychological functioning. However, individual outcomes are very dependent on the nature and scope of the individual’s problems, the treatment given and other services that they may receive; not to mention the quality of the communication between the patient and the professionals.

What are the average drug rehabilitation success rates?

First of all, there’s no standard measure of success for rehabilitation centers. Some treatment centers classify success as completion of treatment, while others may have follow up programs in place to see how their patients cope once they return to their ‘normal’ lives. These follow up programs can also vary widely, from simply asking the former patient how they are doing, to follow up meetings with family member and health professionals. Consequently, it can be extremely difficult to quantify success rate figures for drug rehab treatments as very few long-term follow up studies have been carried out. Therefore, before you can make an accurate assessment of ‘success’, you need to know what criteria the success rates are based on. This means that you should also be wary of any rehab center that proclaims to have a high drug rehab success rate, or those that boast about a ‘cure’ rate.

Just like other chronic conditions, the management of substance addiction can be very successful. Appropriate treatment will enable the person to take charge of their addiction and associated behaviors, and regain some form of control over their life. However, the chronic nature of addiction means that the chance of relapse is not only possible, but highly likely, with relapse rates similar to those of other chronic medical illnesses, such as hypertension, diabetes and asthma. While the National Institute of Drug Abuse reports that between 40-60% of people with addictions slip back into drug use after rehab, these figures are similar to the rates seen in people with other chronic conditions which require some form of daily care. However, relapse rates are vastly improved if someone goes into an addiction treatment program within 30 days of detoxification.

How is success measured?

While most centers will use relapse rates to measure their drug rehabilitation success rate, this doesn’t give the complete picture. Addiction doesn’t just go away; the condition can prove fatal without treatment, therefore it stands to reason that rehab treatment is vital for long-term health. Furthermore, success can’t just be measured by the occurrence of relapse, but must include elements of how that person’s quality of life has been improved in areas such as employment, relationships, mental and physical health, and stable living arrangements. Rehab has the potential to make an addict’s life better, even if they are unable to achieve sobriety on their first attempt. Studies have shown that alcoholics who undergo treatment had a better quality of life, even if their abstinence wasn’t permanent, and while they didn’t see some of the benefits that they might have seen with full recovery, their lives did improve.

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