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Drug and alcohol addiction affects hundreds of thousands of people per year in the UK – with over 275,000 adults contacting drug and alcohol services in the year from April 2020 to March 2021.

Alcohol and drug rehab is widely considered to be the best option for treating substance use disorder – but is rehab actually effective? Does rehab work for everybody – and if not, why?

That’s what we’re going to explore on this page. Read on to learn all about rehabilitation treatment, including what it involves, rehab success rates, and some reasons why rehab may not work.

What Does Rehab Involve?

Before we determine whether rehab works or not, let’s delve into what rehab typically entails. Usually, addiction treatment begins with detoxification. Detoxification addresses the physical addiction – which means a detox, you’ll have no access to drugs and alcohol.

If you have a severe dependence on drugs or alcohol, you may be given medication-assisted treatment, also known as a medically-assisted treatment. This means that medical professionals will administer detox medication such as Antabuse to ease the withdrawal symptoms.

The next stage of drug and alcohol rehab focuses on your mental health. Addiction therapy can not only improve your mental health but teach you valuable coping mechanisms that can ultimately help to prevent relapse.

Counselling can also help you to gain a further understanding of yourself and your addiction – for example, your triggers and the root causes of your addiction.

Different clinics will have different therapy options. Some common forms of therapy in rehab include:

There are two main forms of rehab – inpatient treatment and outpatient treatment. Inpatient treatment, also known as residential rehab, involves residing in a facility and attending residential rehab treatment sessions at the same place.

With outpatient rehabilitation, however, you will live at home as usual and travel to your scheduled sessions.

You may move on to secondary treatment after you have completed rehab. Also known as aftercare, secondary treatment can include group therapy, support groups, and counselling.

You may also wish to go on to tertiary treatment – also known as sober living. This provides ongoing support throughout your recovery, easing the transition from rehab back to your everyday life.

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Rehab Success Rates

It can be difficult to measure the success rates of alcohol and drug addiction treatment – one of the main reasons for this is that there’s no standardised way to measure it.

However, many people find inpatient treatment for alcohol and drug dependence to be more effective than outpatient rehab.

A study from 2018 measured the effectiveness of residential withdrawal and residential treatment interventions. The study showed that almost 60% of those who completed the treatment program displayed better results.

The success of the treatment was measured on the successful completion of the treatment, as well as those who didn’t attend further treatment within six months following the completion of their treatment plan.

Different rehab clinics will use different metrics to measure the success of their treatment – for example, interviews, sobriety rates after treatment, the number of people who complete the treatment program, as well as internal data.

Why Rehab Might Not Work

Unfortunately, rehab doesn’t always work for everybody the first time around. Many people will have to go through intensive rehab treatment more than once. Read on to find out some of the main reasons that rehab may not be working for you or a loved one.

The Program Isn’t Long Enough

One of the main reasons why rehab might not work is because you haven’t attended the program for long enough. This is especially true if you’ve been addicted to drugs or alcohol for a long time.

It’s important to remember that addiction recovery is a long process that requires continuous effort, dedication, and motivation. The fact is that total sobriety takes time – and generally speaking, the more severe the addiction, the longer you’ll need to spend in a rehabilitation facility.

Many insurance companies will offer a 3-day program, but unfortunately, this isn’t usually enough. Many people require a 28-day program – or even longer – to receive the support and tools they need to return to their everyday lives without relapsing.

Longer programs that involve detoxification, therapy, and additional support will often produce better results than ‘crash courses’ and 7-day rehab programs. Recovery doesn’t happen overnight – you have to be willing to put the work in consistently in order for rehabilitation to work.

That being said, a 7-day program could still work for some people. Speak to our experts at Help4Addiciton to find a rehab program that is the right length for you and your addiction.

You Aren’t Putting The Effort In

Many people with substance abuse problems will be pressured into going to rehab by their friends and family.

If you attend rehab without wanting to be there, then it may not be successful. In order for rehab to work, you need to put the effort in – ultimately, you have to want to become sober.

Make the most of the support and rehab facilities you have access to while you’re attending drug or alcohol rehab. Addiction treatment requires effort – if you don’t put the effort in, then chances are, you won’t see results.

You’re In Denial

Treating addiction is only effective if you are aware of your problem and you are willing to make positive changes. In most cases, addiction treatment won’t work if you are in denial. In fact, many people that attend rehab aren’t convinced they need the treatment.

If you’re unsure whether you have a problem with drugs or alcohol, ask yourself whether drug abuse or alcohol abuse is preventing you from going about your day-to-day life. Is it affecting your relationships? Your finances? What about your physical and mental health?

We have a helpful page with tips on how to help an alcoholic in denial – so check it out to learn more. After all, coming to terms with your addiction is the first step you can take toward recovery.

You Don’t Have Enough Support

You may struggle to recover from addiction if you don’t have the right support. This is why rehab clinics provide the support you need.

If you have a dual diagnosis (a mental health condition as well as addiction), then you may benefit from contacting mental health services for additional support. However, most addiction treatment options provide mental health support.

You could also contact your local drug service to discuss your options – there are many forms of support out there that can help you beat your addiction.

However, in many cases, support from rehab centres alone is not enough – you need support from loved ones including friends and family too. Without this support, it can be difficult to maintain sobriety – which is a leading reason why rehab doesn’t always work.

If your loved one is recovering from addiction, it’s important you provide them with ongoing support throughout their recovery. Check out this page on how you can help your alcoholic dad, which can help you to support your parent.

Finding A Rehab That Will Work For You

Whether you have an addiction to illicit drugs (e.g cocaine addiction or meth addiction), or to prescription drugs (e.g opioid addiction), we can find the right substance abuse treatment facility for you. We can also find the best local drug treatment service for alcohol addiction too.

If you’re worried about the rehab cost, we can find both NHS-operated rehab centres as well as private rehab clinics.

Contact our experts today to learn more about the process, seek treatment and get started on the admissions process.

Finding the right drug abuse and alcohol treatment for people who need it is important to us. In fact, Help4Addiction was founded by an addict who needed rehab to save his life – which is why he made it his goal to help others find the right rehab facility for their needs.

About Author

Nicholas Conn

Nicholas Conn

Nicholas Conn is a leading industry addiction expert who runs the UK’s largest addiction advisory service and is regularly featured in the national press, radio and TV. He is the founder and CEO of a drug and alcohol rehab center called Help4addiction, which was founded in 2015. He has been clean himself since 2009 and has worked in the Addiction and Rehab Industry for over a decade. Nick is dedicated to helping others recover and get treatment for drug and alcohol abuse. In 2013, he released a book ‘The Thin White’ line that is available on Amazon.

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