It is no secret that drug rehab is not always successful. While many people leave rehab in better health than ever before, others go right back to using substances. Some people do not seem to have any intention to stay off drugs after leaving rehab.
There are a lot of misconceptions around this subject. For one thing, success is hard to define. Many people are ready to consider rehab a failure if a person relapses. But that diminishes the time the person spent free of drugs, and it often takes context out of the equation.
The reality is that a person can have an extremely meaningful few months or years before relapsing. In the same way that someone who has torn their ACL may endure the same injury again, relapse is not a sign that the initial rehab did not work.
It is also important to note that not all drug rehab centers are created equal. There are some that provide treatment that is not based on science, and which exist solely to make a profit. In this article, we will speak about drug rehabs which have excellent programs to ask why some people do not take to the treatment.
Here are 4 reasons why drug rehab is not always successful.
1. The Individual is not ready
Rehab is almost always voluntary. However, some people are court-ordered to go to rehab while others are given ultimatums by people at home or at work. They can technically still leave whenever they want to, but they will face severe consequences. Instead of working through the program, they wait until their prescribed time is over so that they can go back to life as it was before.
There are certainly those who go to rehab with the wrong intentions and end up taking on what they learn. They see or hear something that resonates with them and gives the treatment a chance. However, it is very difficult for even the best-trained staff to get an unwilling participant to commit to treatment. The individual may simply not be ready to do what it takes to get better.
2. They have no Support outside Rehab
Some people go to rehab willingly and invest their time and energy into the program. They leave rehab with the intention to stay off drugs using the skills they have learned. However, they find no support at home. In many cases, it is a person’s home environment that is most triggering. Without support from their friends and family, it is easy to slip back into old habits.
Entering the wrong environment when leaving rehab can lead to relapse. The best rehabs have aftercare programs and offer help settling in, but sometimes the lack of support and, on the flip side, the presence of enablers is just too much for the person to handle.
3. They Face a Catastrophe
Rehab is the start of a journey. While it can help a person build a lot of fortitude, there is still work to be done. Individuals leaving rehab are not nearly as vulnerable as they once were, but they are not impervious to stress either.
In some cases, a person experiences a catastrophic event before they have built up their skillset. This could be a tragedy like losing a loved one or the shame and anxiety triggered by losing a job. There are many different events that could derail a person’s recovery journey before they are ready.
The simple reality is that even people who have not struggled with addiction have a tough time remaining mentally healthy in the face of a catastrophe. With the right support, a recovering addict may manage to get through the scenario without relapsing, but it depends on the person and circumstances.
4. Drugs are too accessible
By the time a person leaves rehab, they are no longer having physical cravings and have learned to manage their mental cravings. They may be very resilient to the occasional urge to do drugs. However, this becomes a lot more difficult if they have easy access to drugs.
Whether the access to drugs is due to work or home circumstances, their presence makes managing cravings much trickier. It can still be done, but it takes a combination of learned skills, willpower, and luck to be able to avoid falling prey to these cravings.
Rehab is not always successful, no matter how good the facility or how dedicated the individual is. That said, it is important to see every situation in context, as success is rarely black and white.