Health

Addiction Rehab: What Kind of Success Rates Can You Expect?

Pick an addiction, and you’ll find a killer. Of the estimated 21 million Americans with at least one addiction, “only 10 % of them receive treatment” (Addiction Center). They die of opioid overdoses, cocaine abuse, alcoholism, and more. The numbers increase annually costing individuals, families, and the economy billions. 

Addiction rehab under the watch and counsel of professionals may be the necessary and best option for many who have or will soon hit a wall. People enter rehab because their families insist or because the court requires action. But ideally addicts volunteer because they are ready to admit their problem and seek help.

But what can you expect in addiction rehab?

A stay in an addiction rehab facility does not cure addiction. No promises or guarantees are offered. What inpatient or outpatient service does is:

  • Provide a detox opportunity. Perhaps half of those treated pursue enough detoxification to stabilize their physical systems. They must treat withdrawal symptoms and resolve the domestic or legal crises that drove them to care.
  • Offer pharmaceutical support. Some rehab centers offer medications to treat symptoms of abuse and withdrawal. There are medications, each with their own risk, to offset the immediate need for alcohol, opioids, and heroin.
  • Diagnose the problem. Rehab centers understand addiction may correlate with other physical and/or psychiatric issues. In many cases, the addiction is fully integrated with anxiety, depression, or PTSD. 
  • Therapeutic Pathways. Cognitive therapy offers a deeper understanding of the physical and psychological mechanisms of their disease. The professionals at St. Louis’ Harris House note, “When clients begin treatment, they immediately have a connection to a large support network of counselors, psychiatrists, community resources, housing, medical care, and peer support.” Therapy may involve family therapy, group feedback, and introduction to 12-step programs. 

What kind of success rates can you expect?

Addiction is a chronic relapsing disease with no known cure. Success is a relative metric. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reminds you rehab has modest goals: “Treatment enables people to counteract addiction’s powerful disruptive effects on the brain and behavior and to regain control of their lives.”

So success can be measured by successful completion of the program, restoration of family relationships, elimination of criminal activity, or other standards of sobriety and productivity. Unfortunately, relapsing often negates the perceived values in rehabilitation. Actually, the NIDA acknowledges 40% to 60% of addicts will relapse.

However, those same numbers suggest 60% to 40% do not relapse, a significant gain when you consider the cost of addiction to individual, family, and society. The numbers also compare favorably with statistics on relapsing by patients with diabetes, asthma, and other chronic conditions.

There is no secret. Addiction rehabilitation takes a village to manage a complex physical and psychological problem. It takes a commitment from the addict, professional diagnosis and individual treatment, customized therapies, family and social support, and life-long attention. The complexity defies any easy calculation success or failure. Most people involved are happy with rehab that leads them to success one day at a time.