Drug & Alcohol Rehab Success Rate

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In the United States, drug overdose has become of top cause injury-related deaths. On average, 45,000 people lose their lives to addiction annually. These are only the reported numbers however there are many more that are left unrecorded. In addition to substance abuse, alcoholism is also on the rise. What was once a seldom talked about the problem now affects one out of every four households in the US. With the drug and alcohol abuse numbers increasing every year, the number of addiction treatment centers have also increased. Of course, making treatment more accessible is only beneficial if drug & alcohol rehab is actually successful.

What Can Be Defined as a Drug or Alcohol Rehab

Before we get into the numbers, it is important to define what actually qualifies as drug and alcohol rehab. You would think the answer was rather direct, but there is actually no universal standard when it comes to the definition of rehab. As a result, there is also not a way to measure or define a standard metric of success for drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers. Success is defined by each location which means that program completion can be considered a success, or a certain time period of sobriety can be considered a success.

Many drug and alcohol rehab centers claim to have a 90% success rate, but their criteria tend to be on the lax side. If a patient completes a program yet relapses a month later, can it really be considered a successful program? Many of these patients will visit the same facility for repeated treatments which further distorts actual numbers. Relapse and extended rounds of treatment are a normal part of drug addiction programs. Even with the most advanced treatments and dedicated healthcare professionals, some addicts simply have no desire to remain sober.

The ambiguity among what defines rehab and what is a measure of success goes a long way. Regardless of the ready availability of addiction rehab centers, it doesn’t work for as many people as you may think. Realistically when considering what actual success rates may be, it is also important to look at client follow up. Patients who attend a rehab that does not continue with long term follow up sessions are typically overlooked by the facility in the long term. No contact is made to ascertain if a person has remained sober or if they need help maintaining their choice of clean living. This allows rehabs to boast a high or even perfect success rate since the measure is based only on program completion, not effectiveness.

What Are The Relapse Rates For Drug and Alcohol Rehab Attendees?

Managing addiction to drugs or alcohol with formalized treatment is a healthy way to find a path to sobriety. However, one of the most common issues with formalized treatment is relapse. While most addicts who attend rehab complete their respective programs, many of them return to their addictions weeks or months later. Cycling in and out of drug and alcohol rehab is one of the major problems addiction centers face with many of their patients. The idea that help is always available is a good premise, but the help provided is not as effective for long term health as many are led to believe.

One reason for constant relapse is that many rehab centers will use an either/or approach to treatment rather than a mixed approach. Many healthcare professionals working in the field of addiction will either subscribe to “self-help” rehabilitation or pharmaceutical solutions, seldom both. Each type of addiction treatment offers a wide range of benefits, addicts who are treated with a mix of pharmaceuticals and traditional therapy based rehab have higher rates of long term sobriety. It is still important to note that every addiction and every addict's response to treatment will vary. This can make it hard to adopt a set model of care for the rest of a facility to follow. In many cases, medication is more effective than just psychological therapy alone.

What is The Standard Success Rate At Drug or Alcohol Rehab?

As we mentioned earlier, there really is no standardized measure of successfulness of rehabilitation programs. As a general rule, an inpatient drug rehab center will be more effective than an outpatient one due to the structured environment and treatment in an inpatient facility. One way to get a good idea of the success rates of any specific facility is to compile a list of numbers for the following attributes:

It is much easier to measure the quality of treatment provided as well as the comprehensive nature of the treatment. Looking at the information pre-treatment and post-treatment will better allow you to understand the chances of success of any particular rehab center.

According to the CDC, an average of 120 people die each day as a direct result of drug or alcohol abuse. Other agencies report much higher numbers, and of course, there is a percentage that remains uncalculated. Close to 7,000 people a day are seen in emergency rooms nationwide daily due to complications from addiction. While alcohol addiction and substance abuse remain a constant problem, 90% of those who need rehab don’t actually get treatment. Those who do seek treatment tend to complete their rehab programs, but the relapse rates are what is more important to consider.

What Is Addiction Treatment Success?

Addiction can be treated independently or through a formal program, but the definition of success will always differ. One important question to consider is how long should a person remain in recovery in order to be called a success story. This is another reason why it is hard to understand just how effective addiction rehab actually may be. Most studies or surveys that cover treatment centers gather information covering those in active treatment and those who have recently completed treatment. Long term relapses rates such as two, three, or even five years after rehab treatment are rarely studied.

Drug and Alcohol Rehab Drop-out Rates

It is important to consider dropout rates before you think about the rates of success in a rehab program. Success is determined mainly by those who actually finish their treatments, but the number of people who drop out before reaching their goal is not calculated in that number. 60%-70% of all patients who enroll in a rehab center will drop out either before their treatment is complete, or before the three-month post-detox mark. The reasons are more to do with singular approaches to addiction treatment and the actual difficulty that comes with breaking a habit. Some addicts will try as many as 10 different rehab programs before giving up or getting sober for good.

What Do The Numbers On Relapse Mean?

With the information provided so far, understanding the benefits of rehab can be a bit confusing. The relapse numbers can be hard to understand, but in general, any program that is not effective will generally have high dropout numbers in the early parts of treatment. When considering relapse numbers and the effectiveness of drug or alcohol rehab, it is important to view the whole picture and not simply a limited view of specific parts of addiction treatment. In all, rehab has a 30% success rate among those who have completed their addiction treatment and remained sober at least three months. The numbers do not take into account addicts who have dropped out or relapsed to their earlier behavior before completion of the program, which is usually 70% of those who initially seek treatment.

How Do You Identify An Effective Drug and Alcohol Rehab?

The government, state, and Federal combined spend more than $15 billion tax dollars on various substance abuse and addiction services nationwide. While these services are essential, it is hard to gauge just how effective any of them are. Aside from services offered by the government, there are thousands of privately owned rehab programs and treatment centers. Aside from clinics that dispense methadone, rehab centers can be opened and run by anyone. There is no need for accreditation or even specialized licensing required. Paired with the fact that no standard guideline for addiction treatment exists, it can make it difficult to find a rehab that is truly effective.

It is critical that when you are looking for a drug or alcohol rehab that you research each location thoroughly. Check to see if they have certification from The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. Though CERF is a not profit, the guidelines it sets for certification are rigorous. Any rehab or behavioral therapy facility that desires CARF accreditation must meet or surpass their requirements. Some requirements include providing tailored treatment to each patient and actual evidence of offering and using high-quality addiction cessation programs.

Addiction in itself is insidious, many addicts are forced or coerced by their loved ones to enroll in rehab. Many such patients will go through the motions just to fulfill the terms of the program so they can be released. Many rehabs count program completion as a success, even patients who are not truly committed and return to their old habits upon completion.

When looking at possible rehab centers, ask for their numbers on patients who remained sober for 6 months, 1 year, and beyond. This will give you a better idea of how effective their treatment programs may be. Follow up care is also critical. The rehab environment is very structured and doesn’t have many of the triggers that exist in the real world. Follow up care and ongoing treatment allow those on the path to recovery to get the help they need when their willpower begins to falter. Drug and alcohol rehab facilities should also use research-based therapies and have staff that is specialists in the field of addiction.

Spontaneous Recovery VS Rehab Recovery

Many rehab treatment centers do not follow the rigid principles of 12-Step programs and instead follow holistic of faith-based treatment programs. These sometimes result in spontaneous recovery, which of course supports the premise that the 12-Step or medically assisted model are only two approaches. There is a small percentage of those suffering from addiction who are able to beat their habits on their own, or without the need of a formal program. This may be through a combination of faith-based intervention, bottoming out, willpower, or facing a life-changing event.

While these numbers are less tallied, the is evidence that alternative rehab programs that treat lower levels of addiction have a higher rate of long term success. In this case, success is measured by either the permanent cessation of the patient's addictive substances or at least a long term period of sobriety.

Determining Successful Rehab

Keeping everything we have spoken about in mind, the question now is, how should drug and alcohol rehab programs be evaluated? It is important to look at the quality of care provided in each facility, not only how many people finish their initial treatment program. Aftercare treatment and length of sobriety of those who graduate from their programs should also be considered. Interviews with past clients can give a clear idea about which aspects of a program in any particular rehab were effective, and which aspects need more work.

Most importantly, it is critical to also look at the number of people who drop out of the program when trying to gauge rehab centers' overall level of success. Addicts are highly motivated to return to their drug or drink of choice, but an effective rehab program will be able to retain a higher percentage of their patients, even if they return to their original habits later in life.

How To Find Drug & Alcohol Rehab Near Me?

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse or alcohol addiction, there is help available. There are thousands of addiction treatment centers to choose from in your area and nationwide. If you are looking for inpatient addiction treatment or an outpatient treatment program, we can help. There are also faith-based programs and luxury drug rehab, as well as upscale alcohol rehab centers if that is the type of help you prefer. Our easy search tool will help connect you with a reliable, qualified, and affordable drug or alcohol rehab center to help you start on your path to recovery.