With the recent explosion in the amount of treatment centers in the United States, you may wonder, is treatment for drug dependence effective? Firstly, it is important to note the amount of people who do not receive treatment in the first place for their addiction or alcoholism.
In 2009 there were 23.5 million individuals ages 12 and older who needed drug or alcohol treatment for their substance dependence. Of those 23.5 million people, only 2.6 million individuals or 11.2% of the population who needed treatment, actually received appropriate addiction or alcoholism treatment.
Though it is important to know the drug rehab success rates and rehab effectiveness, it is important to note the amount of people who do not receive treatment at all. If these people had access to drug treatment, would drug rehab have a greater impact?
Current relapse rates show that there is a 40 to 60% chance that individuals who attend rehab will relapse. However, this does not mean that drug rehab is not effective. Like any other chronic disease such as diabetes or asthma, relapses are unfortunately common. Medical research has proven that addiction and alcoholism are diseases, not just a lack of willpower or complete carelessness.
When considering the current rehabilitation success rates you must first decide what is considered "effective" treatment for drug dependence. What can be considered "successful" treatment? The goal of drug rehab is not only to get the individual sober but to help them learn how to function effectively in their everyday lives and within society.
It is difficult to accurately gather data on relapse rates because this would require researchers to follow individuals throughout their lives. Does the fact that an individual relapsed mean that treatment was ineffective or does it mean that they are a drug addict or alcoholic and that relapse is inevitable?
While relapse is not part of every single story, it is still incredibly common. With relapse rates showing that 2 to 3 in every 5 people who attend treatment relapsing, it is still a very common part of the addiction treatment industry. This does not mean, though, that the treatment center has failed. They provide every addict and alcoholic who comes through their doors with the resources to stay sober. They cannot follow the individual throughout their life, though, ensuring they do not relapse at every twist and turn of life.
You cannot base the effectiveness of a treatment center only on the amount of people who relapse, you must also take into consideration those who stay sober. Though relapse rates are currently 40 to 60% of individuals who attend treatment, this still means that 40 to 60% of individuals who attend treatment stay sober. These people cannot be discounted due to the relapse of some. Treatment works effectively in the lives of these individuals who carry what they learn in treatment on throughout the rest of their lives.
The people who stay sober take the tools and coping mechanisms learned in treatment into their everyday lives and apply them. They pause before making rash decisions and instead think rationally about the consequences. Those who stay sober maintain an active effort to do so and treatment proves to be effective for them. Relapse rates do not apply to these people, but there is no guarantee they will stay sober, either.
Prescription painkillers such as Vicodin and Norco have become a popular drug of choice for many. However, they are an expensive addiction to maintain and the recent legislation regarding the prescribing of prescription narcotics has made them more difficult to acquire. As a result, people are turning to heroin as an alternative.
Heroin is relatively affordable, widely available, and extremely potent. It also acts on the opioid receptors, similar to prescription opioids, resulting in a similar but more intense high. Since prescription opioids are now harder to come by and expensive to stay on, heroin is returning as a prevalent drug in the United States.
Research has shown heroin to be one of the most addictive drugs available. Some studies have shown heroin relapse rates to be as high as 90%, making the heroin addiction recovery success rates as low as 10%. This is a mind-blowing statistic. Other reports state that around 30% of those in recovery from opiates stay sober.
Heroin addiction recovery success rates are so low due to how highly difficult it is to separate from. Heroin is highly addictive due to the relaxing and euphoric feelings it causes when you smoke or inject it intravenously. The separation and getting clean from heroin can be incredibly painful and difficult which causes many heroin users to continue using instead of getting clean.
Methadone and suboxone are helpful alternatives to heroin but are highly addictive themselves. Sometimes opiate addicts will end up switching from heroin to methadone or suboxone as their drug of choice once they begin a maintenance plan. This is why it is important for addicts to adhere to their treatment plan and remain in contact with their doctor throughout their methadone or suboxone treatment.
Heroin addiction recovery success statistics are frightening to look at, especially if you are the loved one of a heroin or opioid addict. Still, remember to focus on the population of those who do stay sober because they should not be discounted. There is a possibility that your loved one could stay sober so do not give up hope.
Addiction and alcoholism, also much like diabetes or asthma, cannot be cured. They are chronic diseases and those who are addicts or alcoholics will always be addicts or alcoholics. If you are an addict or alcoholic, there is an altered functioning in your brain that causes you to react differently to alcohol or drugs when compared to someone who is not an addict or alcoholic.
Relapse is a common part in the story of many addicts and alcoholics. You may have experienced a relapse yourself. Does this mean you are a terrible person, a mess up, absolutely unable to get sober? Absolutely not.
Would you consider an asthma or diabetes relapse a reflection on the person's worth? Though you ultimately do make the decision to pick up the drink, your brain is fighting you to do so. Still, the fact that you made the decision does not make you a bad person. It makes you an addict or an alcoholic.
Although alcoholism and addiction cannot be cured, they can be managed. Through active effort on your part, you can fight against your alcoholism or addiction on a daily basis. Much like a diabetic takes insulin throughout the day or an asthmatic relies upon their inhaler, you need to have a way to fight against your addiction or alcoholism. Sitting back and doing nothing to combat your disease will inevitably lead to a relapse and the process of getting sober will start all over again.
In order to ensure your treatment for drug dependence is effective and avoid adding yourself as a statistic in current relapse rates, you must make an active effort on a daily basis in order to stay sober.
Maybe you attended detox to help you get sober and manage the withdrawal symptoms when getting sober. Remember how terrible it was to live with those symptoms and suffer through the detox period. Never forget that.
By remembering the difficult time you had in detox, this may help keep you from relapsing in the future. In order to avoid the pain and struggle that is drug detox and ensure your treatment for drug dependence is effective, remember how difficult the detox period was. Some alcoholics and addicts stay sober simply so they never have to detox again.
Maybe you went through inpatient rehab and learned about the wide variety of coping mechanisms to avoid relapse. You learned about the effects of drugs and alcohol on the body. You realized the impact your drinking or using had on your family and friends. You know you never want to put them through anything like that situation again. Avoiding relapse to keep from hurting the ones you love can be a driving force to stay sober.
After attending treatment, you can ensure your treatment for drug dependence is effective by enrolling in an intensive outpatient program (IOP). IOP uses a combination of individual therapy, group therapy, and educational lectures to help you learn more about yourself and your addiction or alcoholism. IOP provides a community of addicts and alcoholics with the same life goals as you: to stay clean and sober on a daily basis.
Intensive outpatient programs can provide ongoing support and accountability. Some programs last a month while others last three months. During your time in IOP you can learn how to manage your triggers and how to get through or entirely avoid situations that encourage your disease to wake up. You can work through difficult situations you experience in your everyday life that make you want to drink or use.
Drug and alcohol counseling is another long-term option to keep you accountable. You can either meet with a certified drug and alcohol counselor or a therapist who specializes in addiction for an hour or two per week. Drug and alcohol counseling takes place on an individual basis and is more focused on you and your personal life experiences. Some drug and alcohol counselors like to work through your childhood while others prefer to focus on present experiences.
Going to drug and alcohol counseling for an extended period of time can provide the accountability to help keep you sober. When you know you have a session coming up in a few days you may be more likely to avoid relapse and not add to relapse rates. With your counselor or therapist you will learn to manage your everyday life as a clean and sober individual.
If you either don't have the money or simply prefer a cost-free alternative, you can attend a 12 step program. There are a variety of 12 step programs for different substances, such as:
Each of the Anonymous programs is based off of Alcoholics Anonymous and focused around the 12 Steps. The 12 Steps are a path to a spiritual experience and a connection with a higher power. In 12 step programs you not only work on yourself but you get to work with other alcoholics and addicts to share what was freely given to you.
You can attend as frequently or infrequently as you like; there is no requirement for attendance. Anonymous programs simply provide you with a path to a spiritual experience that you can either choose to apply in your life on a daily basis or not. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking or using.
Regardless of the direction you decide to go in order to ensure you do not add to relapse rates and that your treatment for drug dependence is effective, find a way to continue to treat your disease. Do not sit back idly and expect cravings to go away or think that you will one day be cured. Maintain an active effort to stay sober on a daily basis in order to give yourself the best chance at recovery possible.
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