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July 24, 2022

Does Drug Rehab Work? Let’s Look At The Statistics

Trying to fight addiction on your own can be challenging, overwhelming, and frustrating. But one of the main questions people ask when seeking addiction treatment is whether or not drug rehabilitation actually works. Some of the most common questions people ask when considering rehab include:

  • Is drug rehab worth the cost?
  • Does addiction treatment actually help people live a sober life?
  • Does drug rehab only help people quit drugs and alcohol for a short period?

All of these questions and concerns are valid. You can find answers by understanding the criteria used to determine rehabilitation success and by looking at drug rehabilitation statistics.

What Determines Drug Rehabilitation Success?

When most people think about drug rehabilitation success, they think about sobriety. While living a fully sober life is certainly the end goal of drug rehabilitation, the journey to sobriety isn’t as straightforward as many people may think. Drug rehabilitation doesn’t magically remove addiction from a person’s life, but treatment can help improve their life.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy describes what addiction treatment is meant to do. The policy states that people receiving effective addiction treatment should:

  • Use addictive substances less often
  • Have longer periods of time between relapses
  • Improve their performance at work or school
  • Improve their physical health, including reduced doctor visits
  • Improve their mental health by reducing negative behavior and moods
  • Improve their relationships with the people in their lives
  • Improve their legal status, including following probation
  • Improve their safety, including fewer injuries and accidents

This means that drug rehab can be effective even if an individual hasn’t reached full or long-term sobriety. Although sobriety is the end goal, personal growth is a clear sign that drug rehab is, in fact, working.

When individuals who were once consumed with addictive substances are able to keep a steady job, do well in school, and improve their relationships with family and friends, they have grown personally, professionally, and socially. All of these factors are indicators of drug rehab success. But the reality is, even after experiencing a period of abstinence, personal growth, and improved physical health, relapse can happen.

How Does Relapse Affect Drug Rehab Effectiveness?

Although challenging, relapse doesn’t mean that drug rehab has failed. Instead, relapse is proof that addiction is a chronic condition, meaning it is a persistent ailment that has long-lasting effects. Despite what many people think, addiction isn’t the only chronic condition associated with relapse. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction has a slightly lower relapse rate than some other chronic conditions.

Currently, the relapse rates for chronic conditions, including addiction, are as follows:

  • Addiction: 40-60%
  • Type 1 Diabetes: 30-50%
  • Hypertension: 50-70%
  • Asthma: 50-70%

When individuals with diabetes, hypertension, or asthma relapse, the treatment hasn’t failed. Doctors simply learn more about the type of treatment the individuals need. The same is true for addiction relapse.

When someone has an emotional, mental, or physical relapse, it’s not a failure, it’s a lesson. Perhaps they need to learn a few new techniques for dealing with cravings. Maybe they need to change the people they’re spending time with, or join a peer support group. The lessons that can be learned after relapse are endless, but as long as the individual is dedicated to sobriety, willing to admit their mistake, and open to trying again, relapse does not make drug rehab and addiction treatment less effective.

How Effective Is Drug Rehabilitation?

One of the best ways to determine whether or not drug rehab works is to look at the facts. Even though America is currently dealing with an opioid crisis, research shows that drug rehab is effective. Take a look at the following statistics.

According to the Butler Center for Research at Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation:

  • 89% of individuals who complete alcohol rehab are still sober one month after discharge.
  • 76% of people who successfully complete alcohol rehabilitation remain sober 3 months after treatment. An estimated 69% of individuals are still sober 6 months later, and a little more than 70% are still sober 9 months after leaving a rehab facility.
  • Approximately 85-95% of people who successfully complete drug rehab report that they are still abstinent from drugs nine months later.
  • About 80% of people report having an improved quality of life after completing a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program.
  • 41% of people who receive medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid detox successfully complete treatment and achieve abstinence.
  • About 68% of people who go through medically supervised detoxification for drugs and alcohol have a successful rehabilitation experience.
  • According to this landmark study, people who stay in treatment longer (28 days for inpatient, 90 days for longer stays) are 5 times more likely to remain abstinent from substance use.
  • 90% of people using heroin who received medically assisted treatment were able to significantly decrease their heroin usage.
  • Research shows that a year after treatment, 25% of people were able to maintain their sobriety. The remainder of people receiving addiction treatment reduced their overall alcohol use by 87% and were able to remain sober 75% of the time.
  • People who receive medication-assisted treatment for 3 years or longer have a lower relapse rate than those participating in MAT for less than 3 years.
  • A study found that 33% of people addicted to meth who attended residential rehab remained sober 3 months after treatment. 14% of individuals remained sober 1 year after treatment.
  • One study found that people who attend 12-step meetings were able to spend 80% of their days sober 1 year after treatment, while 19% of people did not drink at all.
  • 67% of people who attended 27 weeks of AA meetings were sober 16 years later while only 34% of people who did not attend AA meetings were sober.

Does Our Outpatient Treatment Model Work?

Here at Meta, we provide 3 different types of outpatient rehabilitation programs. Many people think that outpatient rehabilitation is less effective than inpatient treatment. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Research shows that intensive outpatient programs (IOP) are an important treatment option for alcohol and drug use disorders. Research also shows that IOPs can be as effective as inpatient treatment programs.

But our treatment model also includes clinical services that include cognitive and dialectical behavioral therapies. Research shows that:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) alone is 50-75% effective in helping individuals overcome depression and anxiety within 5 to 15 sessions.
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy is effective in reducing self-injurious behavior, the length of treatment, and suicide attempts. After 6 months of DBT treatment, 46% of people showed healthier behavior patterns and after a year, 51% of individuals showed improved behavior patterns and lifestyles.

Empowering Individuals To Make Drug Rehab Work

Here at Meta, we believe in empowering individuals to take charge of their recovery. Statistics show that drug and alcohol rehabilitation works, but treatment isn’t a magical eraser that makes addiction disappear. Recovery requires intentionality, commitment, dedication, perseverance, and a will to succeed. That’s why we’ve centered our facility on the four principles and pillars of recovery:

  1. A sense of purpose
  2. A loving community
  3. Encouraging all aspects of health
  4. A safe, non-judgmental, empowering, and challenging environment

In many ways, drug rehabilitation works for people who are committed to working through the process of recovery. If that’s you and you’re looking for support along the way, contact us today. We provide real recovery for real people.