Does Rehab Work? Understand Rehab Success Rates

Does Rehab Work?

Regardless of your substance of choice there is likely a rehab facility out there claiming to treat your specific addiction. However, understanding if it is actually working can be a bit harder to determine. The Office of National Drug Control Policy issued a white paper outlining exactly what it means to have rehab “work” and the positive effects clients should experience upon discharge.

  • Reduced drug/alcohol use
  • Improved employability (ie: number of days working or in school)
  • Improved interpersonal relationships
  • Improved mental health
  • Reduced criminal activity

Keep in mind that addiction is a personal journey and should someone not experience these effects, they may need to stay in treatment longer, receive care in another facility, or explore other forms of substance abuse treatment.

Why Relapse Happens

As with any chronic illness, relapse happens. While people would like to complete detox and have that be the end of their recovery journey, it is simply not possible. Addiction requires a lifelong commitment and the willingness to confront what is actually causing the disease. When we look at relapse rates among other chronic illnesses we see similar results as addiction:

  • Addiction: 40-60%
  • Type 2 Diabetes: 30-50%
  • Hypertension: 50-70%
  • Asthma: 50-70%

When you look at the root cause of hypertension or type 2 diabetes you may uncover that being overweight or family history has led to these illnesses affecting your life. Implementing a regular fitness routine or taking medication may alleviate the symptoms, but once you stop treatment, you may experience a relapse.

The same theories can be applied to addiction. When you attend regular therapy you may see cravings reduce, but once you take on a high stress job or struggle to make ends meet, it may lead to a relapse.

How to Prevent Addiction Relapse

While relapse is common in addiction, it does not mean that you have to revert back to an addicted life. You can attend treatment more regularly and ensure that you partake in treatments known to confront the root cause of addiction. These treatments often provide clients with the tools needed to overcome their triggers in the real world.

Long-Term Sobriety Treatments

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: talk therapy focused on helping clients analyze their behaviors and change how they respond to various situations.

Somatic Experiencing: experiential therapy focused on overcoming past trauma and reducing triggering events

Biofeedback: experiential therapy focused on understand the physical response to triggers and teaching your body to respond differently. This form of treatment is especially effective with opioid users who suffer from chronic pain.

Mindfulness & Exercise: alternative therapy focused on naturally calming and pleasing the mind. This form of therapy is best used as a supplemental treatment to traditional treatments.

Mutual Support Groups: while not a form of therapy, mutual support groups (like AA) are often considered key to long-term sobriety as they provide a network of individuals substance abusers can relate to and find community in.

While most treatment centers offer CBT or other talk therapies they may not offer somatic experiencing or mindfulness training. These treatments help clients overcome trauma, mental illness, or other root causes of addiction.

To ensure you or your loved one have access to these advanced, evidence-based therapies look for rehabs that offer a luxury rehab program. The facilities are usually nicer, but the true distinction is that luxury rehabs employ highly qualified clinicians and offer a wider variety of treatment methods.

Rehab Success Rates

A popular question in the addiction space is, “what’s your success rate?” Many facilities do not report this number for a variety of factors.

  1. it’s very difficult to track patients for months and years following treatment.
  2. there is not global standard for success.

Thus, one facility may report 95% success because no clients had requested a second stay in their center, while another may report 65% success because they tracked clients for a year and drug tested them to confirm sobriety one-year post-treatment.

Without understanding how success is defined, you’d likely believe the 95% was better, when in actuality, the 65% success rate is exceptionally more accurate and may be indicative of future success.

For this reason, it’s best to instead ask:

  • “What treatments do you offer?”
  • “What level of certification/education do your clinicians have?”
  • “What are your facility’s accreditations?”
  • “How do uncover the root causes of addiction – and subsequently treat them?”

When looking at the industry as a whole and focusing on verified research studies, here’s what “success rates” look like for various substances:

Heroin & Opioid Rehab Success Rates

Prescription opioid addiction and heroin addiction is often predicated by a chronic pain issue. Even when taking opioids as prescribed, if taken long enough the body will become physically dependent on them.

For this reason, long-term sobriety can feel daunting – one study found that 60% of people who completed opioid rehab relapsed in just one week with up to 80% relapsing in the first year. To help with this issue, the government has backed medication-assisted treatment (MAT) programs that combine medication and talk therapy to treat patients.

When looking at opioid users who received MAT in rehab the relapse rate after 3.5 years was just 39% — with less than 10% using opioids regularly.

MAT is not right for everyone, but it can be the difference between long-term sobriety and relapse for many. To better understand if you or your loved one should begin this type of treatment, contact the addiction specialists at The Hope House for a personalized assessment.

Alcohol Rehab Success Rates

Alcoholism claims 95,000 lives each year and is one of the top abused substances alongside opioids. With alcohol abuse rates being so high, many treatment centers have built alcohol rehab programs focused on long-term sobriety.

Clients will need to detox from alcohol (safely) before they can enter rehab. Once there, it’s best to stay at least 30 days and then continue treatment on an outpatient level, attend mutual support meetings, and stay in a sober living environment.

For those who actively partake in this level of alcohol treatment it’s been found that about 80% of people will relapse (ie: consume at least one alcoholic beverage in a day) within one year. For those who remain sober for 2 years that number drops to 60%. Finally, those who abstain from alcohol for at least 5 years have a less than 15% chance that they will relapse.

The primary key to long-term alcohol sobriety is maintaining lifelong treatment like exercise or AA and responding to triggers in a healthy way (which can be taught in therapy).

If you are concerned your loved one may have relapsed, we’ve outlined signs of alcoholism, and our addiction specialists can walk you through next steps over the phone.

Cocaine Rehab Success Rates

Roughly 1.8 million adults were struggling with a cocaine addiction in the latest national surveys. The rate of deaths from cocaine has continued to increase every year as well.

Inpatient cocaine addiction treatment has proven effective for cocaine users with a recent study finding that one-year post-treatment about 21% of people reported weekly cocaine use, and at five years post-treatment 25% reported weekly cocaine use.

The study also found that clients who remain in rehab for 90 days (called long-term rehab) have a better chance at remaining sober than those who stay in treatment for just 30 days.

As the effects of cocaine use continue to become more severe, doctors are researching new types of treatment and specifically investigating medication-assisted treatment options – though they have not yet been FDA-approved.

If your loved one is showing signs of cocaine addiction contact our addiction specialist today for help understanding next steps.

Meth Rehab Success Rates

Methamphetamines, or meth, cause an intense euphoric effect with crystal meth reportedly causing euphoria for up to 12 hours. This constant “happy” feeling can make the drug difficult to stop and make withdrawal from meth harder to work through.

For these reasons, medical help for both detox and meth addiction treatment is highly recommended. Studies have found that of those who struggle with a meth addiction and complete rehab, 61% will relapse within a year – that number rising to 74% three years post-treatment, and ending at 73% relapse rate five years post-treatment.

To combat these relapse rates, clients should work with a facility that will help them craft a robust aftercare plan.

Learn more about what to expect in rehab in our day-by-day walk through.