Does Drug Rehab Actually Work?

Drug rehab success rates can be impacted by a variety of factors. Knowing these factors can help you establish a successful rehab plan.

Get Help Now!

In 2021, over 106,000 people died from drug-involved overdoses in the United States. Evidence-based rehab programs do work, but there is no standardized way to measure treatment success.

As a result, many rehab facilities base their success rates on several factors, including the number of people who complete the program and the percentage of individuals who remain sober following treatment.

Defining Successful Addiction Treatment

Standardized tools for measuring addiction treatment success across multiple metrics aren’t readily available to treatment facilities in the United States.

For some programs, success is defined as complete abstinence from a substance, whereas others may consider success to be successfully using pharmacotherapies to manage cravings and symptoms.

For many years, relapse rates have been a standard factor measuring recovery success. However,
documentation of this factor needs to be more consistent and often relies on estimated numbers.

While relapse rates indicate some aspect of success, other factors such as personal growth, the management of co-occurring conditions, and the person’s emotional state may be significant to long-term sobriety.

Factors That Influence Success In Addiction Recovery

Every individual’s recovery journey is different; however, there are genera l factors that may increase the success of addiction recovery.

Individual Approaches To Treatment

No single treatment program is effective for everyone with substance abuse issues. Treatment of other life problems associated with drinking or drug use often improves treatment outcomes.

Individual treatment options set by clinicians are necessarily based on the nature of the substance. Detox may be required for some substances and not needed for others.

Recovery from certain substances is facilitated through different methods, including medication, therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and other behavioral health interventions.

Therapy may be the best form of treatment for one substance, while a combined type of treatment, such as medication-assisted treatment (MAT), may be best for another.

The Appropriate Level Of Care

The ASAM criteria are the most comprehensive guidelines for the placement, transfer, or discharge of individuals living with addiction and comorbid mental health conditions.

ASAM criteria use six dimensions to create a holistic assessment of an individual to be used for treatment across all levels of care.

The dimensions include exploring an individual’s:

  • past and current experiences with substance use and withdrawal
  • health history and physical health needs
  • mental illness history and current mental health needs
  • readiness for and interest in change
  • unique needs that influence their risk of relapse
  • recovery or living situation, people and places that can support or hinder recovery efforts

These factors determine the appropriate level of care for an individual.

The levels of care include prevention/early intervention, outpatient treatment, intensive outpatient programs/partial hospitalization, residential treatment, inpatient treatment, and intensive inpatient treatment.

Access To Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Studies have found that mental health disorders and substance use disorders are often co-occurring. 27% of those with a substance use disorder have at least one mental health disorder.

Having a co-occurring condition can complicate recovery, and treating both conditions is more effective than treating each condition separately.

There is a wealth of research by medical professionals that links mental health conditions, such as depression, to substance misuse.

Those who have access to dual diagnosis treatment through rehab centers are often treated for the root causes of substance abuse issues rather than substance abuse alone.

Generally, the longer someone stays in dual-diagnosis treatment, the more likely they are to maintain recovery from substance abuse and have reduced mental health symptoms.

Integrated Treatment Modalities

Integrated treatment is an evidence-based approach that uses a collection of behavioral therapies and other treatment modalities to create a comprehensive approach to healing

Integrated treatment has been associated with positive outcomes, including:

  • reduced substance use
  • improvement of psychiatric symptoms
  • decreased hospitalizations
  • increase in housing stability
  • fewer arrests

In general, integrated treatment results in broader coverage of common issues that underlie substance abuse, providing a better chance of long-term recovery.

Social Support And Aftercare

Research has shown that individuals in recovery who have stronger social support systems stay in treatment longer and experience better recovery outcomes with a decreased risk of relapse.

Having even one person who is supportive of an individual’s continued drug use can have a
more substantial influence on recovery than having one person supporting the individual’s abstinence from drugs or alcohol.

More significant social support from 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), and other support groups has been associated with reduced substance use, a greater readiness to change, and a substance use goal of total abstinence.

Research On Drug Rehab Success Rates

Relapse rates for alcohol and drug addiction treatment are between 40 and 60% while in recovery.

However, relapse is not an indication of failed treatment. In most instances, relapse is a part of the recovery process.

There are significant variations in the rate of effective treatment. The length of treatment is often essential to the outcome. Long-term treatment often has lower relapse rates than short-term treatment.

In general, most individuals who receive and remain in treatment stop drug and alcohol use, reduce criminal activity, and improve social and psychological functions.

Realistic Expectations For Addiction Treatment

During the beginning of addiction treatment, it is important to remember that early recovery is often a roller coaster of emotions.

This is why managing expectations is essential for those entering a rehab program.

Participants should expect that there will be good and bad days. It may take a while to find a new normal, and it is okay not to feel okay.

Setting realistic expectations can help you track your recovery progress and stay motivated toward a healthier lifestyle.

Follow-up with your healthcare provider regularly during treatment to continue managing your expectations throughout recovery.

Ask About Addiction Recovery Success At Bedrock

If you or a loved one are seeking drug or alcohol addiction treatment, we can help.

Contact our team at Bedrock Recovery Center to learn more about our rehabilitation success rates and how we can help you create an individualized substance abuse treatment plan.

  1. American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM)
  2. Narconon
  3. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
  4. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
  5. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
  6. National Library of Medicine: Bookshelf
  7. National Library of Medicine: Bookshelf
  8. National Library of Medicine: PubMed
  9. National Library of Medicine: PubMed
  10. National Library of Medicine: PubMed
  11. National Library of Medicine: PubMed
  12. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

Published on: December 12, 2023

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

Prefer Texting?
We've got you covered.

Receive 24/7 text support right away.
There is no obligation and you can opt out at any time.

Sign up for text support

Receive 24/7 text support right away.
There is no obligation and you can opt out at any time.
Ready to make a change? Talk to a specialist now.
(617) 657-2877
icon-angle icon-bars icon-times