Why Drug Addicts Need Rehab

Written by Chloe Nicosia

The Reasons Why Drug Addicts Need Rehab: Examining the Disease of Addiction, Treatment Statistics, and The Dangers

It has been established that addiction is not a condition caused by a poor moral compass or bad decisions but is rather a mental disorder that changes the way your brain works. This point is proven in the fact that two different people can abuse a substance over a period of time and only one may become hooked. Of course, there are barriers treatment: an estimated 10 percent of Americans have substance use disorder (the clinical term for drug addiction and abuse), but only roughly 25 percent find help in the form of rehab – according to the National Institutes of Health. Why drug addicts need rehab will be discussed in this article to better understand why the disease requires a professional touch.

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Addiction as a Mental Disorder

Since addiction is a mental disorder, it’s important to view it as such. The following looks at why drug addicts need rehab based on the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s findings.

Why Addicts Need Rehab from a Clinical Point of View

Due to the myth that addiction isn’t a mental disease, it can be difficult for some addicts to see the need for treatment. Similar to other mental disorders, one’s risk of developing an addiction is greatly increased if there is a history of the disease in the family.

To put it into perspective, we will look at another disease such as diabetes, which has similar relapse rates as addiction. A person with diagnosed diabetes wouldn’t think twice about getting professional help. It would be the logical solution to a disease that alters the way your brain and body operates. Medication and lifestyle changes would be an obvious solution to the problem in the long-term – a problem that doesn’t have a cure, only management options. Once one views addiction as a disease much like diabetes or another mental disorder, then treatment seems obvious if the person is unable to stop by themselves. It is, after all, a life-threatening disease that can have a significant negative effect on many areas of one’s life.

Characteristics of Addiction

Before we continue to look at why drug addicts need rehab, we will look at why treatment is often avoided.

One of the characteristics of addiction that often bars the road to recovery is the denial of the problem. The addict may falsely believe that they don’t have a problem like other people do with drugs or alcohol, and that they are in control of their substance abuse. This belief is often held onto due to an addict’s learned behavior: the use of a substance seems to solve all of their problems for a time, and when faced with difficult situations, they rely on drugs or alcohol to get them through it, making it seem vital to the addict.

Furthermore, another characteristic of addiction is that the negative effects of substance abuse, such as mental and physical problems, are ignored. Addicts tend to actively avoid treatment to their own detriment.

Why Addicts Relapse

The idea of addiction being similar to conditions such as diabetes also helps to answer why addicts relapse. If a diabetic were to cease with their treatment, it’s only natural that their symptoms will return. Similarly, if an addict were to stop with their relapse prevention plan and possible medications, then a return of their symptoms is likely. This is one of the reasons why addicts relapse: they believe that they no longer need to attend support group meetings or carry on with their relapse prevention plan.

Additionally, the disease is a chronic, relapsing one, which makes relapse a normal part of recovery.

Recovery Statistics for Drug Addiction

One of the ways to see why drug addicts need rehab is by looking at recovery statistics for drug addiction. One of the studies that highlights why addicts need rehab is the ‘Recovery from DSM-IV Alcohol Dependence: United States, 2001-2002’ analysis. The following recovery statistics for drug addiction were revealed:

  • Out of the 4,400 study participants, only 35.9% made a full recovery.
  • Only a quarter of the individuals had formal treatment at a rehab center.
  • Half of the people who completely abstained from substance abuse also had treatment at a rehab.

Looking at these treatment statistics, it is clear that if an addict has formal treatment for substance abuse, they are more likely to completely abstain from substance abuse and make a full recovery.

The Dangers

Without professional treatment, an addict opens themselves up to many dangers; either through attempting to stopping and failing or through a progression of the addiction and dependence.

Relapse Dangers

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, relapse is a normal part of recovery. In fact, many addicts relapse several times before finally managing their addiction effectively. Of course, relapse doesn’t mean that treatment is ineffective or has failed because addiction is a chronic relapsing disease that shares relapse rates with other treatable disease such as hypertension and asthma.

However, if a person were to try and stop their substance abuse by themselves, then there is often a higher risk of relapse. One of the characteristics of addiction, according to the DSM-5, is that an addict may attempt to stop several times but fail to. The risk comes in when they relapse: their lowered tolerance to the drug causes them to take too much and risk overdose. An overdose can result in permanent damage and even death.

Risks Involved with Not Going to Rehab

There are several short- and long-term dangers of not getting help for substance use disorder. As time goes by, the dangers that an addict becomes exposed to include:

  • Substance abuse is expensive. Due to many addicts losing their source of income and finding it difficult to sustain their habit, some resort to stealing and other illegal activities. This can result in imprisonment.
  • Risky use of substances is another concern. Addicts may drive or partake in other activities that are not conducive to substance abuse, placing their and other people’s lives at risk.
  • Damage to major organs such as the liver, heart, brain, and lungs due to substance abuse can be permanent and may even be life-threatening.
  • The risk of getting a disease such as hepatitis C or HIV/AIDS increases greatly in people who partake in certain drug abusing practices, such as sharing needles or unprotected sex.

There is no better time than now to get the help you or your loved one needs and deserves. Find a rehab center in your area by calling Better Addiction Care at 1-800-429-7690.

Sources:

https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/10-percent-us-adults-have-drug-use-disorder-some-point-their-lives

https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/news/20050119/13-fully-recover-from-alcoholism#1

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/treatment-recovery