Does Drug Treatment Work?

Does drug treatment work? Learn how detoxes and rehabs help patients

Does drug treatment work? The answer is a resounding yes, but you have to realize that recovery from addiction is a process that may take some people longer to achieve than others. Addiction to drugs or alcohol is a chronic, relapsing disease that requires time for the recovery process to work. That is why some addicts will relapse after they have left the rehab facility. Relapse should be viewed as part of the progression toward sobriety for some individuals and should not be viewed as a failure.

Sometimes a person may take a step backwards before they finally take a step forward. They may find themselves asking “does drug treatment work”. If someone relapses they should immediately get back on course and keep working toward healing and remaining sober. As the recovering addict progresses in his healing he will be able to quickly readjust any fall-backs that occur, and eventually he will be able to remain sober.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey reported that close to 24 million people aged 12 or older required treatment for drug or alcohol abuse in 2009. Of these people only about 2.6 million actually received recovery treatment at a rehab facility. According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse the average success rate of drug rehabilitation is just as effective as treatment is for other chronic illnesses such as diabetes, etc. This success rate is measured by many outcome statistics such as:

  • A 40% to 60% reduction in drug use
  • A reduction in HIV infection
  • Arrests for criminal activity is reduced by 40%
  • Employment prospects increased by 40%

The goals of effective drug rehabilitation include getting the patient to stop using drugs and becoming a productive member of society. The effectiveness of treatment should be based on the rate of abstinence and how the patient is functioning at home, work and in society.

Other goals of rehabilitation include:

  • Improved education
  • Improved employment
  • Improved overall health
  • Improved legal status
  • Improved mental health
  • Improved family environment and social status

The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains that a patient’s recovery outcome will vary based upon what challenges he is facing and how well the treatment addresses those challenges. According to The National Office of Drug Control Policy’s Treatment Protocol Effectiveness Study, those who are receiving drug addiction treatment along with services that address the patients other problems have the best outcome results. By treating the patient holistically and addressing all his outstanding problems, the patient has a much better chance of staying off drugs and becoming a productive member of society.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that the alcohol rehab success rate is also very effective in treating alcohol use disorders. Significant treatment effectiveness is based on many factors including support group meetings such as Alcoholic Anonymous, medications, behavioral therapies, psychological counseling and other types of treatment and services. Special populations that face a higher risk of alcohol abuse or alcoholism include:

  • Youth under 21 years of age
  • Women
  • Senior citizens
  • Ethnic and racial minorities
  • College aged young adults
  • People with mental disorders
  • Drug abusers
  • People with HIV/AIDS
  • Other physical health issues

The alcohol rehab success rate is comparable to the drug rehab success rate in that both require the long-term commitment of the patient to complete the rehabilitation program and engage in the aftercare process. Rehabilitation programs should treat the patent holistically and address all their problems. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has outlined four phases of treatment for drug and alcohol abuse and addiction. The four phases are:

  1. Treatment Initiation
  2. Early Abstinence
  3. Maintaining Abstinence
  4. Advanced Recovery

If you need drug or alcohol rehabilitation treatment you should look for a treatment facility that offers a comprehensive treatment program based on the four phases outlined by The National Institute on Drug Abuse. That program, along with your long-term commitment, will help you overcome your addiction and begin to lead a new, rewarding life.









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