A joint study conducted by Addiction Today, the National Addiction Centre and eATA revealed a few interesting facts about drug and alcohol rehab and the role that it plays in recovery. The aim was to make information about rehabilitation more accessible to addicts and alcoholics, so that they could make better informed decisions about seeking treatment.
This research resulted in a definitive list of 20 facts that everyone should know about seeking treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. Some of these facts are relatively obvious; others may catch readers by surprise. In either event, all are worth taking a moment to consider.
This is the first in a series of four installments. It covers the first five research facts that everyone should know about alcohol and drug rehabilitation:
1. Rehab Works
The most important thing that a person needs to know about drug and alcohol rehabilitation treatment is that it works. Clients who seek out rehab services have a significantly greater chance of overcoming their addiction. This in turn boosts their ability to perform in social situations, hold down a job and get on with life.
According to the study, rehab is roughly as effective as a range of other medical treatments. Results were compared with those for asthma, hypertension, diabetes and other chronic illnesses. However, it is worth mentioning that not all alcohol rehab treatments are equal. Certain programs were much more effective than others.
This is a straightforward and simple finding, but it is important information for anyone who is having trouble making up their mind about enrolling in rehab. Seeking help with an addiction is humbling, and knowing that the process will not be in vain is important. And considering the fact that barely more than 1 percent of addicts seek rehabilitation, alcohol rehab stands to do the world a great deal of good.
2. Easy Access to Rehab Prompts Higher Success Rates
It is important that drug and alcohol rehabilitation treatment is readily available to alcoholics. When seeking treatment is complicated or logistically difficult, addicts and alcoholics are much less likely to follow through with their initial intentions to clean up.
The same applies to timeliness of treatment. When an alcoholic undergoes an assessment and is recommended to enroll in rehab, it is important that they move in that direction as quickly as possible. The longer the delay, the less likely they are to end up in rehab. This is where concerned family members and friends can make a difference by providing motivation.
3. Rehabilitation Works Despite Low Motivation
For those who are convinced that an alcoholic has to want to get better in order for treatment to be effective, there is cause to reconsider. The study found that the client’s attitude going into treatment had little bearing on the program’s effectiveness. In short, a proven alcohol rehabilitation program works regardless of whether the client initially wants it to (or thinks that it will).
This is another vote of confidence for the role that concerned friends and family can serve in helping an alcoholic take a step in the right direction. Pressure from work, home or even the law can get a person into treatment, where motivation to change can be fostered and enhanced.
4. Relapse Does Not Mean Ultimate Failure
For recovering alcoholics who have experienced one or more episodes of relapse, there is hope for the next round of treatment. Someone who has submitted to one or more alcohol rehabilitation and continued to relapse could be forgiven for thinking that rehab is not going to help them. However, the evidence indicates otherwise.
Most recovering alcoholics relapse at some point. This is a fact that has to be acknowledged and moved on from. Research suggests that a string of unsuccessful treatments can suddenly come to an end. Apparently, even a period of rehab that finds a person returning to old habits may still be setting a person up for future success.
5. Controlled Drinking and All-Out Abstinence Both Have Their Place
Sometimes, an all-or-nothing attitude gets in the way of successful treatment. Certain programs may stress the importance of complete abstinence from drinking. While this is certainly advisable for most alcoholics, there are shades of gray that have to be acknowledged.
Some clients seeking rehab may be concerned about the path that their lives are taking. Their drinking habits may exhibit warning signs without becoming too severe. In this case, cutting back may be appropriate, and all-out abstinence unnecessary. Beyond this, those struggling with severealcoholism may be more receptive to cutting back their intake rather than altogether cutting it out. In this case, drinking less is better than no change at all.