Or for immediate assistance, call us at:
Mothers and fathers, husbands and wives seeking help for their addicted family members ask this question every day. Why did the programs they previously attended not work; why is the addict back out there doing the same things, or worse?
The answer is actually a question: What type of treatment program did they attend and for how long?
These are the two main places where rehabilitation can fail. Either the treatment wasn't the proper type for that individual, or they just didn't stay in rehab for the right amount of time.
Let's take this one first. Drug addiction is never an overnight thing. It doesn't just show up after a week of partying. Drug addiction takes time to build. Habits become habits through often repeated actions, usually over the course of years, with many incidents and warning signs along the way. Usually there are years of drug or alcohol abuse which culminate into an addiction that is strong enough to take control of the addict's willpower.
When first using drugs, the body rejects them. It wants to maintain a natural state. But drugs or alcohol will upset that state and they begin to create a new, unnatural condition. After the substance wears off, the user's system works overtime to restore balance, to regain its true, natural chemical condition. But with repeated use, there isn't enough time between uses for the natural condition to be achieved and addiction has started. Eventually, the new, altered condition becomes the norm and now the body will fight to maintain that new, unnatural chemical state.
Many rehabilitation programs offer 28 or 30 day stays. But the person has been on drugs or drinking heavily for decades. It is folly to believe that years of drug abuse or alcohol abuse can be overcome in 28 days. Five, weeks, six weeks are not even enough.
When abusing drugs or alcohol, the chemical balance of an addict's body and especially their nervous system is thrown way off. This is one reason why withdrawal can be so hair-raising for anyone quitting a long term (two years or more) addiction. T takes weeks for just the initial shock of this sudden change to wear off. Then, the chemistry must re-center itself, or rebalance. This, without the help of a skilled program that understands and addresses this facet of recovery, can take months.
The specific treatment needs of an addicted person can vary. But it's difficult to know exactly which types of care will be successful for any one individual. So it's best to cover all the bases and send your loved one to a program that deals with the physical and mental and the emotional aspects of addiction totally.
To completely cleanse the body of toxins built up from years of drug and alcohol abuse will be needed by every addicted person. Don't believe that a three day "detox program" in which they stay medicated until the initial withdrawal symptoms become bearable is in any way an actual detoxification process. Detox means to detoxify, to remove toxins, not to add more poisons to the mix!
Find a center where the detox is really cleaning the person's body of poisons, ridding them of chemicals which can actually trigger future cravings.
This will go a tremendous way toward avoiding relapse.
Then the skills needed to face life confidently and with self-respect and self-assurance must be learned, practiced and mastered in order to go forward after treatment rather than repeating patterns of the past.
Skills that you and I may take for granted are missing in most addicted individuals. Until they learn what the consequences of their actions can be to others and to themselves, and learn the vital importance of honesty and integrity, drug relapse and everything that it brings will be just around the next corner.
About 70% of persons leaving rehab relapse during the first year of recovery. After five years the rate is still at 20%. So choosing a treatment center which actually gets down into the heart of the addiction is essential.