To Rehab or Not to Rehab?
If you’re someone who can’t seem to go a week or longer on your own without acting out compulsively with illicit drugs, gambling or pornography, then checking into a 30, 60, or 90 day facility may be the first step you need to start your recovery.
But for others who are struggling with these compulsions an intensive stay at a rehab facility may not be necessary.
Here’s some information for you to consider.
- Rehab facilities often claim success rates as high as 90%. But according to independent research, success rates are often closer to 17%.
- This same research also shows that 62% of those people leaving a facility relapse within the first 24-48 hours of discharge.
- Peer-reviewed studies say 12-step programs are only 5% effective and most 12-step success stories are largely anecdotal in nature.
- For those who enter rehab centers as part of their recovery efforts, it takes an average of 6 rehab stays before treatment “sticks.”
- The average cost for a rehab stay is estimated to be around $15,000 to $23,000 before co-pays. “Boutique” rehab centers can cost over $100,000 for a 30-day stay.
What does all this mean?
Putting someone in residence where they are isolated from all their stresses and triggers, issues and temptations for 30 to 90 days is generally not that effective. Again, if you are someone who cannot maintain any sustained length of abstinence from your compulsive behavior, then a rehab center is probably your necessary first step regardless of this information.
However, being tucked away in a facility free of everyday struggles with hours filled with group sessions and continuous positivity and encouragement more often than not lulls the person challenged by a compulsive behavior into a false sense of security that they will be “cured” once their stay is over. In this relatively short amount of time, they likely haven’t identified or worked through the originating causes and issues for developing their compulsive behavior, nor acquired the coping skills necessary to build up sufficient strength and resilience to deal with them.
Once released, the person struggling with a compulsive behavior can become overwhelmed by all the stresses they were sheltered from while in rehab, and as the low success rates demonstrate, they relapse. Relapse is not due to the failure of the person working at their recovery as 12-step programs or many rehab facilities would suggest. Instead, relapse often indicates that a one-size-fits-all approach has been used in group sessions, and that sufficient effort has not been dedicated to work on the individual areas which have led to the compulsion or to explore the various stresses that trigger it.
This takes time and an individualized approach.
In fact, research demonstrates that the most important ingredient for maintaining long term abstinence from a compulsive behavior is the length of time a person is engaged in the therapeutic process, not the intensity of that process in the initial stages of recovery.
There are better ways of helping people handle the uncomfortable feelings that trigger their desire to use or act out, or to handle the stress-filled situations that precipitate those feelings than merely addressing the rationale for their decision-making in non-individualized group settings.
Please contact me so we can decide the best plan of action for you or your loved one.