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New Study Proves Huge Difference in Success Rates of Short- and Long-Term Alcohol and Drug Rehab

It’s tempting to send someone to a detox program that lasts a few days or a short-term residential drug rehab program. It’s usually less expensive, and is more convenient in other ways than a long-term residential rehab. However, the chances of the person staying off drugs without a long-term program are pretty slim. Experts know this, but new research from the University of Southern California has verified it once again. Look at the numbers, and decide whether you want to waste your time and money with a short-term program.

According to the University of Southern California study, which appeared in the journal Scientific Research, 54.7 percent of addicts who complete a 30-day rehab program AND do a 12-month follow up program after that are still sober a year later.

However, if the addict did a program of more than 30 days, and still did the 12-month follow up program, 82.2 percent are still sober a year later.

The researchers only continued to follow the addicts to see whether they were clean or not for 12 months.

However, 12 months isn’t a long enough period of time to be sober for a person to considered to be rehabilitated.  After one year the risk of relapse goes down, and after two years it goes down a little further, but many experts consider the really significant risk decrease after five years. Some people even relapse decades later.

But the statistics of 54.7 percent and 82.2 percent still sober after one year still indicates that many more people will not relapse if they do a long-term program.

Why is Relapse So Common?

One of the biggest reasons for relapse is that the person doesn’t have enough support. They may still be in the same environment – either with people who drink a lot or drive them to drink. Or they might have friends who are enablers. If a friend comes to their house and brings alcohol with them, that friend is working towards the person relapsing. Just like when you try to quit smoking or eating the wrong food, it’s difficult to do when you have people around you are smoking, eating junk food, and so on. It’s not easy to not drink when the alcohol is there available. And, in that case of that friend, they might even bring alcohol to them when they know the person has already been drinking.

But long-term residential programs usually make sure the person is really prepared for that.  A good program does many things to prevent relapse that there just isn’t time to do in a short period of time.

  1. The program helps them figure out why they’re drinking so much and helps them figure out how to address those problems in life.
  2. It also makes sure they get the skills they need in life to make their life better.
  3. A workout is done on how to change the person’s environment so when they leave the program they’re not going home to drinkers, people who take drugs, situations that have caused them to drink in the past, and friends who have been part of their drinking life and continue to enable them by bringing them alcohol, going out to lunch or dinner with them them to drink while out at lunch or dinner, even making sure that they stay sober so they can ferry the alcoholic – who can’t drive – from place to place.
  4. The person also might have to get a new job, so that has to be figured out as well.

The problems with someone relapsing are obvious. Their life is going to go in the dump again, one way or another.

But the most dangerous thing about it is that the person may never make it back into rehab. Every time they fail, they feel a little bit more like a failure and less willing to even continue trying. For an alcoholic, that means a shorter life, and not a great one. For a drug addict it could mean death, any day.

Don’t risk it. Insurance will often cover some or all of a rehab program. If you need to find one that will do a good job, give us a call at 855-895-2090.

Just go for the long-term program in the first place.

Posted in: Drug Rehab

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