Close this search box.
Close this search box.

What If Rehab Doesn’t Work?

Addiction is a chronic condition that has devastating effects on the addict, family, and loved ones. For many trying to find their way out of habit, rehab is their ticket to recovery. Unfortunately, healing doesn’t work for everyone on their first, second, and even tenth time. It can feel like a kick in the gut to relapse after being vulnerable enough to admit you need help, and even more important to be strong enough to go to rehab. 

We hear many addicts question themselves, “what if rehab doesn’t work?” Yes, it can be incredibly frustrating to feel like a failure, but we promise that it doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying. 

Figuring Out Why Rehab Doesn’t Work

Before blaming yourself for relapsing, take the time to analyze why your rehab decision didn’t work. There’s a lot that plays into having a successful rehab experience. 

Not Participating

Most people who enter rehab unwillingly are not ready to seek change. It’s more likely for them not to reap the full benefits of recovery. Overcoming addiction requires some level of participation, and if you’re not ready to embrace these changes, it might not work for you.

Not Enough Time

One of the most common reasons for a failed rehab experience is not spending enough time there. Whether you’re choosing an inpatient rehab program or an intensive outpatient program, the length of your stay is a critical factor for success.

Unfortunately, insurance companies made short-term 30-day rehab programs famous, as most policies will cover this form of treatment. However, research states that these programs have a higher percentage of relapse. In contrast, a 90-day plan can give people enough time to begin their healing process. These long-term rehabs give patients time to replace old habits with healthy new ones and ease them into a new way of life that can be quite stressful for anyone. 

Not The Right Program

Another common issue with failed rehab experiences is not picking the right program. Many addiction treatment centers use cookie-cutter plans that pretend everyone’s addiction is the same. However, we all know that addiction is a uniquely personal experience that affects people in different ways. Additionally, people respond differently to the various forms of therapy and counseling methods used in rehab. 

The best rehab programs are those who tailor their treatment plans to focus on the individual’s needs. They’re also ready to pivot and change strategies as someone makes progress or falls back on their recovery journey. An accredited rehab center will also tap into evidence-based therapies proven to help those with addiction and co-occurring disorders. 

Lack of Support

Not having a support system can’t make it more challenging to remain consistent with treatment. Some people might not see the importance of getting better if they lack the support of their family members and friends. It’s not rare to hear statements like “why am I doing this for?” in rehab. Patients need to know they’re working towards a greater goal, and counting on a robust support system can help with that.

Lack of Aftercare Support

There’s a misconception that cravings for drugs or alcohol only happen during detox. In reality, cravings can re-emerge even months or years after completing treatment. You hear stories of someone celebrating 15 or 20 years sober and suddenly relapsing. Aftercare support like relapse prevention classes, 12-step program support, group therapy, and occasional therapy can help people stay sober and avoid relapse.

The Statistics of Rehab Success

If we’re going to talk about what happens when rehab doesn’t work, we must understand what this means. There’s no standard definition of rehab, nor there’s one about failure after rehab. Many treatment centers based their success rates on:

  • Completion of the program
  • Sobriety rates immediately after treatment
  • Interviews
  • Internal studies

By looking at those parameters, it can be easy to tell that rehab success can be skewed. First of all, a survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that as many as 90 percent of people who most need drug rehab do not receive it. Yet, you still hear facilities that talk about a 90 percent success rate. What criteria they use to qualify a “successful treatment” remains to be seen.

Beyond that completion rates, rehab success should be determined by sobriety years among those who receive treatment. We also have to look at the rate most people drop out of treatment, why are they leaving treatment before time. Is there an aftercare support plan in place to help prevent relapse? These are the questions we ought to ask. 

Finding Rehab That Works

With hundreds of thousands of rehab centers to choose from, finding the right rehab program that works for you can be intimidating. While we know, you might be ready to pick the first center that comes your way. It’s essential to spend time doing some research. Remember, the likelihood of you getting better depends on it.

At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, we stay away from cookie-cutter programs and instead offer tailored programs that address your unique needs. We’ll never force or try to “sell” our help in the hopes of getting a new patient. To us, your well-being and sobriety are more critical. Here, you’re not another “client” or another number on our list, we believe everyone that crosses our path was meant to be with part of our family, and we care and treat everyone like family. 

If you or someone you know struggles with an addiction to alcohol or drugs, reach out today and learn more about our treatment programs. Consider scheduling a visit to tour our treatment facilities and ask as many questions as you want about our drug abuse rehab programs.

Scroll to Top