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What Do Most Successful Rehab Programs Have in Common?

Therapist explains what most successful rehab programs do and why

Drug rehab success rates statistics are hard to find because success is difficult to measure. It is hard for rehab centers to keep track of how many clients have stayed sober after treatment. The number of clients who complete treatment, on the other hand, is easier to measure. For publicly funded treatment centers, the completion rate is around 65%. So, if you want to find the very best treatment program, make sure that the completion rate is at or above 65%. After all, completing treatment is a crucial part of getting sober and preventing relapse.

Moreover, even when someone relapses after treatment, it doesn’t mean the treatment wasn’t successful. There are many other factors involved.

All this makes measuring treatment success challenging. However, there are a few common features of the most successful rehab programs. Here’s what to look for and why.

Personalized and Continually Updated Treatment Plans

The most successful rehab programs will treat you as an individual with unique needs. Addiction is a complicated disease, and there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all treatment or cure. The most successful treatment centers come up with individualized plans for each client. They take into account a patient’s unique problems and individual circumstances (such as age, gender, ethnicity and overall health).

Moreover, personalized plans are updated as things change. They should never be static, but always changing to meet the needs of the addict in treatment.

A Variety of Therapy Methods

Therapy is what happens at rehab most of the time. It is the heart of treatment for drug addiction because it is not just a physical illness. Addiction involves the mind and behaviors, as well as neurological and physical symptoms.

The most successful addiction treatment will give you a variety of therapy options. They may include group therapy, individual therapy or alternatives like art therapy or music therapy. You can benefit from different types of psychotherapy, and the best facilities will give you multiple options to try.

Quality Mental Health Care

Addiction and other mental illnesses co-occur often. It is not unusual for someone in rehab to also struggle with anxiety, depression, trauma and other mental health disorders. This is called a dual diagnosis. The most successful addiction treatment facilities provide care for all co-occurring mental health conditions. These treatment centers screen all incoming patients for psychological issues and treat everything at once.

The most successful rehab programs also ensure that you receive regular, one-on-one counseling. This allows you to talk about the issues underlying your addiction in great depth. A therapist will also assist you in developing coping skills. This will allow you to deal with emotional pain and stress without drugs and alcohol.

Behavioral therapies (including individual counseling and family/group therapy) are the most common substance abuse treatments. This is because they provide the highest success rates.

Support Groups

The most successful rehab programs include support groups, such as SMART Recovery or 12 Step groups. Opening up about your mental health issues and addiction to others going through a similar battle makes you feel less alone.

Isolation and shame are common problems for addicted individuals. But support groups help to tackle those feelings. They offer a chance for you to listen to others you can relate to and connect with, as well as speak about your own struggles without judgment. Other participants in a support group will offer you support. And you can offer support back.

It is usually other addicts in recovery who can offer each other the best motivation to maintain sobriety. In a support group, you can see the progress that others have made and how much it has improved their lives. This can give you inspiration for staying sober yourself. A variety of studies have shown that support groups help recovering addicts in the following areas:

  • Quitting substance use
  • Staying involved in treatment programs
  • Dealing with physical health issues associated with drug abuse, such as HIV
  • Reducing cravings

Reliance on Evidence-Based Treatments

Any successful treatment program will be evidence-based. This means that studies back up the effectiveness of the therapies and treatments in the program. To put it simply, evidence-based treatment means the treatment has helped lots of other addicted individuals like you. Nobody is guessing about the effectiveness. It’s well-documented. While everyone is different, when it’s worked for many individuals in the past, it’s more likely to work for you.

Evidence-based treatment will give you the best chances of recovery and long-term sobriety. Evidence-based treatment options include:

  • Medical detox. Getting through detox with medical assistance makes it more likely you’ll make it to the next stage of recovery
  • Counseling and therapy (e.g. cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing and family therapy). Therapy can help you develop healthy coping mechanisms. Therapy also addresses the root causes of your addiction, so you don’t keep going back to it. Family therapy will also help loved ones understand their own role in your addiction and recovery
  • Specific medications for withdrawal symptoms, relapse prevention and co-occurring disorders
  • Long-term aftercare plans and follow-up to prevent relapse
  • Specific lifestyle changes (e.g. engaging in regular exercise and maintaining a nutritious, balanced diet)

Focus on Holistic, Healthy Living

A heavy focus on teaching holistic, healthy habits is always part of the most successful rehab programs. This can involve the following treatment options:

  • Cooking
  • Nutrition education
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Exercise
  • Sport
  • Teaching mental hygiene

There is a wealth of evidence supporting the crucial role of healthy living in recovery.

For example, scientists have shown that aerobic exercise is a neurogenic activity. This means it helps the brain to repair and grow new brain cells. This is important for recovering addicts who may have suffered brain changes as a result of their addiction. Exercise can result in more positive moods and reduced anxiety. That lessens the temptation to self-medicate a low mood and anxiety with alcohol or drugs.

This same point applies to the ability of certain foods to either improve or worsen one’s mental health. And in terms of alternative therapies like meditation, many studies show that mindfulness techniques reduce substance abuse and cravings.

When a drug rehab program encourages you to look after the health of your mind and body, you stand a much greater chance of recovery.

Treatment Is Long Term

The most successful treatment programs aren’t short. A couple of weeks in rehab is not enough for anyone to get better. Research has found that a minimum of three months is necessary for addiction treatment. If a facility tries to tell you that they can treat you in a month or less, you are being lied to.

Your individualized treatment should also continue after rehab. That means the most successful rehab centers will guide you through your aftercare options. They will provide you with choices and referrals for aftercare therapists, support groups and other strategies.

Successful Recovery Depends on You

Ultimately, your success in rehab depends also on what you bring to the table. A rehab center can include all the best evidence-based treatment. However, if you aren’t determined to get sober, then your treatment program can only achieve so much.

Work on staying optimistic and hopeful during your addiction treatment. You need to know you can achieve and maintain sobriety. Everyone has the ability to kick their addictive patterns of behavior for good. Then focus on recovery—make it your priority right now.

The Most Successful Rehab Programs Come in Different Shapes

So where do you find the most successful rehab programs? They could be in metropolitan centers, in wilderness experiences or in small towns. The best program for you might be just down the street or halfway across the country. It might be free, or it may involve a significant financial investment.

Luxury drug rehab centers do not necessarily offer the most successful rehab programs. Your own commitment, plus the staff’s commitment to the highest treatment standards, are of the greatest importance to your success. If you can find a facility that adheres to these principles, you have a better shot at getting well and getting sober. Take the time to research your rehab options and then commit all the way.

Posted on July 22, 2019

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