The main aim of drug rehabilitation is to help individuals suffering from substance abuse problems stop using the drug they are taking. The treatment then progresses into helping the recovering patients remain sober by taking the necessary steps to avoid a relapse. How then can we measure the efficacy of drug rehab in attaining these goals? The answer depends on how this efficiency is measured.
An effective drug rehabilitation program must do more to stop a recovering individual from using drugs and maintaining sobriety. It needs to have the following supplementary targets for the individual:
- To help them positively engage in society
- To commit fully within the workplace
- To become productive members of their families
An individual receiving proper treatment for a substance abuse disorder should also display some of the following characteristics:
- A reduction in frequency and amount of substance use with more extended periods between relapses
- Improved educational or employment status
- Improved personal safety (fewer injuries or accidents)
- Better mental health (improvement in behaviors, personality traits, and mood)
- Improvement in their legal status(committing fewer crimes or following through with probation)
- Better physical health (fewer medical visits)
- Improvement in personal relationships with loved ones
So for you to measure the effectiveness of drug rehabilitation, you also have to measure other factors aside from abstinence. The person’s improved functioning ability within the community, at home, and at work must also be reviewed. The efficiency of a drug treatment program can also be determined by observing its ability to decrease recovering individuals’ criminal behaviors because substance abuse and illegal activity are often correlated. Based on research tracking patients in drug rehabilitation treatment over long durations, most individuals who stay in the programs stop using addictive substances. They also improve their psychological, social, and occupational functioning while reducing criminal activity. Methadone treatment, for example, has proved effective in reducing both criminal behavior and drug use while increasing the recovering patient’s engagement in behavioral therapy.
Even though efficacy rates for drug rehab programs may differ, studies show that treatment programs for substance abuse disorders are efficient and recovery is achievable. Rehabilitation has also been proven to enhance social functioning and health while reducing substance use. In addition, drug rehabilitation can also significantly reduce violence between intimate partners and DUI arrests. It should be noted that results from individual treatments may also differ based on several factors such as:
- How much the person is involved actively in the rehabilitation process
- The problems presented by the individual
- How well the rehabilitation program deals with the individual’s issues
- How the patient interacts with the treatment providers
Research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) indicates that substance abuse relapse is frequent at 40 to 60%. This may seem like a weak success rate, but it is similar to treatments for chronic illnesses like asthma and hypertension. Sadly, most people usually consider rehabilitation to have failed when relapse occurs, which is not the case. Successful rehabilitation treatment for substance abuse calls for continuous modification and evaluation as needed, as is the case for other chronic illnesses. For persons suffering from substance addiction, relapses do not mean the treatment has failed. They indicate that the approach needs to be modified, reintroduced, or an alternative treatment provided.
This shows that drug rehab programs are just as efficient as most health programs that help patients handle other health conditions.
Addiction is a chronic illness even though it is clinically referred to as a substance use disorder. Meaning, like other chronic diseases, it does not have a cure but can be treated. Addiction affects the individual’s brain instead of their physical processes, so it is hard to measure any improvements. Mostly addiction treatment monitoring is asking the patient what they are thinking about and how they feel. There are also no comprehensive criteria to determine the effectiveness of drug rehabilitation as different rehabilitation programs have their measures of success. Some patients, for example, might stop abusing addictive substances but will continue presenting negative thought patterns and behaviors even after treatment. This is why it is good to find a reliable and trustworthy facility that treats all aspects of the person and not just the addiction.
Improving the Success Rate of Drug Rehabilitation
An efficient treatment for substance abuse calls for a multi-faceted approach that treats the individual’s mind, body, and spirit, transitioning from an increased level of care to less extreme measures. The success of the drug rehab program is also based on the duration of the treatment; a more prolonged stay offers better results than treatments lasting less than 90 days. A successful drug rehab program should have the following crucial elements.
Full Continuum of Care
Patients will go through several phases of the treatment, beginning with medical detox and conclude with lasting aftercare. Research indicates that when recovering patients undergo all these stages of addiction treatment with continued care, it helps them maintain positive results and lasting sobriety. Continuous care also has better results with extended treatment. The usual course of treatment for drug rehab can include medical detox, inpatient/residential treatment, outpatient treatment, and aftercare. For people suffering from co-occurring disorders such as depression, in addition to addiction, a dual diagnosis is vital. Such conditions may cause individuals to self-medicate with addictive substances, while substance abuse can also result in mental health problems. Hence, the need to treat both disorders for better recovery.
This characterizes well-researched treatment that is proven to be effective in recovery from addiction. The primary kinds of treatment include:
- Recreational therapy
- Contingency management
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
A drug rehab program should have a well-rounded staff that includes specialists like recovery mentors, fitness trainers, dieticians, therapists, psychiatrists, nurses, and physicians. A facility without such professionals might not be able to offer a comprehensive range of treatment. It is also essential for a drug rehab facility to have a proper staff-to-patient ratio to get equal time and attention.
Even though it is hard to get the statistics on drug rehab success rates, most research indicates that some measures work best for various addictions. However, the success rates for drug rehabilitation will depend on the individual’s circumstances, the kinds of treatments used, and the substance used.