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What Does Recent Research Say About Addiction, Relapse and Recovery?

What Does Recent Research Say About Addiction, Relapse and Recovery?

Drug and alcohol addiction is a very serious problem in the United States in general. In fact, every year, more and more people turn to substances as a way to cope with their problems, and it seems as though there are less people than ever who are reaching out for help for their addictions. 

Perhaps you’re someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol, or even both. You’re interested in knowing more about how getting professional help through a drug and alcohol rehab can assist you, but you’re not sure where to get that information. Sometimes it’s not enough for someone to assure you that rehab works. Sometimes you need to see the proof for yourself, and that’s where statistics come in. Statistically, drug and alcohol rehab have changed the lives of so many people all across the United States. The same can be true for you.

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Drug and Alcohol Addiction Statistics in the U.S.

Drug and alcohol addiction is a much bigger problem in the United States than most people realize. That’s because, even though most people use in social situations, or they have friends who use, addiction is still a very lonely state to be in. Once you realize you’ve become addicted, you feel as though you’re the only person struggling in that way. It also feels like no one is there to help you escape it.

If that describes how you feel, you’re definitely not alone. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that in 2009, over 23 million Americans who were aged 12 or older required treatment for some type of illegal drug or alcohol abuse issue. In percentages, this works out to be about 9.3% of all of the people in that age group in the country. Of those people, only about 2.6 million people actually got the appropriate level of treatment. That’s only 11.2% of those who needed it.

These statistics may surprise you, but there really are a lot of people in our country who need to get help for their addictions. Furthermore, statistics also tell us that:

  • About 23.1% of people who are admitted for treatment are addicted to alcohol
  • Close to 19% of people who are admitted for rehab are because of alcohol and addictions to one other drug
  • Marijuana addictions account for 17% of all treatment admissions
  • Just over 14% of treatment admissions are because of heroin
  • 1% of all treatment admissions are because of crack cocaine
  • Opiates (other than heroin) are responsible for close to 6% of all treatment admissions 

Another interesting fact about addiction is that it seems to be increasing in the United States. Additional research that was compiled in 2013 indicates that about 24.6 million Americans who were aged 12 and older had used an illegal drug at some point during the last month. Marijuana seems to be the drug that is most responsible for this increase. In fact, there were close to 20 million marijuana users during that year, which was a 5.8% increase from the statistics of 2007. Methamphetamine use was also higher in 2013, with more than 200,000 additional users than in 2010. 

Do you recognize your addiction amongst these statistics? Both drug and alcohol addictions are widespread problems in our country, and so many people feel that they have to take on the challenge of recovering on their own. So many people fail to be successful in their attempts, and so, they convince themselves that they’re destined to struggle for the rest of their lives. This could not be further from the truth. In fact, let’s talk about some of the statistics surrounding rehab success rates in our country so that you can see for yourself how much of a difference going to a professional drug and alcohol rehab can make.

Recent Addiction Research

Rehab Success Rates in the United States: Does Drug and Alcohol Rehab Really Help?

The goal of addiction treatment is to allow people to live productive lives without being dependent upon drugs or alcohol. That means returning to work, providing for their families, and becoming important parts of a health community. Research shows that when people are able to get the help they need, and when they follow a continual treatment plan for their addictions, they will:

  • Stop using drugs or alcohol long-term
  • Have a decrease in their criminal activities
  • Improve their occupational functioning substantially
  • Improve their relationships with friends and family members
  • Experience improvements in their psychological functioning

Rehab success rates lie somewhere between 40 and 60%, depending on the type of program that was utilized, whether or not it was an outpatient or an inpatient program, and whether or not continuing care was recommended and provided for each patient. Because there are so many factors that can be left unaddressed, it’s difficult to pin down an exact rehab success rate across the board. It’s important to note that without proper treatment, as many as 90% of those who attempt to stop using drugs or alcohol on their own are likely to relapse.

For those who are not successful in treatment, a number of factors come into play that may be the reason for this. They include:

  • Being unprepared for the challenges that were waiting for them when they returned home again.
  • Failing to receive the appropriate amount and type of aftercare once they were released from drug or alcohol rehab.
  • Living in disbelief that they will be able to overcome their addictions and continue on in recovery.
  • Entering treatment with the thought that it will appease friends and family members who insisted that there was a serious addiction that needed treatment.
  • Requiring treatment for a dual diagnosis, but failing to get the help that was necessary for this type of addiction.
  • Having unrealistic expectations about addiction treatment and what can happen once treatment begins.
  • Failing to receive a personalized treatment plan that addresses individual patient goals and needs.
  • Being ill prepared about potential addiction substitutes, such as working a lot or becoming addicted to exercise as a way to cope.
  • Spending time with people who use drugs or alcohol after treatment has come to an end.
  • Failing to make new friends who don’t drink or abuse drugs.
  • Taking on additional and new burdens during the earliest stages of recovery that make it impossible to cope with the new challenges.
  • Trading one addiction for another type of addiction. 

In short, for anyone to successfully recover from an addiction to drugs or alcohol, it takes a strong addiction treatment center where the methods have been proven to be effective. However, it also takes a strong commitment to continued sobriety on the part of the patient, and the introduction of the right tools to produce good results.

Detox Statistics: Are Drug and Alcohol Detox Worth the Time and Effort?

One of the words you may frequently hear surrounding drug and alcohol addiction is detox. Detoxing means that you’re opting for a process that involves removing the harmful toxins from your substances of choice from your body. There are different types of detox, including holistic detox and medical detox. Both can be effective, but holistic detox has shown to be better simply because of the fact that medical detox often involves exchanging one addiction for another because of the addictive properties of some of the medications that are used.

Still, for many people, going through drug and alcohol detox prior to rehab seems like an additional step that might not really be necessary. It’s difficult to pinpoint actually success rates for detox, because there are so many factors involved that may actually throw off the final statistics. However, it has been shown that drug and alcohol detox are very important parts of the recovery process.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that detoxification should never be utilized as a standalone treatment. On its own, it has not shown to be effective at curbing long-term drug or alcohol abuse, according to their research. However, when detox is combined with addiction treatment, long-term abstinence is much more likely to occur than without it. Their recommendation is for the appropriate type of drug or alcohol detox to take place, and then for long-term addiction treatment to follow for the best results.

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Statistics Regarding Addiction Relapse in the U.S.

You’re probably quite familiar with the idea that both drug and alcohol addiction are best referred to as diseases. In this way, it’s likened to other diseases, such as diabetes and asthma. Fortunately, addiction is treatable, but experts are often careful to indicate the fact that addiction cannot be cured. In this way it is a chronic disease, but it’s one that can be managed for the lifetime of the one who suffers from it.

The question is, what about relapse rates? Are these numbers something to be concerned about? The numbers are actually comparable with those who relapse because of other diseases. For example, Type I diabetics will often have a 30-50% relapse rate. Those who have been diagnosed with hypertension demonstrate a 50-70% relapse rate. The same relapse rate applies to people with asthma. For those who suffer from addiction, their relapse rate is generally between 40 and 60%. 

Because addiction is a chronic disease, relapsing back into drug or alcohol abuse is not just possible. For most people it is likely. Usually when this happens, people are quick to place the blame on the treatment that was received, instead of on the disease itself. Treatment doesn’t fail just because an individual relapses. The same is true for when treatment for other types of diseases fails. The blame should not be placed on the treatment for other diseases because this is just an indication that other types of treatment methods need to be explored and put into place. 

On the other hand, whenever treatment is discontinued, regardless of what type of disease is being discussed, relapse is almost 100% certain in these cases. In the event of a relapse, one or more things are true: 

  • Treatment needs to be reinstated to help the patient be successful
  • Treatment needs to be adjusted in order to aid in the success of recovery
  • Additional treatment methods should be considered
  • Additional support is needed in order for continued sobriety to occur
  • Alternate treatment methods should be considered for the individual

Exploring the Benefits of Addiction Treatment

In spite of all of these statistics, it’s possible that you’re still finding yourself rather curious about how drug and alcohol rehab is going to practically help you recover from your addiction. Many people wonder the same thing, and each component of your substance abuse treatment plays an important role.

Drug and Alcohol Detox – Not every type of addiction requires drug and alcohol detox as the first step in recovery, but many of them do. There are some drugs that require a tapering down of their usage upon admission into a drug rehab because stopping them abruptly can actually be dangerous, and end up causing you more harm than good. This is done as a part of the drug detox phase. The ultimate goal of detox is to remove toxins from the body, and with the right methods, this can be done relatively quickly. Also, detox can shorten the duration of the withdrawal phase. This is the phase that causes most people to give up on recovery and go back to using again. 

Inpatient Rehab – Most people find that inpatient rehab is the right place for them to start when they begin getting addiction treatment. This is because inpatient rehab provides them with the help and support they need around the clock, but it also has a lot of other benefits too. These include having access to a counselor on a regular basis, being able to have their medications adjusted appropriately, if this is deemed to be necessary, being removed from any instances of temptation that might arise at home, or with friends, and having the time to concentrate fully on recovery. 

Drug and Alcohol Counseling – Counseling from a qualified therapist is one of the most important components of addiction treatment, and it’s something that everyone who has an addiction should participate in. Drug and alcohol counseling allows therapists to get to know the individual in a one on one setting. Patients are often not aware of the issues that may have led to their addictions, and drug and alcohol counseling allows for these issues to be brought to light so that healing can occur. Unless the root cause of the addiction is identified, the chances of true recovery from addiction are very small. 

Group Therapy – Most patients are a bit wary of group therapy because it can feel odd to share your thoughts and feelings with a group of strangers. However, it isn’t long before those barriers start to disappear, and patients find themselves sharing freely with others who understand where they’re coming from. Group therapy is a form of peer counseling that has been proven to be effective for anyone who is recovering from an addiction. It is a vital part of the recovery process. 

Follow-Up Care – Unfortunately, the lack of adequate follow-up care is where many addiction treatment centers fall short. Recommending the right follow up is crucial for recovery when it comes to an addiction because it is truly a disease. It’s difficult to say how long an individual must participate in outpatient treatment following an inpatient stay, but many patients actually do so in a step-down method. They may begin with inpatient treatment, and then transition to intensive outpatient treatment, and then on to traditional outpatient care. Regardless of what method is chosen, continual care on an outpatient basis is so important.

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Where Can You Turn for Help with Your Addiction?

Maybe you’ve come to a point in your life where you feel as though you’ve hit rock bottom. Or, perhaps you’re not there yet, but you’ve only recently started to realize the role that addiction is beginning to play in your life. Either way, you’re not happy with the way that drugs or alcohol have taken over your life, and you know it’s time to make a change.

At Northpoint Recovery, we’ve been able to reach out and help so many people who were struggling in their addictions. Many of them felt as though all hope was lost for them, and getting professional addiction treatment was their one final chance at recovering from their addictions. The fact is that our success rates are much higher than other drug and alcohol rehabs, because we’re committed to providing only the best care for the patients who come to us for help with their addictions. If you would like to get more information about how Northpoint Recovery can help you overcome your addiction to drugs or alcohol, we would love to hear from you. Please contact us today.