Does Rehab Work?

Published by Raffa Bari | Last updated: 22nd February 2023 | All Sources


Clinically Reviewed by Dr. Olalekan Otulana (Advanced Practitioner)

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All information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.
Last Reviewed: 23rd September 2022

Does Rehab Work?Alcohol and drug addiction is a serious issue that affects millions of people around the world. While there is no easy cure for addiction, many treatment options are available to help people overcome their substance abuse problems. One of the most popular treatment options is rehabilitation, but does Rehab work?

While rehab does not guarantee success, it can be an effective tool for helping many people to achieve sobriety. In addition, research has shown that people who complete a drug and alcohol rehab programme are less likely to relapse than those who do not receive treatment. As a result, rehab can be an important step on the road to recovery for many people struggling with addiction.

In order to understand how addiction treatments work, it helps to have a clear understanding of what addiction actually is.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) says: “Addiction is a treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences. People with addiction use substances or engage in behaviours that become compulsive and often continue despite harmful consequences.”

These characteristics help explain why addiction is so difficult to beat without expert help. The compulsive behaviours mean willpower alone is very rarely enough. All the various aspects of addiction – from physical dependency to behaviour patterns and psychological root causes need to be addressed.

Residential rehab programmes allow you to focus on your recovery and address all these aspects during a structured, holistic treatment programme. There is no guarantee, and there is no magic ‘cure’ for addiction. Rehab gives you the best chance of making a full and long-lasting recovery.


What Is Rehab?

In general terms, rehabilitation can be defined as the process of restoring someone to health or normal life through training, treatment and therapy after a debilitating period – which could involve addiction, imprisonment, illness or an accident.

When looking specifically at addiction rehab, it involves a range of different treatments, usually including a drug or alcohol detox, a series of therapies aimed at addressing the psychological aspects of addiction and often a range of well-being therapies and workshops in areas such as health and nutrition that can help you to rebuild your life and maintain a generally healthier lifestyle moving forward.

This can be delivered via an outpatient programme, but this approach has significant drawbacks. As you remain at home, you will be surrounded by all the stresses, triggers and temptations associated with your drinking or drug use. You will have to be organised and motivated enough to attend regular treatment sessions, and you may undergo the difficult detox process with limited supervision. The entire process also takes much longer as the treatment sessions are more spread out.

Residential rehab involves staying at the facility, meaning you are in a safe and calm environment away from those usual triggers. You will have access to round the clock care and support and will undergo a detox and therapeutic programme under the auspices of a team of experienced addiction recovery experts. This will provide you with the knowledge, tools and strategies you need to maintain your recovery, while relapse prevention and aftercare sessions can offer vital support in the weeks and months after you leave.


Understanding Rehab Success Rates

The success of other forms of rehabilitation can often be measured quite readily. With physical rehabilitation after an accident, for example, there may be key milestones to aim for such as regaining mobility. The successful rehabilitation of former prisoners may be linked to rates of reoffending but also other factors like whether they are able to secure employment on release.

The US National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in the US suggests that addiction is frequently treated differently to other illnesses in terms of rehab success rates. A single experience of relapse could see the entire process considered a failure, which is not necessarily the case. Many who relapse do go on to continue their recovery, but this does underline the fact that aftercare and further support may be required following addiction treatment and rehab. The Institute points out that relapse rates for addiction are similar to those for other chronic diseases including diabetes, hypertension, and asthma. Treatment for those illnesses may be deemed successful after the initial period however, with the chance of subsequent relapse not factoring into the equation.

An NHS report on the role of residential rehab within an integrated drug and alcohol treatment system deemed successful treatment to have occurred when an individual was “judged by a clinician to have overcome dependency on the substance for which the user is admitted to treatment, and no longer having a structured treatment need”.

The report noted that some residential rehab providers had success rates in excess of 60%. It’s also worth noting that rehabilitation centres were typically helping those with the most severe addiction, substance misuse and other associated problems compared to the service overall.

It said that people accessing residential rehab will usually have:

  • Failed in community treatment more than once
  • Longer and more entrenched drug and alcohol misusing careers
  • A range of problem substances
  • More significant housing problems
  • Poorer physical and psychological health


Committing to Rehab

A big part of the failure rate of any type of rehabilitation programme is due to people who drop out early without completing the programme.

Rehab is a big commitment and to get the most from it, you need to participate fully in the treatment sessions. This will often involve facing up to your history with drugs and alcohol, associated behaviours and underlying issues with an honesty you might not have brought to bear on it before. Also, it’s a bit of a cliché but you must really want to change. If you do, and are able to really commit to the programme, rehab has a much better chance of succeeding.


Contact Us Today

If you are sick and tired of being trapped in the vicious cycle of substance misuse and addiction, we can help you to break free and move forward into a more positive life free from drugs and alcohol. At Cassiobury Court we offer evidence-backed tailored treatment programmes starting with a full medical assessment and including medical detox, a tailored recovery action plan and a full year of free aftercare. Our facilities and services meet all Care Quality Commission (CQC) standards to support our reputation and we have a proud history of helping many people recover from addiction.

Get in touch today to find out how we can help you to break free from addiction.

Raffa Bari

Raffa Bari - Author Last updated: 22nd February 2023

CQC Registered Manager

Raffa manages the day to day caring services here at Cassiobury Court. Dedicated to the treatment and well being of our visitors she is an outstanding mental health coach registered with BAAT (British Association of Art Therapists). Raffa has outstanding experience in managing rehabs across the country and is vastly experienced at helping people recover from drug and alcohol addictions.

Dr. Olalekan Otulana (Advanced Practitioner)

Dr. Olalekan Otulana (Advanced Practitioner) - Medical Reviewer - Last Reviewed: 23rd September 2022

Dr. Olalekan Otulana MBChB, DRCOG, MRCGP, DFSRH, FRSPH, MBA (Cantab)

 Dr Otulana is a highly experienced GP and Addiction Physician. He has a specialist interest in Substance Misuse Management and he has a wide range of experience in the assessment, management (including detoxification) and residential rehabilitation of clients with various drug and substance addiction problems.  His main aim is to comprehensively assess patients with addiction problems and determine their treatment needs for medical detoxification treatments and psychological interventions. He is also experienced in managing patients who require dual drug and alcohol detoxification treatments.

A strong healthcare services professional with a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) degree from Cambridge University Judge Business School.