There was an interesting study published in Dispelling the Myths about Addiction: Strategies to Increase Understanding and Strengthen Research, which discovered that the success of drug and alcohol rehabilitation is that same as the success rates of other serious health conditions.
Many people believe that addiction treatment is not very effective. A lot of patients relapse after they finish a program or drop out in the middle of one. According to this study, that situation isn’t exactly a unique characteristic of addiction.Researchers collected data on the success rates of rehab facilities and treatment for asthma, diabetes, and hypertension. For their purposes, they defined success in a drug rehab program to mean a 50 percent decline in drug use after 6 months. They discovered that the rates of effectiveness for alcohol were 40 percent to 70 percent, opiate drugs were 50 percent to 80 percent, and cocaine were 50 percent to 60 percent.
These are not terrible numbers because they show that many patients are getting help, but everyone can agree that it would be nice if they were higher. Many people say that addiction treatment is flawed because, in many cases, half of the patients are not successful in recovery.
However, for asthma and hypertension, 30 percent of patients did not keep up with taking their medication regularly. Less than half of diabetes patients took their medication correctly, and only a third followed the proper diet. Because of this, the majority of patients with all of these conditions had to be retreated within a year.
The obvious conclusion is that our methods for addiction treatment are not at fault for the high number of relapses. Drug and alcohol addiction is a disease just like the other three, and people tend not to make the lifestyle changes that are required for treatment, for whatever reasons. People do not blame the diabetes industry when someone fails to use their insulin properly, yet they are quick to point a finger at rehab.