The journey to overcome substance abuse can be tough. Unfortunately, some treatment options often fail to bring lasting sobriety to many people.
If rehab doesn’t work for your loved one, it may feel like they’ve lost the battle. But it’s important to remember that relapse is not failure; it’s just one checkpoint in the long recovery journey.
Everyone can get back on track on the path toward recovery, even if the first round of rehabilitation was not successful. If you want to support and better understand your addicted or alcoholic loved one in rehab, keep reading.
Understanding Drug or Alcohol Addiction and Relapse
Millions of people around the world are affected by substance use, a severe issue. Despite their best efforts, people who struggle during abstinence often experience relapse.
But not everything’s over. You can help your loved one win the battle of recovery by understanding addiction.
Demystifying Drug Addiction
Alcohol or drug addiction is a complex brain disorder that involves various factors and cannot be overcome by willpower alone. Overcoming it is not only a matter of commitment in recovery. Other factors are part of this health problem, such as:
- Brain chemistry: Drugs can disrupt the way brain cells communicate with each other and process information.
- Compulsive behavior: Despite the damaging consequences, the affected individual feels an irresistible urge towards drug usage.
The Role of Relapse in Rehab
Going through recovery is not a straightforward journey. In the detox process, victories are often preceded by withdrawal symptoms and the risk of relapsing.
However, when we view relapse through a realistic lens, we can notice that:
- Normalcy, not defeat: Contrary to popular belief, relapse does not represent the collapse of recovery but rather an integral part of it.
- Learning opportunities: A setback can prompt reflection on recovery strategies needing modifications.
Triggers for Relapse During Recovery
During recovery, addiction and willpower try to outplay each other. At this moment of weakness, unexpected situations can arise and lead someone back to their old habits. Among the main reasons behind this, we find:
- External triggers: Certain locations or individuals connected with past drug use can cause intense recollections and cravings.
- Internal Triggers: Negative mental states, such as stress and anxiety, can fuel the desire to use substances as a quick relief.
Warning Signs that Drug Rehab Isn’t Working
When helping someone recover from drug abuse, it’s important to be aware of warning signs that suggest they need more help. These signs could be a sign that the drugs still have a hold on the person.
In these cases, alternative treatment programs or different strategies may be necessary.
Participating Less in Therapy or Addiction Treatment Activities
When people participate less in group therapy and counseling sessions, the path to recovery can become more complex. Next, you’ll find some signs:
- Loss of interest: If an addicted individual is no longer motivated in recovery, it may indicate that treatment is not working.
- Disengagement: When an individual feels disconnected or unable to focus during therapy sessions, it could mean that the approach is not appropriate.
Returning to Old, Unhealthy Habits
It’s important to know that the process of relapse can start even before drug use. It can be a sneaky thing that catches people off guard.
- Returning to negative attitudes: Negative emotions or attitudes that have seemed to disappear during treatment can suddenly return.
- Neglecting responsibilities: Going back to prioritizing drugs over personal duties strongly indicates an individual is not clean and sober.
GET: The 3 things that actually "allowed" me to help my son (and regain control again)
Resuming Connections with Past Influences
Changes in your loved one’s social circle can hinder their recovery, potentially leading them back into addiction.
- Reforging old ties: Be alert if past friends who were part of the drug use cycle reappear.
- Visiting Past Places: Regular visits to places associated with alcohol, marijuana, heroin, or other drugs suggest that the rehabilitation treatment may not be effective.
Wrong Rehab Program
Even with resilience in addiction recovery, it’s possible that the approach taken may not be correct, or the solutions provided may not be enough.
The following signs indicate possible hurdles in the recovery process, but it’s important not to jump to conclusions. Instead, seek an expert opinion when unsure about progress.
- Choosing the wrong approach: It’s possible that a one-size-fits-all approach was used, and the medical treatment was not holistic or tailored to individual needs.
- Lacking prevention strategies: Sometimes, aftercare planning needs to be improved or take into account co-occurring disorders.
What To Do if Rehab Is Not Working for a Loved One?
It can be very discouraging when someone you care about is not achieving sobriety. However, it’s important to remember that the journey to long-term recovery is unpredictable and full of ups and downs.
Let’s focus on what steps you can take to support them through this difficult time.
Maintain Healthy Boundaries
It’s essential to be supportive, but it’s also important to learn how to set boundaries. You can strike a balance between being there and preventing substance misuse by following these tips:
- Promote self-reliance: Encourage your loved one to take on responsibilities themselves rather than constantly shouldering them.
- Put mental health first: Make sure to prioritize your own well-being during a loved one’s addiction journey.
NEW: How to make the shift from "Mom Code" to prioritizing your own well-being
Encourage Open, Non-judgmental Communication
It’s essential to provide a safe space for your dear ones to share their difficulties and emotions.
- Offer a listening ear: Encourage them to express their emotions, uncertainties, and anxieties so they can handle stress better.
- Express empathy: It’s important to acknowledge the difficulty of someone’s journey without any judgment.
- Reinforce belief: Assure them that setbacks are not equivalent to failures, and emphasize their ability to overcome any hurdle.
Evaluate and Modify the Treatment Strategy
If someone you care about doesn’t make progress after rehab, then it’s time to evaluate their situation and create a blueprint to manage their addiction. It’s common for significant progress to follow a significant struggle, but the solution is within reach.
- Seek second opinions: It’s advisable to seek input from other addiction professionals, as your current counselor may have overlooked certain aspects.
- Trace the recovery path: Think about the treatment methods or sessions that worked well and those that didn’t. Look at what made them effective or not.
- Personalize the approach: Detoxification requires the right treatment. It must be tailored exclusively to an individual’s history, personality, needs, and goals.
Reinventing Paths Toward Addiction Recovery
Drug and alcohol treatment is a complex and nonlinear process, and relapse is a natural part of this journey. If someone you know is struggling with addiction after completing rehab, it’s crucial to seek further support and not lose hope.
It’s okay if rehab didn’t work the first time; it may not have been the right fit for your loved one’s needs. The most important thing is to find a good therapist or counselor who can guide them through the process, provide the necessary tools and support, and help them understand what triggers their addiction.
With the proper support and determination, your loved one can overcome addiction, achieve a successful recovery, and start living a more fulfilling life.
Frequently Asked Questions About What To Do When Rehab Doesn’t Work?
Why treatment doesn’t work?
Sometimes, treatment doesn’t work because it’s not tailored to fit each person’s unique needs and situation. When it comes to drug addiction treatment, a one-size-fits-all approach may not be effective for that reason. It’s crucial to adapt the treatment plan to meet the patient’s individual needs and circumstances to ensure successful treatment.
When does therapy go wrong?
Therapy can go wrong when the therapist and client don’t connect well, the therapist doesn’t have enough expertise to handle complex issues, or the techniques used aren’t effective for the individual’s situation. It’s vital to have good communication and trust during therapy sessions to get good results.
WATCH: Free, confidential workshop that explains how to "Love Another Way"
Is it possible to get better without therapy?
Yes, some individuals can get better without therapy. While some people can progress without treatment, it is not always the case. That’s why it’s important to seek help from trained specialists to manage the complex life challenges that can arise.
What is the success rate of therapy?
The success rate of therapy can vary depending on several factors, such as the type of addiction, level of personal commitment to recovery, availability of professional expertise, and appropriateness of therapeutic techniques. Despite these variables, research consistently shows that individuals who engage in therapy exhibit significant improvements compared to those who do not seek treatment.