Is drug addiction a treatable disease?

The answer is yes and no. Yes, because we can help people overcome their addictions to drugs. No, because the brain changes that occur during recovery from addiction are permanent. It is definitely possible to get past any possible to get to a point where withdrawals are no longer a factor. Still, it’s much like Pandora’s Box. Once you’ve been there, you have to consider yourself an addict forever.

What’s more, the brain changes that take place in recovering addicts may be just as hard-wired as those occurring in people who become addicted for the first time. Especially for addicts who started young, they never got the chance to develop healthy coping mechanisms. The initial impulse to use or drink to solve our problems gets easier to deal with over time, but it’s always there.

This means that if you want your life back after overcoming an addiction to drugs or alcohol, it will require a lot of work on your part. It also means that there is hope for anyone who wants to get better.

But before we talk about how to recover from addiction, let’s look at what causes addiction to begin with.

Addiction: What Causes Addiction?

Addiction is defined by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) as “a chronic relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive substance abuse and continued use despite harmful consequences.” This definition covers both physical and psychological dependence. Physical dependence occurs when the body becomes accustomed to a particular chemical compound, such as heroin. Psychological dependence happens when a person develops a strong emotional attachment to a substance, such as cocaine.

Both types of dependence can lead to addiction. In fact, many experts believe that all forms of addiction stem from this same underlying cause. That is, the brain has developed a way of dealing with stress through the release of certain chemicals called neurotransmitters. When these chemicals are released in excess, they can produce feelings of pleasure. Drugs alter the brain chemistry so that it releases these chemicals in greater amounts than normal. As a result, the user experiences a feeling of euphoria and relaxation.

When the brain learns to associate these pleasurable sensations with the presence of drugs, it begins to crave them. Eventually, the brain learns to expect the pleasurable effects of the drug, even without taking it. This is why some people find themselves unable to stop using drugs once they start.

In addition to altering the brain chemistry, drugs also change the way the brain processes information. For example, some drugs increase dopamine levels in the brain, which makes us feel good. Other drugs decrease serotonin levels, which produces anxiety. Some drugs affect the brain’s ability to regulate emotions, while others make us lose control over ourselves.

In other words, drugs do not simply give us pleasure; they change the structure of the brain itself. And that’s why it’s important to understand the biological basis of addiction. If you know what caused the problem in the first place, then you can prevent it from happening again. Dr. Gabor Mate believes that addiction stems from trauma, especially childhood trauma, and feelings that were never allowed to be felt.

What percentage of people are successful in rehab?

This is a bit of a loaded question, because success is relative. Many people go to rehab to safely get through the withdrawals of their substance of choice, but then go back to the same old habits just without that substance. For someone who is on death’s door drinking too much or shooting heroin, this scenario could still be considered a win.

However, true success in rehab should really be measured by how well you were able to get to the root cause of what was causing the addiction in the first place. Otherwise the problem will likely manifest itself in different ways and equally bad habits.

What is the recovery rate for addiction?

According to NIDA, the national average for treatment completion rates for alcohol and drug addictions is about 50 percent. However, there is significant variation based on age, gender, ethnicity, and geography. For instance, young adults between the ages of 18-25 have higher rates of success than older adults. Also, men tend to complete rehab at lower rates than women.

One interesting trend is that the number of people dropping out of treatment has been steadily increasing over time. It’s possible that the stigma associated with being addicted has made it more difficult for people to seek help.

How long do most people stay in rehab?

How long you stay at rehab is dependent on a variety of factors, including the substance of choice, therapy requirements, and personal preference. That said, there are three main options for rehab. These include: Medical Detox, Inpatient Addiction Treatment, and Outpatient Addiction Treatment. Let’s dig into each one now.

Medical Detox usually lasts from two weeks up to 28 days. During this period, patients are monitored closely so that doctors can determine whether or not they need further medical intervention. This includes withdrawal reducing medication, nutritional supplements, and physical therapies.

Inpatient Rehab Centers offer an extended stay where patients receive intensive counseling and group therapy as part of their recovery plan. The length of stay varies depending on the facility, but many programs last anywhere from 30 days to 90 days. Many people choose to go into inpatient following detox, because detox is focused on getting you through the withdrawals. Inpatient rehab gives you the tools you need to never have to go through detox again!

Outpatient Rehab centers provide a less intense form of care. Patients typically attend weekly sessions, and may or may not participate in individualized counseling. Most outpatient programs last around six months, although some facilities offer longer stays. What’s great about outpatient is that you can live your life and work pretty much normally.

What percentage of users relapse after outpatient rehab? How long does it take them to recover?

Outpatient rehab gives you the chance to practice and integrate everything you learned in rehab. It’s usually in a group setting, which provides the opportunity to form social connections with other sober people. That said, most people who make it to 2 years of sobriety have the best chances of staying out of trouble, and even if they don’t, usually find their way back without too much consequence.

You hear a lot of people with several years of sobriety talking about how their life was so much better within a couple years of sobriety that they wouldn’t even think of going back. It’s all about sticking with it, improving yourself, and your life by extension, for long enough. Long term outpatient addiction programs help you do just that.

There are no real statistics of long term sobriety, since it’s stigmatized and not well reported. That said, if you can keep it together long enough, you’ll find yourself with too much to lose to keep using even if a relapse doesn’t occur.

What are the odds of staying sober after 7 day detox?

The odds of staying sober after a 7 day detox are very low in most cases. More treatment is almost always recommended. However, if you’re able to get into an inpatient program, you will be given more time to heal, and the likelihood of remaining clean increases significantly.

If you’ve been struggling with drug abuse, we encourage you to contact us today. Our team of experienced addiction specialists would love to discuss your situation. We want to help you achieve lasting sobriety, and improve your quality of life.

Is inpatient treatment more effective than outpatient?

Both inpatient and outpatient treatment are both great options to overcome your addiction. Inpatient is often preferable because it gets you away from the people and places keeping you stuck in your habit. Outpatient is oftentimes the only option for those unable to step away from work. However, doing them both is the best option. If you’re an employee, your company is actually required to give you medical leave upon request, by law. You don’t even need to tell them it’s because you’re taking the time to go to rehab, as medical conditions are completely confidential in this case. 

If you want to learn more, check out the Department of Labor’s page outlining the Family and Medical Leave Act.

What rehab has the highest success rate?

You have many options when it comes to choosing a rehab center for addiction and alcoholism. To maximize your chances of success, make sure that you do extensive research on the clinical staff of each facility.

Additionally, you’ll want to look for centers who are certified by The Joint Commission. A close second would be the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. Both have an intensive process that ensures any rehab they certify meets the highest standards for addiction treatment.

Beware if the place you’re looking at doesn’t have either of these. There is a reason that most insurance companies require one of the two in order to send their clients in. It’s because there are many rehab facilities with less savory practices that may just leave a bad taste in your mouth.

What is the real success rate of AA (Alcoholics Anonymous)?

While the idea of committing time regularly to a support system like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous may seem daunting, getting a sponsor, working the steps, and helping other recovering addicts and alcoholics is the most surefire way to avoid a relapse.

Many addicts have a tendency to isolate and bottle up all of their emotions early in sobriety. This, of course, is in no way healthy. Chances are, things are going to bubble up beyond the surface and something bad is going to happen.

Alcoholics Anonymous gives you accountability, something to lose (your days of sobriety), and purpose. Being a part of a community of people who are not only sober, but can relate when you’re in a bad place and need someone to talk to. “Normies”, as non-alcoholics are referred to, may lend an ear, but they cannot tell you what you need to hear because they can’t understand what you’re really going through.

What is the relapse rate for alcohol addiction?

The short answer is: it depends.

There are some studies that show that the relapse rate for alcohol abuse is around 50%. That means half of those who get clean will fall back into old habits.

However, others say that the relapse rate is much lower than that. For example, one study found that the relapse rate was about 20% after three months of recovery.

This is why it’s so important to stay committed to your program. If you feel yourself slipping, take action immediately. Don’t wait until you’ve relapsed before you start again.

What is the success rate of rehab for drug addiction?

It varies from person to person. Some people can stop using within a few weeks while others find themselves needing years to kick the habit. The success rate of rehab is dependent entirely on you and your willingness to stick with it.

What are the success rates of overcoming a heroin addiction?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the success rate of detoxing from heroin is between 70%-80%. However, this number drops dramatically once the patient enters rehab. That’s because the medication will start to be gradually reduced following detox.

Unfortunately, Heroin and Fentanyl have some of the longest periods of withdrawals that make overcoming the addiction harder. Known as “post acute withdrawals”, they can last more than 9 months. That’s why an extended rehab program is even more important in this situation.

In fact, according to NIDA, the average length of stay in a rehab facility for heroin addiction is 6.5 months. While this seems long, it’s actually quite reasonable given how difficult it is to overcome heroin addiction.

What is the relapse rate of methamphetamine addiction?

Methamphetamine has been called the “miracle drug” by many users. It’s cheap, easy to obtain, and provides a high that lasts longer than any other substance.

That said, there is also a dark side to meth use. Methamphetamine abuse leads to severe health problems including heart disease, stroke, liver damage, and cancer. In addition, it causes brain damage which can lead to memory loss, depression, anxiety, and paranoia.

As such, the relapse rate for meth addiction is extremely high. According to SAMHSA, the relapse rate among meth abusers is over 90%.

Reach Out Today

Here at Sea Change, we know what you’re going through. We’ve been through it too. We’re passionate about helping people overcome addiction. Even if you’re not sure about the right choice, we encourage you to reach out. We’re here for you. You’re not alone.