Five Reasons Rehabs May Fail

frustrated after relapse

A testimony from a man who completed the Narconon program talked about his experience in trying to recover from addiction. The man, who is mentioned as D.D., spent more than 10 years of his life as a drug addict, using heroin and prescription painkillers to satisfy his addiction. He repeatedly tried to quit using drugs, going to rehabs 8 different times, and every single time he did so he ended up relapsing. In this, he was not alone. Factually, more than half of all people who go to rehab centers throughout the nation later relapse, according to a study published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Fortunately, D.D. finally found Narconon. He was ready to give up on trying to get sober, but before losing his last shreds of hope he decided to look for something different. In his 8 previous attempts at recovery, D.D. had been using programs that followed the 12-step model, but this simply did not work for him, as is true for many of the majority of addicts who relapse after rehab.

Narconon is fundamentally different from the 12-step programs, just as it is different from the addiction-as-disease models of treatment. In fact, there are 5 major faults that many rehab programs suffer from, and each of these is a major contributor to the high overall rates of relapse after rehab:

1. Little or No Individual Treatment

The vast majority of drug rehab programs offer minimal or no personalized counseling or treatment. Instead, most patients are run through a brief period of detox, followed by a series of lectures, group therapy and 12-step programs, according to research conducted by author Anne M. Fletcher and published in her book, Inside Rehab: The Surprising Truth About Addiction Treatment and How to Get Help That Works.

2. Addicts Are Still Exposed to the Temptation to Use Drugs

Many people who attempt to get sober through 12-step programs are doing so in an out-patient setting. In other words, they are trying to do rehab while also going about their ordinary lives, holding down their jobs, dealing with everyday stress and being exposed to the temptation to get another fix. Even at in-patient treatment centers, there is sometimes the chance of drugs from being snuck in by friends, dealers or even unscrupulous employees. USA Today recently carried a report on this phenomenon, stating that it was a widespread problem in the field of addiction treatment.

3. Not Enough Detox

Depending on the specific drug, how long the person has been addicted, and similar factors such as these, it can take anywhere from a few days to a week or longer to get through the period of withdrawals at the beginning of rehab. Even when an addict has gotten over the symptom of withdrawal, however, he or she is still not fully detoxified. Many drugs are not water soluble, a fact which means that small amounts of the drug will tend to get lodged in the fatty tissues of the body. A person who completes a run-of-the-mill detox program has not gotten rid of these toxic accumulations and is liable to experience cravings or even flashbacks at times when physical or mental stress causes the drug residues to be released from the fat cells.

4. No Balanced Address to the Problem of Addiction

Drug addiction is not merely a physical problem. A person starts using drugs for a reason, and unless this reason is addressed, he or she is liable to return to drug use as a way to solve the stress, pressure, anxiety, and upsets that led him or her to drugs in the first place. Furthermore, it is necessary for a person to regain the self-confidence and self-esteem that are commonly lost during time spent as an addict. Without taking these issues into account, and offering effective life skills and counseling to address them, rehab has very little chance of success.

5. Using Drugs to Treat Drug Addiction

Many people swear by drug replacement therapy, and indeed there is a growing popularity of using medications to treat addiction. Is a drug addict truly rehabilitated, however, when he or she is no longer using one drug but is instead using another, even if the new drug comes from a doctor? Drug-based addiction rehabs often end up with the person simply being addicted to the substitute drug. Using drugs to treat addiction reinforces the addict’s idea that he or she needs drugs to get by and to function in life, and does not actually rehabilitate the person in the fullest sense of the word and to the degree that the patient deserves.

Narconon: Drug Rehab that Works

Fortunately, the Narconon program addresses all of these issues. It is a holistic approach to drug rehab and does not use substitute drugs as treatment for addiction. Narconon helps the person to fully detoxify, it teaches life skills and offers individual counseling to address the causes of addiction.


Sue Birkenshaw

Sue has worked in the addiction field with the Narconon network for three decades. She has developed and administered drug prevention programs worldwide and worked with numerous drug rehabilitation centers over the years. Sue is also a fine artist and painter, who enjoys traveling the world which continues to provide unlimited inspiration for her work. You can follow Sue on Twitter, or connect with her on LinkedIn.