What Makes Alcohol and Drug Rehab Successful? 6 Hallmarks of an Effective Rehab Program

Rehab centers and treatment programs come in all sorts of flavors topped with a varying range of effectiveness. If you’re searching for a treatment center, you probably feel overwhelmed with the thousands of treatment approaches and millions of rehabilitation centers for drug or alcohol addiction.

How can you tell whether a treatment facility is effective—or will be effective—for you or your loved one? What makes a drug rehab program successful?

Studies show that quality treatment regimens all share several things in common. Below are 6 components of a successful treatment approach.

1. Individualized treatment plan

“No single treatment is appropriate for everyone” a foundational principle of effective treatment. Quality rehabs will customize a therapy program to best fit your individual needs. A comprehensive assessment, specialized detox, and one-on-one private counseling provide sensitive, targeted care. Learn about Duffy’s individualized treatment plan.

2. Assessment of co-occurring disorders

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, about 37% of individuals with alcoholism and 53% of individuals with drug addictions have at least one serious mental illness. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) estimates that 8.9 million adults have both a mental and substance use disorder. Oftentimes, the mental illness and substance abuse feed off each other with one directly linked to the other. (For example, drinking may be a way to self-medicate for depression, and depression stimulates the individual to keep drinking.) Because one will not disappear without the other, both issues must be addressed during rehab.

3. Isolation

A healthy, positive, and supportive environment is one of the major advantages of inpatient residential rehab. A residential rehab isolates you from the distractions and temptations of life, and allows you to focus entirely on building your recovery. This escape from the outside world is critical for undisturbed progress. Learn how residential treatment is designed at Duffy’s to help you improve your life.

4. Strong aftercare program and support groups

A strong support system is the cornerstone of lasting sobriety. After all, rehab is ultimately preparing you for life after rehab. Aftercare programs and follow up care prepares you for moments that will shake your new found sobriety. Regular support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, can help you to confront triggers and deal with daily battles, keeps you accountable for your actions, and encourages you to grow in the freedom of recovery. Learn about Duffy’s aftercare program.

5. Length of stay

Remaining in treatment for an adequate period of time is critical. A 90-day treatment stay is currently the gold standard of treatment. For decades, research has proven that people who attend a longer treatment plan has a lower rate of relapse. A 1999 study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry found that

  • 35% of those in treatment for less than 90 days reported drug use the following year, versus
  • 17% of people who were in treatment 90 days or over reported relapse in the following year

Recovery takes time. A longer treatment stay offers more time to master the skills of recovery, a higher chance of getting hired, and more time to help you develop a new habit. Research also shows that it takes approximately 90 days for the brain to reset itself and shake off the immediate effects of a drug or alcohol addiction.

6. Personal responsibility

Ultimately, the success of any drug or alcohol rehab program comes down to you. Programs are just programs. No matter how nationally certified or statistically successful, programs do not create lasting recovery on their own. The people at treatment are there to help you, but you must accept the help, embrace it, and use it. Rehab alone does not “cure” anything; you must take ownership of your recovery.

How do I know if rehab will even work?

If you’re searching for a treatment center for yourself or a loved one, you’ve probably realized that rehab centers don’t have very stunning success rates. In fact, seven out of ten people who complete a treatment program of 90 days or fewer relapse within one year. Perhaps you have experienced this personally, making you disappointed, angry, and reluctant to enter another rehab ever again.

Don’t lose hope. Treatment works—even if it doesn’t work perfectly. For every one dollar invested in treatment, seven is saved in recovery. Everyone has the potential to recover. Sometimes it just takes multiple times. And sobriety will get easier with time. Studies show that after 4 years of sustained recovery, the risk of relapse drops to below 15%.

For over 40 years, our treatment center in northern California has been helping people find success—whether it is someone’s first or fifth time. Visit our guestbook page to read inspiring stories of individuals who found lasting recovery despite the obstacles.

Call us if you have questions. We’re always happy to help.