Many addicts and families of addicts want to find out about the success rates of recovery programs. This is natural, as most people want to feel a sense of hope when it comes to recovery. However, it is challenging to pinpoint the success rate of conquering addiction since there are no standard metrics to evaluate success.

Substance abuse disorders are largely treatable. Enrolling in an addiction treatment program gives those addicted to substances the best chance at treating and managing their addiction. Many individuals, about 90%, do not get the help they need because of financial limitations or an unwillingness to join a formal program. This can lead to an ongoing struggle with addiction or death.

Drug overdoses are responsible for 44,000 deaths a year in the U.S., and that number is growing. It is the number one cause of injury-related deaths. In addition, 114 people die per day, and hospitals admit 6,748 people for treatment because of drugs.

Addiction success rates have become very subjective as research has expanded. Boasts from rehab and recovery programs can often mislead based on which metric determines their success rates. For example, some rehabilitation facilities might only use recovery program completions as a metric. This metric is limiting as it does not factor in those participants who relapse once discharged from their program.

Other addiction treatment centers might consider sobriety for a specified time following rehab as their threshold for success. However, the time windows that they evaluate participants following recovery might vary heavily across different rehabilitation centers. If a rehabilitation center only monitors participants for one year following treatment and that person relapses in their second year, it might incorrectly denote them in their success rate.

Other perspectives about recovery from addictions consider a more holistic view of success, such as a lifestyle improvement for the addict. Factors measured can include improved health and personal relationships, decreased drug use, and better mental health regulation.

Addiction Rates for Various Substances

It is simpler to categorize addiction rates based on the type of addiction. Delving into the statistics provides a more concise picture of how dangerous addictions can be for individuals in society.

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Alcohol Addiction

  • Every year in the U.S., 88,000 people die from alcohol1
  • About 15 million people2 have an alcohol use disorder, but only 7% of these individuals receive treatment.
  • Worldwide, alcohol accounts for 1 in 20 deaths3 each year.

Opioid Addiction

Heroin Addiction

  • Approximately 25-33%6 of people who try heroin will become addicted.
  • In 2017, over 15,000 Americans died from a heroin overdose.

Cocaine Addiction

  • In the US, people aged 18-25 use cocaine more than any other age group.
  • Cocaine was a factor in 1 out of every 5 deaths7 from overdoses in 2017.

Factors Promoting Success in Rehabilitation

Depending upon the addiction, treatment will usually include a form of medicated assistance. Medication, mixed with behavioral therapy interventions, creates the best opportunity for success.

As maintenance for managing the addiction, mentoring, ongoing support, and community involvement will help individuals continue along their path to sobriety. Alumni programs that offer the ability for a person in recovery to stay connected with the treatment center or individuals involved in their program can be beneficial.

Relapse Rates

We should treat addiction similarly to chronic disease. It can be effectively managed, but relapse rates are high, at 40%-60%8, similar to other chronic diseases like hypertension and diabetes. Ongoing care is imperative for individuals to prevent relapse and enable personal growth.

Treatment needs to be fluid to manage addiction successfully. This is because an addict’s needs could change throughout their path to recovery. A relapse must not be considered a failure. Oftentimes, relapse is a phase in the cycle of addiction and is just one aspect of an individual’s journey. If it occurs, it likely indicates the need for modifications to an individual’s treatment or that other programs might be necessary.

Treatment programs offer the best opportunity for recovery for addicts because substance use is usually only one aspect of issues that need addressing in an addict’s life. The treatment provides the ability for an individual to evaluate the motivating factors behind their substance use and help them rebuild broken aspects of their personal life and professional life. In addition to addiction, recovery will address overall mental health, medical, and social issues, as well as personal and family relationships.

Opiate Addiction Recovery Success Rates

Opiate addiction treatment is substantially more advanced than in the past. Many opiate addicts are successful in recovery and live happy substance-free lives. However, because of the nature of opiate addiction, relapse rates are significantly higher than with other illicit substances. It is important to treat addiction as a chronic disease, which is vulnerable to relapse. Approximately two-thirds of opiate addicts relapse in recovery. Although this figure may seem alarming, it is essential to remember that a relapse does not show that an individual is unable to live a substance-free life in the future. Like a chronic disease, addiction is not curable, but it is manageable.

Understanding Relapses

It is essential to understand why relapses happen. If you are an addict seeking a treatment program or you are seeking a treatment program on behalf of a loved one, it can help you dissect the addiction and the physiological effects associated with it. Opiates trigger a part of the brain known as the mesolimbic system. This is the same system responsible for reward associations and pleasure. When someone uses opiates, dopamine activates in the brain, which results in pleasurable associations. This is why opiates are highly addictive.

Relapses occur because of this pleasurable association. Even when a person stops using opiates, the brain can crave the chemicals that are released when using. Addicts have to go through a detoxification period as part of recovery. This is where the body experiences withdrawal symptoms from discontinued substance use. Relapses can occur during the detoxification phase or in later recovery, but can typically be a result of the associated pleasure in the brain.

Relapse is often a part of recovery for many addicts and it is easy to see why. There are certain triggers to be aware of that may increase the chance of relapse. These include stress, the lack of a support system, difficulty managing mental health symptoms, and other factors that impact the individual in their environment. Many addicts use a substance as a coping mechanism for stress and can easily fall into old habits when in recovery. Therefore, therapy that focuses on the behaviors and habits that often contribute to addictive behaviors is crucial. Stress-inducing events such as interpersonal issues, bereavements, or financial crises/changes can be enough to trigger a relapse if an individual does not have a recovery skillset. Learning and implementing coping mechanisms through therapy can be very helpful in preventing relapse.

Improving Your Chances of Recovery Success

If you are considering treatment but have concerns about success in recovery, there are several things you can do to improve your chances. These usually revolve around ensuring you have a solid support network in place and seeking a comprehensive treatment plan. In addition, understanding your addiction is key to success. Identifying your triggers to use and addictive behaviors through therapy can mean you are at a lower risk of relapse.

Remove yourself from the environment that you associate with your addiction. This can mean cutting ties with other drug users and staying away from situations where you may encounter illegal substances. Try to surround yourself with supportive sober support systems.

Seeking comprehensive treatment can also be beneficial to your recovery success. As addiction is a complex issue, an all-encompassing approach is often the best one to focus on. Many addicts find recovery easier when they combine therapy and medication.

What to Do if You Relapse

If you relapse, you may feel like a failure. However, it is important to remember that for many people, relapse is part of their recovery journey. A relapse does not have to be the end of your journey; you can still continue on your recovery with the right supports. Stop using the substance as quickly as possible. If you return using as much as you did at the height of your addiction, it can be much harder to get back on track. Remember detoxifying and the difficulties that came with this process. Returning to your old habits will mean you have to experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms again.

Be Kind to Yourself

Although it is difficult to not feel angry at yourself, try to not be too hard on yourself. Remember that relapse rates are high, especially if you use opiates. Some studies have seen opiate relapse rates at approximately 90 percent. Consider the reasons for your relapse and identify what you think has caused it. It is helpful to write a journal entry with as much information about your relapse as possible. This can give you something to refer to later and help to increase your recovery success in the future.

Reach Out to Others

Contact someone to talk about your relapse. Getting support is what you need, so be sure to talk to someone that is supportive and non-judgmental. You may have a sponsor, family member, friend, or medical professional that you can turn to for support. Do not be ashamed about asking to help and support; the right support can help you continue on your recovery journey.

Understanding Your Addiction

Your addiction is personal and it is difficult to take control in active addiction. Understanding your addiction can give you a sense of control and help you pick apart its complexities. Remember that you’ll need to manage your addiction throughout your recovery, so it is important that you understand it. Learn about the substance you use and the effects it has on your body and brain. Familiarize yourself with the associated withdrawal symptoms. This can help you when you experience these when you detoxify.

Be Proud

Pride is not easy to have when experiencing an addiction. You may feel shame over your addiction, but you also have reason to feel proud. If you are researching recovery rates and looking at ways to get treatment, then you should be proud of yourself. You are taking a step that many addicts never do. You recognize the impact addiction has on your life and you have a desire to get clean, this is the first step.

Starting Your Recovery Journey

Starting your recovery journey can feel very intimidating. It is natural to feel apprehensive about treatment, relapsing, or changes to your life. Remember, you are not alone. Many addicts have been in your shoes and have taken the steps to get treatment. You are also not alone because you have the support of Cardinal Recovery. We can help you get the treatment and support you need to manage your addiction and live a happy and healthy life.

Although you may not feel like it, you have already started your recovery journey. Admitting that you have an addiction and understanding the effect it has on your life is the first step to recovery. Seeking treatment, advice and support is also a significant step. Take the next step and contact us for advice on treatment options. We help addicts with varying needs and offer individual and group counseling programs for those that are struggling with overcoming their addiction. We are always here if you have questions. You can email us or contact us via phone at (855) 928-1987 or live chat.



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