Does Rehab Work?

does rehab work

Does Rehab Work?

If you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol, you may be considering whether or not rehab works. Rehab refers to a rehabilitation treatment center designed specifically to aid individuals combatting addiction to drugs and/or alcohol on their path to recovery.

In order to assess the successfulness of rehabilitation treatment centers in aiding individuals to achieve and maintain sobriety, it is necessary to understand the complexity of addiction, what to expect in a drug rehab center, and whether or not this method of treatment really works in treating drug and/or alcohol addiction.

The Complexity of Drug and/or Alcohol Addiction

Drug and/or alcohol addiction can be difficult to understand and there is a still a wide variety of misconceptions that permeate popular understanding of addiction. Addiction is a chronic condition that manifests as the compulsive use of a substance despite negative and harmful consequences.

The addicted individual will continue to crave, seek out, and use the drugs and/or alcohol despite knowing that it is negatively impacting their life. For many individuals dealing with addiction, it is a chronic issue that continues for the duration of their lifetime and is characterized by periods of sobriety colored with relapses.

The path to developing drug and/or alcohol addiction begins when the substance is ingested for the first time. Though this on its own often is not enough to foster an addiction, the continued use of the drug and/or alcohol over an extended period of time leads to the development of a biological dependency on the substance that relies on its continued use. If the addicted individual attempts to abstain from the substance for any duration of time, they will begin to experience symptoms of withdrawal.

Withdrawal is often one of the main roadblocks to individual’s successfully attaining sobriety as the effects of withdrawal can be extremely uncomfortable. Withdrawal can cause pain in the muscles of the body and can result in vomiting and nausea. Some of the most common symptoms of withdrawal are lethargy, loss of appetite, agitation, irritability, restlessness, depression, hallucination, paranoia, severe anxiety, insomnia, tremors, trembling, and/or a temporary loss of pleasure in activities.

Withdrawal symptoms manifest differently in each individual based on the type of substance they are addicted to, the severity of the addiction and dependency, health conditions, and the unique biological composition of the individual who is abusing drugs or alcohol.

Effects of Addiction

Addiction to drugs and/or alcohol has the ability to permeate every aspect of an individual’s life and can result in the development of a number of behaviors and practices that make functioning normally within a family, workplace, relationship, or community difficult. The desire to continue to use the substance becomes all-encompassing and clouds judgment and perception.

The continued use of drugs and/or alcohol can cause individuals to put themselves in harmful and potentially dangerous situations that may impact their personal and professional lives. These behaviors can also cause individuals to encounter consequences in every facet of their life, from trouble within their family to the loss of their job to being arrested for their drug or alcohol use. These are just a few examples of potential consequences that can result from drug and/or alcohol addiction.




Addiction to drugs and/or alcohol over time also exposes the user to developing a number of serious health conditions. It is clear that a drug and/or alcohol addiction has reached a critical stage when it begins to compromise the health of the user. Any type of drug, whether legal or illegal, will begin to negatively affect the body if used continuously over a long period of time.

The body is biologically designed to function on its own and the interference of drugs and/or alcohol fundamentally alter the ways in which the body functions. The type of drug being used and the severity of the addiction play a large role in the potential health effects that may result from the abuse.

Drugs which are taken by injection with a needle increase the risk of the user contracting Hepatitis C or HIV. The continued ingestion and abuse of alcohol over time leads to damage in the heart, liver and brain. Stimulants cause the heart to withstand an undue amount of pressure which can cause cardiovascular disease over time. Stimulants also can result in continued or intermittent psychosis when used over a long period of time.

Opiates, on the other hand, cause breathing to slow down very dramatically over time, which can result in lasting damage to the brain tissue and cognitive processes. Understanding the potential health risks of drug and/or alcohol abuse is necessary to recognize the complexities of addiction and the lasting effect it can have on every facet of an individual’s life.

Importance of Support During Treatment

Drug and/or alcohol addiction not only affects the user’s life and health, but it also has a lasting impact on their personal and professional relationships. Those closest to the individual will be directly impacted by their addiction and it will likely cause issues to arise within their relationship.

One of the most critical aspects to the success or failure of a rehabilitation treatment facility in successfully leading to sobriety and recovery is the involvement and support of family and friends during the treatment. Support and love are integral to making a lasting positive change and help individuals to know that they are not alone, they are loved, and they are capable of recovering from their addiction and leading a healthy, happy life.

Because addiction is a complicated condition that impacts many aspects of an individual’s life, it is never simple to treat and there is no one right way to treat addiction. The main goal of a rehabilitation treatment facility is to help individuals suffering from drug and/or alcohol addiction to stop using their drug of choice and to maintain a sober lifestyle. Rehabilitation treatment facilities also often focus on helping people repair and establish new, healthy strides in their family, at work, and within society at large.

Drug treatment centers often incorporate a number of different elements to target the many different facets of addiction. Rehab centers sometimes encounter hostility from individuals who expect treatment for drug and/or alcohol addiction to be fast, easy, and a one-time cure.

However, addiction is an ongoing journey that requires continued effort to maintain. The ultimate goal of a rehabilitation treatment center is to foster ongoing, long-term sobriety. Individuals must enter rehabilitation treatment centers with the understanding that attaining and maintaining sobriety will be difficult, require effort, and will be a lifelong journey.

What to Expect in a Rehabilitation Treatment Program

Entering a rehabilitation program can be a daunting and difficult step to take, particularly when you are unsure about what to expect and fear it will not help you successfully become sober. Rehab programs are centered around removing other responsibilities in an effort to allow you to solely focus on maintaining sobriety and dealing with your addiction to drugs and/or alcohol.

There are a number of different types of rehab treatment programs available. Inpatient or residential treatment generally requires a combination of detox and counseling for 30, 60 or 90 days. At HARP, our inpatient drug rehab program is geared towards clients in need of supervised treatment.

A typical day during residential treatment includes group and individual therapy sessions, family dynamics groups and intensive process groups. Fitness training, massage, yoga, acupuncture and spiritual counseling are also used to complement the therapy sessions. In addition, HARP offers integrated family workshops for families and other loved ones to join.

There are also intensive outpatient treatment programs that utilize weekly counseling sessions, holistic services (yoga, acupuncture), and family dynamics groups. During outpatient treatment, individuals will continue living at their home rather than checking into the facility. These programs help clients begin the process of living an independent life and use the tools they were taught to continue their life addiction free.

When you first enter a rehabilitation treatment program, you will often do an intake interview or assessment to gauge the severity of your addiction. Treatment for addiction is not one size fits all and requires an individualized approach to be successful. Often the initial assessment will include an interview, medical exam, and sometimes a psychiatric exam. In some cases, the staff at the rehabilitation treatment center may also speak with family and friends to get their perspective on your addiction. Once this assessment is complete, a plan will be developed that is tailored to your needs.

During this initial assessment, the interviewer and medical staff will determine whether or not you need a medical detox. For some individuals, experiencing the full severity of the symptoms of withdrawal can be harmful and dangerous, so a medical detox is a safer, more comfortable option. Depending upon the history of drug and/or alcohol abuse, the detox period can last anywhere from a few days to a week.

Many rehabilitation programs place an emphasis on counseling and education during treatment. The counseling can take a variety of different formats and modalities depending upon the facility and the individual. Types of counseling may include group therapy sessions, individual sessions with a licensed therapist or addiction counselor, hypnotherapy, or cognitive behavioral therapy. The education taught during rehabilitation programs centers around addiction and recovery.

Individuals are often less likely to experience a relapse if they understand the feelings and actions they are predisposed to and what steps to take to prevent them in the future. The knowledge of addiction and recovery facilitates the ability to maintain sobriety. Often rehabilitation programs will continue long after you end a residential stay if that is the treatment you begin with. Instead, your counseling and treatment will continue for weeks or months after you check out. Transitioning out of a rehabilitation program and back into the world can be challenging, so it is important to rely on the continued support of counseling and treatment to maintain sobriety.

Do Rehabilitation Programs Work in Treating Addiction?

The simple answer to this question is yes, for many people rehabilitation programs do work in treating addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. However, there is no guarantee that rehab will be successful for you. Even with all of the right tools and resources in the world, the most important factor in successfully treating addiction is the desire and willingness to change to achieve sobriety.




Rehabilitation programs foster an environment in which individuals who recognize how harmful their addiction is and want to live a sober life are able to thrive and grow. As mentioned earlier, addiction is not cured once and for all, it is an ongoing journey. For thousands of individuals, rehab programs help them to achieve sobriety and give them the tools and resources to maintain their sobriety in the long-term.

Drug treatment programs are not a quick-fix for addiction to drugs and/or alcohol, they are focused on creating a significant, lifelong change to behavior in order to live a healthier, happier life without the negative effects of drug and/or alcohol abuse. There are no guarantees in life, and drug rehab programs remain true to this sentiment. However, treatment programs provide the support, knowledge, tools, and resources to create a lasting change in your life and help you to begin recovering from your addiction.

Successfully combatting addictive behaviors and substance abuse requires a lifetime commitment to expend effort, resist urges, and seek help whenever you need it to maintain sobriety. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, HARP is here to help. Our holistic approach to addiction treatment has helped many people beat their addiction. Call us today to learn more.

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