Numbers and statistics, sprinkled liberally throughout a story, seem to turn an opinion into a fact that’s hard to argue with and even harder to deny. Politicians, reporters and teachers know this all too well, and they’re experts at using numbers to help justify the opinions they express and the lessons they’re trying to teach. There are times, however, when statistics don’t tell the whole story. Drug rehab, for example, is hard to explain using mere facts and figures. Numbers can’t really explain how it works or why it might be worthwhile for people who are addicted. In the end, rehab really must be experienced in order for people to understand its true worth. But, a few carefully chosen numbers could help some people to enter rehab programs, as they might begin to see how such facilities could help them to get better.
When measuring the effectiveness of drug rehab, some people focus on relapse rates. Essentially, these people judge the success of rehab by the sobriety level of people who complete the programs they’ve been assigned to. When viewed in this way, rehab doesn’t seem very successful. For example, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that about 40 to 60 percent of people with addiction slide back into drug use after rehab. This is similar to relapse rates seen in other people who have chronic conditions that require daily care, but it’s not a number that anyone would feel comfortable with. There are some ameliorating factors that could explain this low number, however, and those statistics could put some people at ease. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, for example, reports that relapse rates are improved in people who go into addiction treatment programs within 30 days of completing detoxification. People like this take 40 percent longer to relapse, if they relapse at all. Studies like this seem to suggest that addicts can’t be lumped together in one data group, and perhaps some people don’t relapse at the high rates attributed to everyone in this group.
Looking at mere relapse rates doesn’t provide people with the full scope of a rehab program. Research in the American Journal of Epidemiology demonstrates this quite well. Here, researchers found that among people who started taking drugs, 27 percent died within 20 years, and only 27 percent were sober. Studies like this suggest that addiction doesn’t go away on its own, and that the condition can prove fatal without treatment. Numbers like this seem to suggest that rehab really is vital for long-term health. Additionally, some people don’t measure success by mere relapse, but through the quality of a person’s life. This could be measured by:
- Employment status
- Strength of friendships
- Mental health status
- Physical health status
- Stable living arrangements
Studies of this issue seem to suggest that rehab has the ability to make life better, even if the person doesn’t achieve sobriety on the very first attempt. For example, in a study in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, researchers found that alcoholics who went through treatment had improvements in quality of life, even if their abstinence was only short-lived. They may not have achieved the benefits seen in people who completely recovered, but their lives did improve. Perhaps, with each rehab attempt, they could see long-term sobriety for themselves.
Parsing statistics and numbers can be confusing, but again, the numbers should be used as a guide and a learning tool, not a formula for success. Your own rehab might be very different from the experience of someone else, and at Futures of Palm Beach, we’d like to help you to get started. Please call us now. Begin Treatment Today In 3 Easy Steps