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Reasons Why Rehab Fails

Mar 13, 2008
There are many reasons why drug rehab fails for some people, yet works very well for others. Even with the best care and treatment some people relapse, and find themselves feeling more emotionally fragile than before they went in. Occasionally, an individual may be able to pull himself through, but very often, going back to rehab is the only answer.

Returning to rehab is just as tough a choice as the initial decision, but some analysis of what triggered the relapse is needed in order to come to terms with it, and then tackle the root cause.


Structure in a person's life is vital if he has been through rehab, and it must come from more than one source.

After checking out from a rehab center, a person must start his new life with a program of recurring events to support the transition. This will help him move more easily into a normal way of life, and will encourage him to use his new-found coping skills acquired during treatment.

Structure means making a commitment; a commitment to building a weekly schedule and keeping to it. These events may come in different forms, such as playing tennis, exercising in a gym, or volunteering for a charity. Activities like these not only help to improve a person's fitness and positive energy, but also promote feelings of well-being and prevent isolation.

Family Support

When a person goes into rehab, it is understandable that his family will want him to recover quickly. But the family may not know how to cope or provide support when the treatment is complete.

The completion of rehab treatment means a new beginning for the individual, as well as the family he is returning to. It is therefore imperative that the family members reinforce their love and support, by talking and spending time with their loved one.

Counseling for the family is also important; it's a good way to help everyone cope with the stress and guilt they may experience. It is not uncommon for family members to harbor resentment and anger over the past, or about the cost of rehab, but these feelings can be overcome through communication, bonding exercises, and staying healthy.

The patient may also experience guilt and anger because of the pain he feels he has imposed on the people he loves. Family members must be prepared to offer understanding and words of support, to help their loved one cope with the mental anguish of his addiction, because guilt and anger can often be enough to trigger a relapse.

Eating healthy and getting plenty of rest is vital for everyone, because family members will feel stressed and may also find their own sleeping and eating patterns are affected. Tiredness only leads to poor communication and a perceived lack of understanding, which is not good for anyone. A family that is irritable due to the stress of seeing a loved one suffering, can offer no effective support.

Persistence and Change

It is a common misconception that someone who has to return to rehab has failed. This is not the case. It demonstrates the person has recognized he has not fully recovered, but still has the desire and will to change his life in a positive manner. At the same time, it also means that something about the rehab process must change if any difference is to be made.

Repeat visits to rehab should not be frowned upon, if the individual is prepared to make changes to other aspects of his life in order to reinforce the recovery.

Moving to a new place where there are no drugs available is an extreme way to go, but one that has worked for many. In the same way, volunteering to work for an organization where drugs are not available can help the individual immensely. The change may be big or small, extreme or slight, but whatever it is, it must be change.


When some people decide to go into rehab, they look for a treatment center that has extra benefits attached, such as outdoor pursuits, skills training, or a strong social element. They lose their focus on what is really important, and go into rehab forgetting that it is an opportunity to change their lives for the better, and to try and get to a point where they can live drug free.

While learning new skills and making friends is a healthy aspect of drug rehab, it is important not to let these things distract the individual from the only path that will set him or her free of drugs. Rehab can be fun and interesting, but that should not be the main reason to go to a drug rehab center.
About the Author
Colin Galbraith writes articles on drug addiction treatment. For more information on the Narconon program, and the New Life Detoxification program, visit www.drugrehab.net. If you plan to reproduce this article, please include the link above.
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