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What to Do When Rehab Doesn’t Work

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Oftentimes when we see a client who has successfully been admitted into Burning Tree Ranch, they have already had several treatment episodes.

In extreme cases, we have seen some clients who have gone to more than three dozen treatment centers before making it to the Ranch. By this time, these clients are so resistant to treatment and families have almost given up hope that their loved one will be clean and sober. 

Many of the clients we see could lead a small group or teach a class about the 12-step program because they have heard it so many times. 

Why is it that 30 to 90-day treatment doesn’t work for a certain class of drinkers? 

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5 Reasons Rehab Might Not Work

Aftercare: Treatment After Treatment

A big misconception with substance use disorder is that after going to a 30-day treatment center, you are cured. Many people think that if they can just stop, then they will be able to stay stopped. 

However, addiction takes consistent treatment. It’s a chronic disease and if not treated, then the symptoms of addiction will return. The symptoms of addiction are twofold: you cannot stay stopped and when you start you will do way more than you intended.

Many times when a client leaves treatment, they do not continue treating their addiction. Consistently treating your addiction is necessary. 

Some treatment centers call this a Continuum of Care or Relapse Prevention

The Chronic Relapser

Another reason might be that you are a chronic relapser. Chronic relapsers have become resistant to treatment. One of the reasons is because chronic relapsers are resistant to owning emotions like shame, guilt, resentment, fear, and loneliness. 

When an addict or alcoholic is faced with these emotions, they do everything they can to eliminate them. That usually means changing how they feel about themselves with alcohol or drugs. 

Chronic relapsers most likely will not stay sober after 30 days. Often they will drink as soon as they get out. 

Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome

Our clinical team has observed that clients who were saturated with alcohol or drugs take longer to be free of withdrawal symptoms. 

Depressions, anxiety, irritability, mood swings, fatigue, insomnia, low energy are among some of the symptoms of withdrawal.

Often at about the 90-day mark, clients will start “waking up” to a different type of thinking. Once this happens, it is like a “fog” has been lifted. 

If your loved one is using heavily, this might be one reason short-term treatment does not work. If they are going to anything less than a 90-day treatment center, they might not have had the proper amount of time to lift the fog from withdrawal. 

Wrong Diagnosis

What we have seen also is that some people do not have the right diagnosis. We will see some of our clients come into the Ranch with many different medications and many different mental health diagnoses. 

But in all honesty, they just might have an extreme case of alcoholism or addiction.

The reverse can be true as well. Clients might only seem to be addicted to alcohol or drugs, but they could have an underlying mental health disorder that has not been treated.

Family Members

Some families can make it difficult to fight substance abuse. Some families — even though they mean well — can prevent their loved one from being successful in recovery. 

Part of the problem is that family members care so much about their son or daughter they want to support them as much as they can. Sometimes that support can borderline on enmeshment or enabling. 

Other times, family members are sick and addicted to drugs themselves. It can be difficult for someone to break family ties to find the right kind of support or treatment program. 

What Should You Do If Rehab Doesn’t Work?

First of all, you need to determine why it’s not working. The examples above can help you. But at the same time, it could be as simple as you not wanting to be honest with yourself or your past. 

If you are a chronic relapser and still think you are going to be able to manage your addiction, then you are headed for trouble. 

If you are a chronic relapser — or your loved one is — and you need help, you should look to a program that has a long history of helping chronic relapsers in long-term recovery. 

There is only a handful of them, and Burning Tree Ranch is one of them.

Find an Inpatient Treatment Program Now

We are here to help you through every aspect of recovery. You can call our admissions team to find the best place for long-term residential treatment.

(866) 287-2877


- SINCE 1999 -

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