Why Short-Term Addiction Treatment Doesn't Work

Seeking treatment for an addiction to drugs or alcohol can be an important part of reaching personal goals; however, the treatment program that is appropriate for each individual can depend on the situation. Although a short-term treatment plan can provide the first steps toward recovery, it is possible to relapse after completing the treatment. It can seem that the treatment program is a failure and it may be discouraging. Understanding why the treatment program is not working can make it easier to find the best option for personal needs or for the needs of a loved one.

Duration of Addiction

In general, a short-term treatment program is designed to help with initial recovery; however, it may not be effective if an individual has been addicted to a substance for an extended period of time. Psych Central explains that a residential treatment program is usually at least 28 days and may include a detoxification program.The short-term treatment may be designed as an initial step toward recovery, but it is not usually enough to handle every challenge that will arise over the years. According to Psych Central, out-patient programs or short-term programs are designed for individuals who have never attempted to give up drugs or alcohol in the past. It may not be effective if an individual has tried to recover previously because the duration of an addiction may be too long and may require more specialized or long-term care.

Type of Program

The National Institute on Drug Abuse points out that there is no single treatment that works for every individual. In many cases, a short-term program is simply not the appropriate treatment option for the needs of an individual because it may be too limited or may not offer the long-term approach to healing that is required by the person.Although the duration of time may be a contributing factor, the type of treatment options that are available can also contribute to the effectiveness of a program. Some individuals may do well in a holistic program while others need to focus on spiritual beliefs or may need medical treatments. Depending on the individual, the best program and option for healing and recovery will vary.

Effects of the Addiction

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an effective treatment will usually require three months or longer to help with long-term recovery goals. A key reason is the way that an addiction impacts the body.

It can take time for the body to heal from the damage that was caused by substance abuse. The damages that may occur during an addiction include:

  • Liver damage
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Damages to other organs
  • Injuries to the brain
  • Cognitive changes
Since the damages can take time to fully heal, it is not surprising that a short-term treatment may not be as effective as a long-term alternative. When the individual is splitting his or her focus between healing and recovery, it may mean that the first month of treatment is not as effective as the next month.It takes time to recover from addiction. A short-term treatment may not offer enough time for the body to physically heal, which can be a distraction from the recovery goals and measures that are being put into place for long-term plans. An individual who is worried about his or her blood pressure, eating habits or the discomfort of the body may not be able to fully comprehend the information and recommendations that are suggested during the treatment program.

Recovery from an addiction is a life-long process that starts with a professional treatment plan. Although a short-term treatment program can offer the initial treatments that are necessary to remove the substance from the body and start the healing process, it is not always enough to address every problem or concern that may arise. Fortunately, there are long-term treatment options that can help individuals maintain a drug and alcohol-free lifestyle.
Source http://psychcentral.com/lib/differences-between-outpatient-and-inpatient-treatment-programs/0007531 http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/principles-effective-treatment

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