Can You Have Too Many Stints in Rehab?
You’ve been to rehab a few times. People who support you are starting to ask questions. Is it too much? Why can’t you just stay sober? How many more times will you have to interrupt your life and go to rehab? What not everyone understands about addiction is that it requires ongoing, lifelong treatment. This doesn’t mean that you will need to go to rehab twice a year for the rest of your life, but it may mean that you need several trips before you are able to maintain sobriety.
Addiction Is Chronic
Both you and the loved ones questioning you need to understand the latest research on the disease of addiction. Thanks to multiple studies, we know that addiction is a chronic illness. That means it never goes away. There is no cure. Like asthma, diabetes or hypertension, you will always have an addiction, but you can learn to control it through treatment.
Having a chronic disease means that, despite your best efforts, it will flare up from time to time. Researchers have confirmed that addiction is a chronic illness because it shares so many characteristics with other chronic illnesses. One of these is relapse. Diabetics relapse and addicts do too. With time and persistent treatment, you will learn to maintain your sobriety with outpatient treatment, but until then you may have to go to rehab a few times. You shouldn’t feel bad about it and you shouldn’t let anyone else make you feel bad about it.
Find Effective Rehab
To maximize your chances of success in rehab and to minimize your chances of needing to go back, do your homework to find a facility that uses the most effective practices. Gone are the days when treating addiction is a free-for-all. Research has determined what factors make treatment most effective. Know these factors and find them in a rehab facility before you commit to going there:
- Individualized treatment plans that can be adjusted over time as needed
- Group and individual behavioral therapy sessions
- Use of medications where appropriate
- Diagnosis and treatment of any mental health issues
- Treatment plans that address the individual as a whole, not just the addiction
- Continuous monitoring for drug or alcohol use
- Plans for aftercare and maintaining outpatient treatment
What If I Can’t Afford More Rehab?
If you find yourself in a position of having relapsed and feeling like you need to go back to rehab, you should go. But what if you can’t afford it? Maybe you maxed out your insurance allowances for the year, or you were paying out of pocket and you just don’t have the money. You do have other options. Consider outpatient therapy with an experienced addiction counselor. It won’t be as intensive or restrictive as rehab, but it can help and it will be less expensive. Rely on your supportive family and friends to help keep you accountable as you try to get back on track.
Another option is to join a support group. These are free and meet regularly in most locations. Take advantage of not only the meetings, but also a sponsor. This more experienced addict in recovery can be a powerful ally. He or she is someone you can call when you are feeling vulnerable or weak and who will help keep you accountable to your goals for sobriety.
There is no such thing as too many trips to rehab as long as you can afford to go and you are benefiting from the treatment. Everyone is an individual and requires differing amounts of time and a unique treatment plan. Be patient and stay committed to your goals and sobriety will get easier.
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