What the Statistics Say About Addiction Rehab

Posted on February 25th, 2015

What the Statistics Say About Addiction RehabIf you’re thinking of going to rehab for your drug addiction or problem drinking, or you are trying to convince a loved one to go, it’s important to know the facts first. It helps to understand what you are getting into because going to rehab and working toward sobriety is difficult and scary. It’s a big step and it means putting your trust in the professionals who will treat you. Educate yourself about addiction treatment and rehab. Get started with these statistics about attendance at rehab and success rates.

Who Is Going to Rehab?

The first thing that should make you feel better about needing to seek treatment is that you are far from alone. According to government statistics, there are more than 23 million Americans over the age of 12 needing treatment for an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Sadly, fewer than 3 million of these people actually get the help they need from a rehab facility. That is a measly 11 percent.

The No. 1 addiction cited by people attending rehab is alcoholism. Twenty three percent of admissions are for alcohol. Eighteen percent are for alcohol and at least one other drug. For drugs, the No. 1 reason for admission is marijuana, at 17 percent. Fourteen percent of patients are seeking help for heroin addiction. The list is rounded out, in order, by crack, stimulants like methamphetamine or amphetamine, non-heroin opioids, cocaine, tranquilizers, PCP, sedatives, hallucinogens and inhalants.

Nearly 60 percent of people seeking admission to a rehab facility are white. About 21 percent are African American and 14 percent are Hispanic. The largest age group represented in rehab is between 25 and 29. Nearly 15 percent of patients fall within this age range. Fourteen percent are between 20 and 24, 13 percent are between 40 and 44 and 12 percent are between 35 and 39. The least-represented age group is over 65.

Is Addiction Treatment Effective?

You are probably also interested in how effective treatment is for addiction. Statistics on this factor are a little tricky. One reason is that success cannot be clearly defined. Is success only measured by having no relapses? Is one incident of relapse still considered success? The truth is that addiction is now recognized as a chronic illness and this means that measuring success is difficult.

Statistics show that addiction as an illness behaves similarly to other chronic illnesses like hypertension or diabetes. In other words, the illness improves during treatment and gets worse again after treatment. This means that addiction, like these other diseases, needs to be treated regularly and over a lifetime. Still, we can say that treatment is effective to some extent. Statistics show that more than half of recovering addicts receiving ongoing treatment stop using drugs or alcohol, stop committing crimes and are better able to function in social circles, in families and at work.

As for relapse, it is mostly inevitable and does not necessarily mean failure. The rate of relapse seen in treated addicts is similar to that seen in people treated for hypertension, asthma and diabetes. In fact, addicts relapse slightly less than patients with hypertension and asthma. Relapse should be seen as something to avoid, but not something that destroys all previous treatment.

Going to rehab to get treatment for addiction is a big step and an important one. Knowing more about effective treatment should make you feel more comfortable about the choice you’re making. Go to rehab with the facts and with the intention of getting better and making treatment a lifelong priority, and you will succeed.

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