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Why Do People Leave Rehab Early?

September 03, 2012 | Written by : Alastair Mordey


Just entering a rehab, or thinking about getting treatment at one, is a great step in the right direction, but this in fact is not the only challenge you will face in your quest for sobriety.

Why Do People Leave Rehab Early?

Overcoming a drug or alcohol addiction can be very difficult; many addicts will begin their treatment at a rehab and then come up with various excuses or mindsets to why they should leave the rehab programme early. Before an individual decides to quit the programme, here are 6 things to think about.

‘Withdrawal and Detoxification is Just Too Much'

A detoxification, commonly referred to as a detox, is typically the first thing an addict will do once their treatment has begun. This is not always performed at the location and sometimes medication is used. If this is a standard detox at the rehab, the individual will almost certainly experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Sometimes these symptoms are so displeasing, the addict begins to feel as though the detoxification process is too much; at this point, they may think about leaving rehab early. It is not uncommon for the individual to state that they would rather drink or use than go through the detoxification process and withdrawal symptoms that come along with it. It is important, if and when this happens that the addict understands that they are able to talk to one of the rehabs counsellors or therapists; these professionals can provide support, which will help the individual to get through this difficult time.

‘Everything is Out of My System'

Some individuals who have successfully made it through their detox may get the impression that they are ‘cured' and can leave the rehab. Unfortunately, while the physical effects of the addiction are no longer present, the psychological addiction still lingers. The individual has not had enough time to understand addiction and furthermore, to learn and practice skills and techniques that will help them maintain sobriety and avoid a relapse. Leaving rehab early because drugs or alcohol are out of the body will only put the individual in harm's way once they have returned home. There are so many benefits to continuing treatment by staying at the rehab. Leaving early will likely cause unwanted problems; such as, an early relapse.

‘The Other Addicts are Worse than I Am'

An addict thinking about leaving a rehab early may believe that the other addicts getting treatment have worse addictions than they do. This is denial; every individual with an addiction will most likely go through some type of denial. When an individual feels that other people at the rehab are worse off, the individual may begin to think that they can leave because they are not as bad. It is important for the individual to realise that although they may not have as many problems as someone else, they still suffer from an addiction. If they choose to quit treatment by leaving the rehab, there is a high chance that not only will they relapse, but eventually they will end up with just as many problems, if not more, than the others that were at the center with them.

‘My Self Esteem is Fine, I will be Okay'

Many addicts are found to have low self esteem, leaving a rehab early can add to this. Even though the individual made the decision to leave treatment, once they return home, there is a good chance that they will feel guilty or like they have failed. These feelings are never good to have, especially in recovery. To make matters worse the individual may turn back to their drug of choice in order to cope with these feelings. It is okay to have feelings of uncertainty and fear about the entire process, but leaving rehab early will not make things better. Staying at the rehab will give the individual knowledge to help them withstand the stresses and pressures that they will face once they return to their everyday life. A rehab will also help the addict work on their self esteem and confidence. As always, the professional staff at the rehab will be very helpful and provide needed advice and support.

‘I Know Everything About Addiction, I Don't Need This'

This is such a common excuse, but in reality, it could not be farther from the truth. Some individuals will get this reasoning once they have become sober. They look at the recovery process as an event and not as a process; when in fact, recovery is a constant learning process that can take years to fully understand. A great benefit of a rehab is that the individual will not only gain new knowledge each and every day they are there, but they will also be accumulating valuable time away from many temptations.

Overcoming Certain Mindsets

A drug and alcohol rehab will give an addict the education and training needed to maintain a sober life. Any challenges that occur can be overcome; the examples of the mindsets above can all be dealt with in a healthy and positive way. If at any time an individual is experiencing these feelings, it is important to know that they can talk to the clinical and support teams at the rehab, and these staff will help them get through this difficulty.

If you feel it is time for yourself or a family member to enter treatment but are feeling apprehensive about such a big step, it is important that you speak to a professional who can answer all your questions knowledgebly.

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