What To Do When Rehab Doesn’t Work

See all articles
For a client
The Hader Clinic
The Hader Clinic
April 1, 2024
minute read

Rehabilitation is a brave and commendable step toward recovery from addiction. However, the reality is that not every rehabilitation experience leads to the desired outcome. The road to recovery can be long and complex, and setbacks are not uncommon. 

In this blog, we will explore the various reasons why rehab may not work for everyone and discuss alternative paths and strategies for individuals facing this challenging situation.

Understanding why rehab may not work 

Mismatched treatment approach 

Sometimes, individuals may find that the treatment approach used in a particular rehabilitation program does not resonate with them. Each person is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. It's essential to assess whether the chosen rehab facility aligns with individual needs and preferences.

Co-occurring disorders 

If there are underlying mental health issues or co-occurring disorders that haven't been adequately addressed during rehab, it can significantly impede the recovery process. In such cases, a comprehensive assessment of mental health alongside drug addiction treatment may be necessary.

Lack of personal commitment 

Successful rehabilitation often requires a deep commitment to change. If an individual is not fully committed or is entering rehab under external pressure, the chances of success may diminish. In these cases, finding intrinsic motivation becomes crucial.

For instance, studies have shown that those who are forced into involuntary treatment often leave a drug rehab program without the commitment to stay sober. Therefore, their lack of desire to seek treatment means that their recovery journey is hindered, and drug abuse once again becomes the norm.

Post-rehab strategies when rehab doesn’t work

Reassess and modify the treatment plan

If rehab doesn't yield the expected results, it's essential to reassess the treatment plan. This may involve consulting with addiction specialists, therapists, or medical professionals to identify the aspects that need modification or a different approach. 

Explore alternative therapies

Different individuals respond to various therapeutic modalities. Exploring alternative therapies such as art therapy, music therapy, or holistic approaches like yoga and meditation may offer a fresh perspective and better align with an individual's needs.

Engage in ongoing support 

Recovery is an ongoing process that doesn't end with the completion of a rehab program. Engaging in aftercare programs, support groups, or counselling sessions can provide ongoing support and prevent relapse. Building a strong support network is crucial for long-term success.

Seeking professional guidance 

Therapeutic interventions

If rehab hasn't been successful, it may be time to consider therapeutic interventions instead of medical treatment. This includes motivational enhancement therapy, cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), or dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT). These evidence-based approaches can address specific challenges and enhance coping mechanisms.

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)

For some individuals, medication-assisted treatment can be a valuable addition to the recovery process. Medications like methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone, when prescribed and monitored by healthcare professionals, can help manage cravings and reduce the risk of relapse.

Reevaluate personal goals and lifestyle

Set realistic expectations

It's crucial to set realistic and achievable goals. Recovery is a gradual process, and expecting instant changes can lead to frustration. Celebrating small victories and progress is key to maintaining motivation.

Identify triggers and develop coping strategies

Identifying triggers that contribute to addictive behaviours is essential. Developing coping strategies and implementing lifestyle changes to avoid or manage these triggers can significantly improve the chances of sustained recovery.

Family and community involvement

Family dynamics and support

The role of family in the recovery process is pivotal. In cases where rehab hasn't yielded the desired results, involving family members in the recovery journey can make a significant difference. Family therapy sessions, open communication, and education on addiction can help create a supportive environment at home.

Community resources 

Beyond family, engaging with community resources can provide additional layers of support. Local support groups, community centres, and faith-based organisations often offer programs tailored to individuals facing challenges in their recovery journey. Connecting with like-minded individuals who understand the struggles can foster a sense of belonging.

Volunteer work and giving back 

Engaging in volunteer work or community service can be a transformative experience. It not only provides a sense of purpose but also helps individuals in recovery to contribute positively to society. This active involvement in the community can be a powerful motivator and a source of inspiration.

Mind-body connection

Embracing mindfulness practices

Integrating mindfulness practices into daily life can be immensely beneficial for individuals struggling with the aftermath of unsuccessful rehab. Mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, and other relaxation techniques can help manage stress, reduce cravings, and enhance overall well-being, making them a great addition to rehabilitation treatment. 

Physical fitness and nutrition

Physical health and mental well-being are interconnected. Regular exercise can boost mood, alleviate stress, and improve sleep quality. Establishing a routine that includes physical activity, along with maintaining a balanced and nutritious diet, can contribute to a healthier lifestyle and aid in the recovery process.

Related articles

As featured in