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Why Do Some People Need to Go to Rehab Two or More Times?

why do some people need to go to rehab two or more times

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, relapse rates for people in recovery from addiction are comparable to those of people who are treated for asthma and blood pressure. Between 40-60% of patients who seek treatment for substance abuse relapse.[1] While relapse can feel discouraging and guilt-ridden, it does not mean a person has failed. Instead, relapse means that a person’s treatment plan needs to be modified or resumed. Relapse can also mean a person needs to go back to treatment.

Addiction treatment can be very effective when it is facilitated in a way that meets a patient’s specific needs. However, even the most effective treatment programs will see some patients relapse. Addiction is a complex disease that cannot be cured. People in recovery must continue to treat their addiction on a day-to-day basis. If someone fails to follow through with their aftercare plan, everything they learned in treatment will prove to be useless. Or, if a person isn’t entirely dedicated to the idea of abstinence, they may only put in half of the effort needed in their recovery.

People who relapse may need to go to rehab two or more times. The first time they go may be their first attempt at getting sober, where they learn the basics of addiction. Then, the second attempt usually occurs after a relapse. This is when a person will need to do some self-reflection to learn why they relapsed and what they can do in the future to prevent another relapse.

Returning to treatment can be embarrassing. People may feel ashamed, guilty, or worthless. The truth is there is nothing wrong with going to rehab more than once. And, many people in recovery have done several stints in rehab before gaining a full grasp on sobriety.

What Defines a Relapse?

The word “relapse” has many different definitions. It can be defined as:

“To fall or slip back into a former state or practice.”

“A deterioration in a person’s condition after partial recovery.”

“An act of backsliding, worsening, or subsiding.”

“Deterioration in symptoms of a person suffering from a disease after a period of treatment.”

When applied in the context of addiction recovery, a relapse is what happens when a person returns to using drugs or alcohol after a period of sustained sobriety. However, relapses can vary in severity. Someone may stay sober for several months and spend one day binging on alcohol before they realize the mistake they have made and ask for help. Some people may refer to a short-lived relapse as a “slip” rather than a full-blown relapse. Instead, relapse usually refers to a more serious pattern of substance abuse that lasts for days, weeks, or months.

A person who has relapsed may try to hide his or her substance abuse. They may isolate themselves from loved ones and begin acting similarly to how they acted before getting treatment. In the event of a relapse, it is important to get help – even if that means going back to rehab.

why go to rehab two or more times

Get The Care You Need and Deserve

Woburn Wellness Addiction Treatment is a leader in the addiction treatment field, with proven success in facilitating long-term recovery. Our team of top clinical & medical experts specializes in treating addiction coupled with mental illness, ensuring that each person receives individualized care. Call us – we’re available 24/day, 7 days/week.

Does Everyone Who Relapses Need to Go Back to Rehab Again?

Since relapses can vary in severity, not everyone needs to go to rehab two or more times. Some people, particularly those who have experienced a minor slip, may be able to get back on track if they are willing to take the advice of a sponsor, develop healthy habits, and work a recovery program. However, someone who slips up and fails to get back on the recovery bandwagon may wind up in a negative state of mind that leads them to relapse once again.

Someone who has relapsed for several days, weeks, or even months, however, can benefit from returning to treatment. Relapses usually make addictions worse than before because they are accompanied by intense feelings of guilt and shame. These feelings drive further substance abuse and make recovery even more difficult. As a result, it is vital to take relapses seriously.

Although nobody likes the idea of having to go to rehab multiple times, doing so can be life-saving. The best way to know whether or not a person needs to go back to a drug or alcohol rehab is to evaluate how long their relapse has lasted and how motivated they are to re-start their sobriety. Then, it is a good idea to speak with an addiction professional to learn whether or not the person can benefit from further treatment.

What to Expect From Going to Rehab Two or More Times

Going to rehab multiple times is nothing to be ashamed of. When relapse occurs, there is nothing braver than asking for help and getting back into a treatment program. Going back to rehab will help separate the individual from his or her environment and substances.

Upon arriving at a treatment facility, the admissions team will gain an understanding of the person’s history with drug and alcohol rehab. The team will learn what they previously accomplished in treatment, what they did after treatment, and what caused the relapse. This information is used to create a custom treatment plan that revolves around relapse prevention.

Educational sessions can provide a refresher on the dangers of substance abuse, motivations for sobriety, and information on the recovery process. At the same time, behavioral therapies can help patients understand where they went wrong and what led them to relapse. Then, therapists can help patients cultivate relapse prevention strategies so that they don’t relapse again in the future.

It is important that patients stick to their treatment program. Leaving rehab early or failing to take suggestions can very well result in another treatment admission. And, the best way to avoid going to rehab two or more times is to follow through with treatment and recovery in the first place.

Get Back to Recovery After Relapse

If you or a loved one have relapsed, we know you probably don’t feel very proud about it. But we’re not here to judge you. We’ve helped hundreds of patients just like you overcome their struggles and stop the revolving door of treatment and recovery. In the end, it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve gone to rehab. All that matters is you keep trying. Whenever you’re ready for long-term sobriety, we’ll be here to help.


Inessa Maloney, MS, LMHC
Clinical Director

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