Opiate Addiction: Recovery Statistics
While addiction recovery numbers don’t look promising, they don’t represent the full truth. The data surrounding recovery rates is often flawed and subjective, due both to the fluid nature of addiction recovery and the limited access to available personal and private information from treatment centers. The rates you see, the numbers reported, don’t represent the whole picture. Many of the leading treatment and recovery centers aren’t required to divulge client information, preferring to honor their client’s privacy. And while it’s true that many recovering addicts will relapse, a relapse shouldn’t mean failure. It’s not the end of an addict’s journey, but is one step on a path that may eventually lead towards sobriety. When seeking sobriety, remember to look beyond the statistics, and focus on yourself.
Opiate Addiction Recovery Rates
The Journal of the American Medical Association reported a study which dates back to 2000, concluding that relapse rates for people treated for substance abuse were comparable to relapses of people suffering from physical illnesses such as hypertension and diabetes. The recommendation was that addiction also be treated as a disease that could require ongoing intervention. Recognizing that addiction is a disease removes some of the social stigma, and gives recovering addicts more confidence when it comes to seeking treatment and continued support.
A 2013 study in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment surveyed 164 opiate detoxification inpatients (71 percent male, 80 percent who had previously gone through detox) and found that “27 percent had relapsed the day they were discharged, 65 percent within a month of discharge, and 90 percent within a year of discharge.” This survey points to the need for a comprehensive plan of treatment following detox, before returning to an environment that may be rife with triggers. If an addict has access to at least a 30-day treatment program in a residential recovery center, they have stronger footing stepping back into the world, and are equipped with the means to help them keep their sobriety.
In a 2010 study conducted by researchers at Cherry Orchard Hospital in Dublin, it was found in a follow-up of 109 patients that 91% reported a relapse, usually within a week of leaving the treatment early. They found, however, that those who completed treatment had a higher degree of success remaining sober. Completing the full course of treatment is crucial for addiction recovery. Going back out into the world armed with tools for living a sober life, and having a continuing care plan in place, gives people a much better chance at sustained recovery.
Achieving Your Own Recovery
The reality is that the story of addiction recovery can’t be told by the numbers.
A report may record someone as failing if they relapse once after treatment. But if he then goes on to remain clean, his life tells a very different story. Is a treatment program considered a failure if a woman leaves and returns to using, but it plants the seed for her to seek help and remain sober a year later? Recovery is a difficult statistic to quantify, which is why bleak numbers shouldn’t be a deterrent from seeking help.
Addiction to opiates is a difficult one to kick. It’s a disease best managed by a team of addiction and medical experts to help you with the challenges of detox and recovery. A 30- or 90-day comprehensive addiction treatment plan includes medically supervised detox, one-on-one and group therapies, and follow-up care, such as continuing on in an outpatient program, moving to a sober living environment, or attending local peer support groups. Recovery statistics don’t tell the whole story—it’s your story that is the important one.