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  • Writer's pictureKevin Phillips

Improving Successful Outcomes in Treatment

Updated: Apr 29

According to research, the average success rate for recovery for patients graduating from residential substance use disorder treatment programs is between 40-60%. This means between 40% and 60% of patients who suffer from Substance Use Disorders end up relapsing when treatment is completed. Note: These relapse rates are significantly lower than those for other chronic diseases such as hypertension and asthma.


Of interest, a national average of 43% of all people who go to treatment successfully complete their treatment programs. We are pleased to report that our records show that over 60% of patients who begin treatment with ARS, successfully graduate.


Research also shows that about 89% of patients who complete treatment remains clean for the first month. The percentage decreases with time, as you would expect. Approximately 76% remain clean at 3 months, 69% at 6 months, and this number seems to be stable after 9 months.


These numbers highlight that relapse is common in recovery. Substance Use Disorder is considered a chronic disease after all. ARS maintains support for our patients after they graduate from residential treatment to limit the risk of relapse and to be able to respond with support should a lapse occur. Graduation from residentially treatment does not constitute a completion of recovery, but rather a beginning.


One long standing goal is to give our patients the resources, tools, and relationships they need to establish a foundation for long-term recovery. This enables them to build a more hopeful future. Several factors contribute to this.


Family support and social support from friends and the community make a difference. Having a strong support system provides emotional support and motivation to continue in treatment and secure long-term recovery. We do this in several ways. We introduce our patients to recovery support communities like AA, NA, and similar groups – for example Celebrate Recovery that may be found in many churches. We spend a lot of time in our group work exploring skills to help them build a network of more healthy friends.


One important insight our patients develop is the recognition of the impact their substance use has made in their lives and the lives of their family. Consequences include such things as the loss of employment, loss of family, loss of health, and sometimes arrest and involvement with the justice system. When they can connect negative consequences like these to their substance use, their motivating for recovery grows. To say it another way: The recognition of consequences feeds their motivation for recovery.


Those in early recovery feel shame. They may feel like failures or losers. They may look at where their substance use has brought them and compare themselves to others and feel "less than". Sadly, some people in their lives may magnify these feelings. An important factor that helps them in recovery is the overcoming of shame and developing a sense of personal agency. One general goal in treatment is to improve their sense of self-efficacy and confidence.  The ability to say, “I can!” goes a long way in support long-term recovery.


Another thing that supports recovery is lifestyle changes. Making simple changes like improving their diet, developing an exercise routine, even just going to sleep are a regular time makes a big difference in helping their mind and body heal.  


Substance Use Disorder is a chronic disease. This means there is no “guaranteed cure”. But there are guaranteed factors and behaviors that increase successful outcomes in recovery. Addressing these in conduct significantly improve the outcomes of successful recovery.

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