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What Happens after Drug Rehab?

Don't let relapse happen after drug rehab.

Don’t let relapse happen after drug rehab.

If you have a loved one who has recently completed drug rehab and you think that everything is “fixed” now, think again! While drug rehab is a very sobering experience and can be very beneficial at getting individuals back on track and aiming toward recovery the sobering truth is that many individuals will fail post drug rehab and will relapse back into their use of drugs or alcohol. This doesn’t mean that drug rehab doesn’t work or that it didn’t work for that particular person, just that long term recovery efforts and long term sobriety are the result of long term drug rehab that is followed by support and care outside of drug rehab. So what happens after drug rehab? Here’s a look at what could happen after drug rehab:


The majority of people who complete drug rehab find themselves in a fragile balance, teetering between long term and sustained recovery and relapse. There’s a 50 / 50 chance that an individual will relapse in the year following drug rehab. This is why some drug rehab programs now offer a guarantee for up to one year following treatment that allows them to come back free of charge as long as they maintain the aftercare program that is developed for them.

Many recovering addicts who complete drug rehab will relapse within the first 30-90 days of completing the treatment program. The most common time frame for individuals to relapse after drug rehab is during this 1-3 month point when they are most vulnerable. Because of this, it is strongly advised that the recovering addict continue in an outpatient treatment program for at least 90 days following an inpatient treatment program.

Approximately 35% of all recovering addicts who make it through drug rehab successfully will find themselves back in rehab within the first year. Within the 5 years after drug rehab is completed 50% of all recovering addicts who received treatment will wind up back in the drug rehab program as the result of relapse. Relapse has some alarming numbers which is why you can’t assume that just because an individual completes drug rehab that everything is “fixed.”

Recovery Statistics

Although an individual who completes drug rehab is considered to be in “recovery,” the fact is that recovery is not considered to be stable until an individual has been in complete recovery for at least 4 years. In order for recovery to be considered stabilized, the individual must be out of drug rehab and have sustained sobriety for 4-5 years. At this point, the risk of future relapse has dropped below 15% and the individual is considered to have sustained recovery.

Without recovery, addiction that continues on throughout life is not only dangerous, it’s deadly! The most deadly addictions are those that follow relapse after drug rehab. Death rates, suicide rates, diseases and overdose increase with each relapse after drug rehab. A lifetime of drug addiction, the up and down roller coaster of being sober and high, sober and high, sober and high causes extreme stress on the body and will ultimately result in death.

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