The sad passing of another high profile celebrity with a well publicised drug addiction has brought the issue of alcohol abuse and rehabilitation back into the media spotlight.
Paul Hayes, NTA Chief Executive recently wrote an open letter to The Times defending NHS waiting times for rehabilitation services and making the following significant statement,
‘These are welcome developments but no cause for complacency, since drug misuse has consequences for crime and risks for public health – which is why treatment and recovery services are intensifying their efforts to get more of their clients off drugs altogether and reintegrated back into society.’
Would that be the very same society that drove many of them towards addiction in the first place?
In my view one of the biggest problems with residential rehab is that ‘detox’ takes place in a sanitised environment. The person will not have become addicted whilst in rehab (although that is possible) and often some of the key drivers of the addiction will have been ‘removed’ when the person enters rehab.
But those very drivers will still be waiting for the person when they leave, and unless they have an understanding of what they are and how they deal with them, those drivers may appear to be even more problematic than when they went in. As a result the outcome is often the same; they start seeking ways of changing how they feel quickly and will revert to the original addiction or start a new one.
Because when they left rehab they had no knowledge of why they were addicted only that they should stop drinking and get on with life. Some of them will have even been told that they are somehow biologically or mentally different to other people and were ‘born alcoholic’ even though there is no scientific evidence to support this outdated theory.
Many rehab centres in the UK focus on convincing the client that they are ‘powerless over their addiction’ even though they are often dealing with a very powerful psycho-active chemical, and anyone can become addicted because that is the very nature of mind altering drugs.
They are then expected to return to a competitive society and become integrated. Many will end up going back into rehab, because the first visit did little or nothing to address the underlying cause of the addiction.
Is residential rehab in danger of becoming just another addiction?