Addicted to rehab?

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different to other people and were ‘born alcoholic’ even though there is no scientific evidence to support this outdated theory.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?


2 comments for “Addicted to rehab?

  1. 4 August, 2011 at 18:48

    Peter, Many thanks for taking the time to comment. Alcohol statistics are totally reliant on the respondents telling the truth and in many cases because of the perceived stigma of alcoholism I feel that the real alcohol problem in the UK is much bigger than the reported figures suggest. The current global financial position is likely to see more people resorting to drugs and alcohol in an attempt ‘escape’ reality. But the reality is that our money actually doesn’t do very much and it only has ‘value’ all the time that we collectively decide to give it ‘value’, resources on the other hand are tangible and measurable. With this in mind it is interesting to note that one of the most common causes of addiction is a ‘beliefs that are inconsistent with the truth’ Could it be that we are living a lie?

  2. 4 August, 2011 at 12:14

    Well said Colin
    In short, people are being told to stop doing things which they are told are not acceptable; in this case drinking alcohol. They aren’t given any reason as to why they are doing what they are doing – drinking. So they are being given a remedy without a diagnosis.
    I see the same behaviour happening across the world, with other ‘addicted substances’.
    Let’s take debt. There are amazing amounts of debt. The US has just decided to increase theirs. Is anybody being given a reason why they are in debt? No! Ordinary citizens are just told to stop being in debt. Bit difficult to do that to a whole nation – even though it is made up of lots of individual citizens.

    So maybe the whole world is in Debt Rehab and we just didn’t know it, because it is such a big picture, we can’t see where we are in it.

    So well done Colin. Keep up the good work. Maybe we can learn something off a ‘small’ problem like alcohol, and transfer the lessons to other problems we humans have. Poverty, crime ……….

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