Drug and alcohol recovery is a serious business in which people’s lives hang in the balance. It is important to compare rehab program success rates and critically evaluate the information you are provided with, in order to find the best program. There are two areas that you as a consumer need to be aware—deceptive practices in reporting rates and comparing disparate information.
Comparing Rehab Program Success Rates
In evaluating different programs and trying to choose the best program for yourself or a loved one, you need to critically examine the information you receive from rehab programs. While many drug and alcohol programs are honest about their success rates, sometimes the initial information provided makes it hard to draw a direct comparison between programs. Asking about specific statistics and understanding how success rates function can help you make the best recovery choice for yourself or a loved one.
- Success Rates
When comparing different rehab programs, ask them how they define “success.” What are they measuring? Are they measuring success by reporting how many people merely completed the program? Are they defining success as sobriety lasting six months, one year, or lasting five or more years? When they report a success rate, is it based upon the number of people who started treatment or the number who finished treatment?
- Completions Rates
One way to compare different programs is to look at completions rates for patients. It is not a good sign if a rehab program has a low completion rate. While this does not tell you specifically what the problem with the program is, it does indicate that there is a reason people are not achieving sobriety there. Additionally, a program can artificially raise its success rate by giving up on difficult cases and allowing them to terminate the program early. Thus, a place with a low completion rate and high success rate may be cherry picking lower level addictions to focus on, in order to create artificially high success rates. Programs that focus on the individual and their specific recovery plans tend to have both high completion rates as well as high success rates.
- Relapse Rates
Be wary of places that boast about the “relapse rate” of their program. A mindset that focuses on relapse—or considers significant relapse rates successes—demonstrates that they do not believe in truly curing for drug or alcohol dependency, and doesn’t tend to bode well for their program’s effectiveness.