Leaving treatment early

Why People Leave Addiction Treatment Early

The process of recovery from alcohol and drug addiction is complicated, time-consuming, and takes a lot of individuals’ efforts. Although there are a number of individuals who complete a treatment program and remain abstinent indefinitely, the reality is that there are many who will require more than one round of treatment before a sober lifestyle can really take root.

Moreover, there are some instances when an individual leaves rehab early—either voluntarily or due to circumstances that are beyond his or her control—and must start the treatment process over again. When an individual seems inclined to end treatment prematurely, it’s important to be able to assess the situation and determine whether there’s the possibility of encouraging the individual to remain in rehab to finish the addiction treatment program. The following are some of the most common reasons that individuals give when they leave addiction treatment early.

Reasons Why Someone Might Have to Leave Rehab Involuntarily

We have all experienced times when we cannot do or obtain something that we want or need. However, we are a very adaptable species and will compensate by trying to fulfill that need again, perhaps at a later time. In the case of individuals who are forced to leave rehab early for reasons that are beyond their control, it’s difficult to overcome whatever obstacles might be preventing them from finishing their treatment. For example, if someone experiences the death of a close relative, it would be difficult for that individual for forego returning home at that time. Severe medical or health problems would be another reason why an individual might be forced to end treatment early.

On the other hand, there are other ways that an individual can be forced to leave rehab before completing treatment. The most common reason for this situation is the breaking of a facility’s rules, especially those that forbid residents from imbibing alcohol or drugs and from bringing illicit substances on the facility’s grounds. Although most treatment centers will search through an individual’s belongings to ensure that he or she hasn’t brought drugs, friends and loved ones who visit individuals in treatment have been known to sneak contraband into the facility in violation of the rules, putting the addict’s well-being and treatment in jeopardy.

Additionally, it’s possible for individuals who repeatedly violate other rules—such as breaking curfew or romantic relationships between residents—to have their treatment terminated prior to completion. In instances when individuals are being forced to leave the program, the only available option for continuing treatment might be to begin receiving treatment at a different facility.

When Individuals Choose to Leave Drug & Alcohol Rehab Early

While there are several instances in which individuals might have to leave rehab against their will, it’s much more common for individuals to end treatment prematurely of their own volition. When an individual leaves treatment prior to the end of the program and the attending physician’s discharge, it is considered and documented as a discharge against medical advice (AMA).

Recovery from addiction is a process and ending treatment before completion of the process means that the individuals has not received all the help and benefit from the program that he or should have received, which is why physicians advise against leaving early. In essence, leaving treatment early wastes all the effort and progress than an individual made.

There are a number of reasons that individuals give when they leave addiction treatment early. Perhaps the most common reason given is that the experience of recovery, or more specifically of detoxification, is too painful for an individual to handle. Due to years or even decades of substance abuse, he or she is experiencing intense withdrawal and has not felt pain or strong emotions in a very long time, making the detox and recovery process intense and uncomfortable.

Another reason individuals give when leaving rehab early is that they’re not like the others in the program; still in denial over the reality or severity of their addictions, these individuals deny that their substance abuse problems are so severe as to require treatment.

Individuals who leave treatment early may also say that they can achieve sobriety on their own rather than through treatment. In instances when treatment was court-ordered or otherwise involuntary, individuals may leave due to the fact that they never wanted to become sober or begin treatment in the first place. Additionally, some individuals will leave rehab early out of anger due to being especially sensitive after experiencing undiluted emotion for the first time since before the development of their addictions.

Encouraging Individuals to Complete an Addiction Treatment Program

In many cases, having an empathetic, honest discussion with the individual will at least encourage him or her to reconsider leaving addiction treatment early. If he or she states that the experience of detox and treatment is too painful, the individual can be reassured by the fact that many treatment facilities use a variety of medicinal treatments in order to alleviate the discomfort and pain of withdrawal.

When the reason given is that the individual isn’t like the others, he or she should know that no two addicts are the same and that treatment is a highly personalized process that addresses each addict’s needs individually; one need not be like anyone else to need and benefit from a recovery program.

Individuals who claim to not need treatment due to their ability to become sober on their own should realize that if they were able to become sober on their own they likely would have done so long ago. If an individual attempts to leave treatment out of anger, it’s best to allow the individual to talk through the incident in order to process the emotion; he or she should also be made aware that the incident wasn’t meant to harm, but rather help the individual. No matter the reason an individual gives for prematurely ending treatment, he or she should be reminded that the many benefits of becoming sober outweigh the negatives. Recovery is an all-around improvement in one’s physical and psychological health and overall well-being.

No matter the reason an individual gives for prematurely ending treatment, he or she should be reminded that the many benefits of becoming sober outweigh the negatives. Recovery is an all-around improvement in one’s physical and psychological health and overall well-being.

Explore Recovery Options Today with Drug Treatment Center Finder

Recovery is a very long journey with many twists and turns. Individuals will put much time and effort into their recoveries. However, the benefits of becoming sober are so numerous as to almost be infinite. If you or someone you love is suffering from alcohol or drug addiction and would like to learn about treatment, Drug Treatment Center Finder can help. We have a team of recovery specialists available to match individuals to the rehabs that best address their needs. One phone call can begin the journey to a life of sobriety, health, and fulfillment.