There have been a number of studies conducted over the years that indicate 30-day treatment centers have a success rate as low as 8-12 percent after one year has passed. Within 3 to 4 months the majority of those who have attempted to gain sobriety have returned to using the drug and relapsed. This pattern with heroin addiction, meth addiction and alcoholism is something the addiction field has observed for many years. With the advances in recent brain study science new information has started to be contributed to the field as to why this is.
Somewhere around the 30-35th day of sobriety the addicted brain begins to enter Post-Acute Withdrawal. The symptoms vary, but the most challenging and pernicious of them are dysthymia and anhedonia. Dysthymia is a technical term used to identify low-grade, consistent depression. A person doesn’t feel awful – they can still work and function and socialize, it’s just that doing so is unpleasant and uncomfortable. Anhedonia is another technical term used to characterize the inability to feel pleasure. This simply means that things that I used to find worthwhile and sustaining no longer feel good. Sex, television, food… nothing scratches the itch.
Early in an addict’s recovery process, usually around 30-35 days of sobriety the brain of an addict begins to start Post-Acute Withdrawal. There are a variety of symptoms most notably being dysthymia and anhedonia. Dysthymia is another term for a lower grade depression. A person is still able to carry out normal day to day activities, however they will feel uncomfortable. Anhedonia is another term used to describe Numerous studies have indicated that 30-day treatment centers have a success rate of between 8-12 percent after one year has passed. In fact, within 3 or 4 months the vast majority of those who attempt to gain sobriety have returned to using. This pattern with meth addiction, heroin addiction and alcoholism is something the addiction field has observed for years. Recently, brain science has started to contribute some new information to the field about why this is.
Meth addicts, alcoholics and heroin addicts seem to struggle when they’re in situations that feel futile. The dysthymia and anhedonia that accompany PAWS would probably be almost tolerable if it didn’t last 3-4 months. Here we notice “month three syndrome” where during their third month – often around day 75 – our clients become fixated on a reason they need to leave treatment. Family, job, pets, “I want to get back to normal life”, the list is endless because the reason stated is rarely really the real reason. PAWS has kicked in and the addicted brain is looking for something – anything – to feel ok again. The problem is that often clients will leave treatment and when they discover that whatever they were fixated on doesn’t work they return to what does.
The 30-day treatment model was established in the 1970s and remains mostly because “that’s how we’ve always done it.” Long-term treatment does work. Our experience is that clients who complete 90 days in treatment and participate in online aftercare to transition back home have a higher success rate.