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How Effective Is Professional Treatment for Addiction?

If you’re considering treatment for yourself or a loved one, you may find yourself wondering whether it’ll make a real difference. How does getting help actually work? What are the rates of recovery and success in short-term and long-term patients of different treatment methods? More importantly, how should we define a successful recovery, and how can you determine whether professional treatment will work for you?

The Stages of Treatment and Recovery


It’s important to accept that recovery isn’t a one-shot deal like surgery; it’s a process that encompasses numerous steps. A successful recovery hinges upon following each of these steps to completion. While each person’s process will be unique and there’s no single correct way to recover, most will follow a basic progression that looks something like this:

  • Accepting the need for treatment: The realization that you have to make a change is the crux of your entire transformation. A 2007 survey of people in recovery found that people attributed their motivation to enter and maintain sobriety to multiple sources, often including escalating consequences of drug use, support from friends and family, and guidance from recovery professionals. Recovery depends on consistent effort and commitment; without it, no amount of external help is likely to stick.
  • Detox: Before you can get sober, you’ve got to get clean. Depending on your substances of choice, this may require undergoing medical detox to take you safely through the potentially dangerous process of cleansing your system of any lingering drugs or alcohol and manage any side effects. Detox can also involve treating withdrawal symptoms.
  • Inpatient Treatment: Residential care at a treatment center is the bread and butter of recovery for many people who struggle with addiction. You’ll work with your professionals daily, attend group and individual therapy with a counselor to help you address any deep-seated issues, and develop the strength and commitment you need to make it through recovery.
  • Outpatient Treatment: Outpatient care is the stepping-stone between inpatient treatment and independent living. You’ll live on your own but continue to attend meetings and sessions with your professionals to establish healthy routines and practices for this new chapter of your life.
  • Continuing Care: Transitioning to independent living doesn’t mean you have to leave your care behind. Continuing care includes any support you receive to maintain your sobriety, such as attending 12-Step meetings, seeing a therapist, and taking medication.

Moving through these phases organically, at a rate that makes sense according to your circumstances, can be a major asset towards your ultimate recovery. Avoid rushing yourself or holding to arbitrary deadlines so that you can get the most out of each stage of treatment.

What Makes for a Successful Recovery?


This is a hard question to answer quickly because “success” means different things to different people. For most, a successful recovery might entail staying sober, while others might want to completely redesign their life to avoid any potential backsliding. Some people use recovery as an opportunity to pursue a new career, build a new self-image, or form new relationships. Whatever your goals, the most useful thing you can do is work closely with a therapist, coach, or another recovery professional to establish your needs and make a plan to meet them. In short, intention and vision will take you a long way.

Addiction is a complex disease that is often entangled with other personal problems, mental health issues, or internal imbalances. To treat it thoroughly, a facility or program must address any underlying conditions, not just the symptoms themselves. This may mean behavioral therapy, medication, or a combination of the two, augmented by rigorous social support and positive personal development. People constantly change, especially throughout recovery, and treatment must adapt to those changes over time.

As mentioned above, another crucial component of a safe and effective recovery is having adequate social support. Your friends, family, and peers can watch you change and grow over time, which makes them a reliable barometer for your progress. It can be easy to fake it for your counselors; it’s another thing to try to fool everyone in your 12-Step group. Make sure to surround yourself with a wide variety of people who have your best interests at heart.

The First Year of Treatment


At Cornerstone Healing Center, our approach is built on the foundational knowledge that two-thirds of people who make it through their first year of recovery go on to long-term sobriety. The initial stages of getting and staying sober are often the most challenging, which is why it’s more important than ever to get reliable, professional guidance. Between your treatment experts, support system, and personal sense of determination, you can beat addiction, rebuild your life, and enjoy a future of wellness and happiness.

Recovery is a process as unique as the people who undertake it. While the uncertainty over how long it will take and how well it will go can be intimidating, it can help to remember that professional treatment is the strongest possible option for you or a loved one who’s battling addiction. To entrust your sobriety and long-term wellness into the hands of experienced practitioners and counselors is to share your burden with people who spend their time on earth helping people like you every day. At Cornerstone Healing Center in Scottsdale, Arizona, we don’t take a predetermined approach to your healing. Our mission is to give you the individualized care you need to overcome addiction and make the most of your life in sobriety. That’s why twice as many people finish treatment at Cornerstone compared to the national average. Don’t let addiction control your life any longer. Get help today. Call (800) 643-2108 to learn more.

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