Is Leaving Rehab Early OK?
Leaving rehab early is never the best thing to do when trying to recover from addiction. Addiction is not new to this world, whether the substance is alcohol or any other drug. It has been around at least as long as there have been people. Yet, the mindset of this complex disease, both for those who suffer from it and those who study it, has changed. Loved ones are more supportive, friends are more open-minded, and some of those who suffer from addiction are more willing to accept that they are sick.
Modern medicine and rehabilitation facilities play a vital role in helping today’s recovering addicts heal, prosper, and recover from addiction. If you or someone you love are suffering from addiction, please do not hesitate to call 385-327-7418. The healing and recovery process can start today. Our experts have all the resources you will need.
Leaving rehab early is risky at best. It rarely works out well for anyone with substance abuse issues to go it alone or return to their routine prematurely.
Basics of Addiction
Addiction is a complex disease that affects both the body and mind. As with many things in life, it is probable that no one understands it fully. But we can start with the basics of what we do know.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, addiction is the compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance. It is typically characterized by seeking and using drugs or alcohol compulsively, to the detriment of other areas of life. The initial seeking is voluntary, but the constant use of the substance causes chemical changes in the brain, consequently changing the user’s behavior.
How Addiction Affects The Brain
The effects of alcohol can look a lot like signs of brain damage. To list a few, blurred vision, loss of memory, difficulty walking (stagger), delayed reactions, and slurred speech. Many of these signs are noticeable within the first two drinks. Frequently, the signs will diminish once the said person stops drinking. The signs and duration of them vary for each person. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, heavy drinking may have extensive and far-reaching effects on the brain, ranging from simple “slips” in memory to permanent and debilitating conditions that require lifetime custodial care.
Bliss, ecstasy, euphoria, joy. These are the sensations that overwhelm a person when they use illicit drugs. Whether used via a pipe, needle, ingestion, or snorting, many drugs directly affect the reward circuit of the brain. This causes dopamine terminals to release the ‘feel-good’ chemical at an overwhelming rate. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, surges of dopamine in the reward circuit cause the reinforcement of pleasurable. However, unhealthy behaviors like taking drugs, leading people to repeat the behavior again and again. This is what initiates the process of addiction. Also, the effects on a multitude of brain functions including stress, memory, judgment, and control.
For statistical numbers on addiction and how the disease is affecting the population worldwide, the World Health Organization is a reliable source. They estimate that the abuse of alcohol and drugs accounts for 12.5% of all deaths worldwide. Alcohol abuse, in particular, is proven to be responsible for 8.8% of yearly deaths.
Purpose of Rehab
“Patients who leave against medical advice are both a concern and a challenge for individuals in the health care field, because discharge against medical advice may expose patients to an increased risk of adverse medical outcomes including morbidity and mortality,” says Ibrahim Al Ayed, an associate professor and consultant pediatrician at King Khalid University Hospital.
The purpose of rehabilitation centers and facilities is to help the patient improve, heal, and, ultimately, recover from the complex disease of addiction. If a patient were to be kicked out of rehab, check out of rehab early, or leave rehab against medical advice, they would be endangering themselves and others.
LAMA (Leaving Against Medical Advice):
Can you check yourself out of rehab? Simply put, you can, but your doctors won’t like it. Leaving rehab against medical advice (LAMA) is described as any patient who escapes or checks themselves out of a medical facility against the advice of their treatment team. Checking out of rehab early, or leaving rehab against medical advice, is taking one step back from healing and one step towards pain and suffering. At the end of the day, for most people, this amounts to putting their lives right back under the control of addiction.
Getting kicked out of rehab is not impossible for a patient to do, especially if they are head-strong and determined to leave the facility. Whether the reason is the treatment, the duration of their stay, restrictions, accommodations, or the staff, some patients just don’t want to be there. If the patient is unable to leave the facility, they will do everything they can to ensure that they are kicked out of rehab.
Why? It is for the same reason as LAMA. The pull of the outside world is too strong, and while the patient may say or even truly believe they are leaving because they don’t need any more treatment, they are most likely preparing to relapse on some level.
As previously stated, addiction is a compulsive disease that can bend anyone to its will. Yet, what so many patients forget is that, with help, they are stronger. The disease is strong, but taking back control is possible and necessary. Staying in rehab will help show them this truth and how to put it into practice.
Risks of Leaving
It is understandable that many people would want to leave rehab early, or make a habit of checking out of rehab early every time they are brought back. Withdrawals can be the most challenging part of the recovery process, especially during the first few stages of experiencing withdrawal symptoms. But while this is understandable, there is no way around the fact that if a patient decides on leaving rehab early. Leaving rehab against medical advice, checking out of rehab early, or trying to get kicked out, they will be putting themselves further at risk. Such risks include becoming overburdened with temptation and giving in to their cravings again. This time at a much more dangerous level.
Falling back into the pattern of addiction is a risky itch to scratch. Not only will the said person be at a high risk of overdose. But they may begin to doubt themselves as capable of committing to recovery, lose faith in themselves, and never try again.
Benefits of Staying
Some patients may not see any great benefit to living at a rehabilitation facility. No alcohol or drugs are allowed, and you must follow all the rules and restrictions of the residence (complete house chores, pay rent or other fees), including attending the customary mandated 12-step group sessions.
The situation may look oppressive, but there are benefits to even the few policies that were just listed. For example, forbidding alcohol and drugs ensures that the facility is safe and free of temptation and distraction for everyone attempting to recover there. Following all the policies, rules, and restrictions of the residency, and, overall, doing what is asked of you? The staff are there to help you recover. That also means that they are there to help teach you how to live again: cleaning up after yourself, paying your bills, doing your part in the community. The way everything is structured and set there is for a good reason: to help you heal.
If you are thinking about leaving rehab early, how can the people there help you if you are not willing to let them?
You may be feeling discouraged, as if chains that only you can see are holding you back. It is important not to let this feeling take over. Dust yourself off, drag your feet if you have to, and continue down the road to recovery. If another patient appears to feel the same way, then insist that they lean on you. Reminding yourself that you have the power to help someone else can be very motivating, and that person just might end up helping you in turn.
If you feel too down to even pick your feet up, it’s time to reach out to a friend, family member or fellow patient. Tell them how you feel and what you have been going through during this process. If you seek help and support, odds are people will be willing to lend a hand. Studies have proven that constant support from family, friends, and loved ones helps motivate, strengthen, and push patients to stay in rehabilitation facilities, as well as maintaining their treatment.
You Are Worthy
To summarize, many people who enter into a rehabilitation center believe themselves to be unworthy or unfit to recover and get better. And it is true that the road you are on is a hard one. The good news is that the first steps are the hardest, and it does get easier. Addiction is a chronic disease, incurable, but increasingly manageable as the habits that allow you to manage it become more ingrained. You may feel unworthy, but the fact is that anyone can be worthy. It is a matter of accepting the hand that is reaching out. As a recovering addict (and bestselling author), J.K. Rowling, says, “Only with acceptance can there be recovery.”
Take The First Step
Finally, if you or anyone you know is suffering from addiction, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at the number below. Take the first step. Accept the hand that is reaching out, because it is there, reaching for you.
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