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Pros and cons of mandatory versus voluntary rehab

Watching a spouse or a family member battle addiction can be very depressing. Whether to force the loved ones with addiction into a rehab or wait until they decide to take action on their own by entering into a voluntary rehab weighs families down. It is a challenging task for the family members to figure out the best course of action and then, persuade the sufferer to do his or her best to regain a normal life. The helplessness that family members feel when their loved ones curl themselves into an abyss of self-destruction can be difficult to handle.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), about 20.5 million Americans, aged 12 years and older, had a substance abuse disorder in 2015. Apparently, addiction is a major part of “spectrum of substance abuse disorders”, which includes both substance dependency (when a person turns to a substance, such as drugs or alcohol, to alter one’s mood) and substance abuse (when the body forms a physical dependence on a substance). Thus, it is important to enroll in a treatment plan that helps the sufferer through all stages of the recovery process, apart from helping them detoxify in a safe environment.

Many American states are in favor of court-mandated rehabilitation, wherein a person involved in a drug-related crime is given a mandatory rehabilitation for alcohol and drug addiction, rather than putting him or her in jail. However, it must be remembered that when someone is incarcerated for drug-related offenses, it does not nullify the sentence, until the person attains a complete recovery. However, it is yet to be seen whether these court-mandated rehabs are really helpful in encouraging law offenders suffering from addiction to lead a sober life.

Voluntary treatment more effective in ensuring positive changes  

According to a 2015 study published in the International Journal on Drug Policy, there is no scientific evidence to prove that compulsory drug treatment offers improved outcomes for people sentenced for drug-related offenses. For the purpose of the study, the researchers evaluated all kinds of compulsory treatment options, such as short- and long-term treatment, group-based outpatient treatment, prison-based treatment and community-based treatment. Of the nine sample studies, an improvement in recidivism, which is criminal behavior arising because of substance abuse, was seen in only two instances.  The rest showed either ambiguous or no significant impact of compulsory rehabilitation.

Recidivism is a common occurrence in people addicted to drugs, which requires immediate attention. Statistics reveal that:

  • 13 million people taking drugs intravenously are HIV-positive
  • Nearly 60 percent of these have hepatitis C

It is essential that correctional facilities widen their scope. Instead of considering addiction as an inherent internal flaw requiring correction, it is important to consider the environmental, sociological and neurological factors that contribute to the condition.

Advantages of voluntary rehabs over mandatory ones

While in certain instances, the options are limited and a court-mandated rehab is the only way to prevent a further deterioration of life, voluntary rehab is estimated to provide the best chance to a person fighting an addiction to achieve a successful recovery. Entering treatment voluntarily helps a person achieve the following benefits:

  • Supervised detoxification
  • Choice of the kind of rehab
  • Healthy environment
  • Ongoing skills improvement

Recovery is a very personal choice. The urge to change should come from within and only then recovery is sustainable. People who desire to seek treatment opens window for administering a smooth treatment process. In fact, family and friends of the affected also plays a vital role in persuading him or her to enroll in a treatment program for good.

Road to recovery

Recognizing that there is a problem that needs to be addressed is the first step toward the road to recovery. Whether that comes about because of a familial intervention or because of conscious desire for change, stepping into a voluntary rehab is highly beneficial in the long run. It is possible to choose from a range of inpatient and outpatient programs offering detoxification, therapy, as well as counseling.      

If you or a loved one is battling with addiction, contact the 24/7 Recovery Helpline to get in touch with various drug addiction rehabilitation centers that offer professional help and viable support system. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-441-4405 or chat online with our experts for information on the best drug rehab centers in your area.

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