Am I a Rehab Addict?

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Am I a rehab addict? Am I constantly searching for a new rehab near me or similar treatment optionsHave you ever asked yourself these questions? If so, you may have a replacement addiction, where you use going to rehab as a coping mechanism. It can sound strange, but it happens to a lot of people.


Why Would You Develop a Rehab Addiction?

Initially, when you recognize you have a serious problem with drugs or alcohol, you may be highly resistant to getting treatment. Your friends and family may stage an intervention, and you might go into the program quite literally kicking and screaming.

Once you’re there, it can take time to adjust. You might have a hard time with the change of scenery and going through detox. Then, as you settle in, the environment can be comforting to you; that’s not a bad thing! Rehab should be comfortable and be where you can focus exclusively on your recovery.

What if you leave that safe, structured environment and find you quickly want to return? Wanting to go back to a residential treatment center could indicate a problem, so how do you know if you’re a rehab addict?


Fear of Leaving Rehab

When you go to substance abuse treatment  it’s a huge transition in your life, but so is leaving once you’re there and you complete your program; you can feel safe in your recovery program, there aren’t temptations, and you have constant support groups with other people in your program and the staff. In many ways, your rehab facility makes it very easy to stay sober.

You may have a fear of leaving that environment of an inpatient treatment program and being in a fragile state as you try to navigate your daily life without drugs or alcohol. Aftercare planning, outpatient treatment, and similar programs can help ease this transition, but it’s normal to feel apprehension as you prepare to leave treatment even when those plans are in place.

When you return home, you aren’t going to have a set schedule, and you may not have that positive environment and around-the-clock care of alcohol rehab centers or drug inpatient rehab centers. You may have minimal if any, social support and limited access to treatment specialists. 

What’s critical when you feel worried about leaving inpatient rehab, along with an aftercare plan, is preparing to use the coping mechanisms you’ve learned. You have to accept there will be challenges and triggers, but you went through the treatment process to learn how to deal with these in a healthy, productive way.


Revolving Door Syndrome

Revolving door syndrome is a term we frequently hear. You’ve gone through treatment and perhaps varying levels of care. You left, you worked on your 12 steps, and then you relapsed. This scenario isn’t uncommon. Addiction is a chronic disease characterized by relapse. When does it become more than relapse and indicate that you’re a rehab addict?

According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse, relapse rates are anywhere from 40% to 60% during the first year of treatment. These relapse rates are similar to other chronic disorders. How do you make the distinction between relapse that’s part of the process and a situation where you might be engaging in revolving door syndrome?


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For years, if you’re continually re-entering rehab, it might be a problem. Revolving door syndrome is also called chronic rehabbing or rehab addiction. 

What are the reasons for it?

  • Having a fear of the unknown can be a big reason for chronic rehabbing. We went into this uncomfortable anxiety you may feel about being taken out of your safe environment. As you try to return to daily life without drugs or alcohol, that anxiety about what it might look like for you can be overwhelming, contributing to relapse.
  • You may not be prepared for life outside of rehab centers. 
  • You could go into rehab for the wrong reasons, meaning you return time and time again. For example, maybe you originally went only to make someone else happy, rather than because you felt truly ready to end your alcohol or drug addiction. 
  • Cycling in and out of rehab over the years may happen because you don’t follow through with the process. You could give up too early on all the steps you need to take.
  • Suppose you have repeated relapses and aren’t sure why there may be an undiagnosed mental health condition that needs treatment. Co-occurring disorders diagnosis need to be part of your treatment plan in alcohol rehab or drug rehab. An addiction treatment program that doesn’t consider underlying mental health conditions will likely lead to higher relapse rates. 
  • Your reality might not meet your expectations. If you’re still floating on the pink cloud when you leave the addiction treatment center, and then you get into your real life and find it doesn’t match what you thought it would, you might face a revolving door of rehab programs and a lower success rate. 


Replacement Addictions

You may find the term rehab addict a strange one, but the truth is that you can become addicted to anything. When you’re recovering from alcohol or a substance use disorder, it’s relatively common to substitute one addiction for something else.

If you’re constantly going back to rehab or any type of treatment, you may be caught in a pattern or cycle that you feel like you can’t break out of, in addition to substance abuse issues. 


How Can You Avoid Becoming a Rehab Addict?

If you’re worried about your fear of leaving treatment or your tendency to keep going back, there are some things you can do to help the situation.

  • Identify your motivation for why you want to be sober. Your motivation shouldn’t be anyone else or any external factor. 
  • When you do go to treatment, ensure you’re present and maximizing your time. You should use all the resources at your disposal but focus primarily on those designed to help you successfully return to your daily life.
  • Choose the right treatment program. Not all types of treatment are going to be the right fit for you. Take your time because it’s better to do the research upfront and find something that matches your needs as far as addiction treatment facilities. 
  • Manage your expectations. Sobriety doesn’t inherently mean your life is going to be perfect. For people who were addicts, it can take years to rebuild their lives.
  • Learn as much as possible about the relapse process and triggers during your inpatient program. You want to proactively be able to identify these triggers and use your coping strategies.
  • Complete your entire treatment plan, including follow-up care and your aftercare program. You might also be in a 12-step program after leaving an inpatient facility or intensive outpatient program, so keep attending meetings. 

If you’re searching for a treatment center that will meet your needs currently and prepare you for success in long-term recovery with aftercare services, please contact the Opus Health Orange County team by calling 855-953-1345. We delve deep into co-occurring mental health disorders so that we’re truly addressing the root cause of an addiction to drugs or alcohol. This approach improves outcomes, along with individualized treatment plans, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.

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