Drug Addiction: Importance of a Support System

October 1, 2015 - Health, Lifestyle
Drug Addiction: Importance of a Support System

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, between 40 to 60 percent of patients relapse. However, substance abuse addiction is a lifelong condition that can be successfully managed through treatment providers. One of the keys to success with addiction recovery is a social support system.

Why Patients Drop Out
There are different reasons why patients drop out of treatment. For example, patients may be unprepared to change, poorly motivated or inadequately committed to recovery. Certain patients also struggle with limited resources, such as finances, housing or transportation. However, according to a recent National Institute of Health report, the reasons for dropping out of treatment are not typically related to the program, but are in fact personal. Surveyed clients cited lack of social support and relationship with treatment staff as the primary reasons for dropping out of treatment. Specifically, clients stated that treatment success was directly related to support received from family, friends and other addicts.

Why Social Support Matters
Drug addiction is a serious problem that controls and interferes with multiple aspects of a person’s work, home and school life. Chronic substance abuse results in harmful changes to a person’s body and biochemistry makeup. As a result, drug addicts need constant social support in order to maintain sobriety. A safe and stable home environment is critical for drug addicts to properly recover. One of the biggest problems that people in treatment experience is being exposed to drugs and temptations at home. In addition to this, unsupportive individuals, who are opposed to treatment, may pressure or persuade addicts to abandon treatment. The more positive support a patient receives, the more likely they are to successfully recover. This includes social, physical, emotional and resource support.

Why Staff Support Matters
Treatment facilities offer a stable environment with structured activities and a daily routine. Counselors work one-on-one with the patient and facilitate support groups, which encourage patients to connect with others. Both peer and professional support is key to recovery success. Therefore, patients that fail to establish a positive relationship with treatment facility staff and other patients experience higher recidivism rates. Staff members can fail to provide proper support through inflexibility, miscommunication and improper use of authority. In addition to this, failure to follow-up, provide encouragement and set clear expectations can also weaken the support system.

In the end, a support system is essential for long term drug addiction recovery. A supportive social network of friends and family provide patients with much needed emotional support. Treatment staff and facility support provide inpatients with the proper professional assistance and resources.