Inpatient addiction treatment is a choice that must be freely given by the patients themselves. It is never enforced on anyone by rehabilitation facilities since it requires a great amount of commitment to achieve the goal of recovering from one’s substance use disorder. When a person decides to leave the facility, they are not hindered to do so.
However, multiple consequences can result from leaving the facility against medical advice. The chances of a relapse are high and individuals may have to go back to the first phase of treatment as soon as this happens. This entitles more cost and a total waste of time and effort exerted at the beginning of the treatment.
Reasons Why Patients Leave Inpatient Treatment
There can be a lot of reasons that push a person to quit their treatment and leave. About an average of 17% of people in a rehab facility fail to finish their treatment plan and decide to abruptly end their treatment. While this is understandable since addiction treatment is never an easy task to take, this can also pose a great risk to one’s health.
Here are the specific reasons that cause individuals to leave their inpatient rehab facility:
An Extreme Struggle with Withdrawal
Most inpatient care begins with detoxification wherein the body is given time to get rid of the substance in the system making it in a more stabilized condition and ready to take the next big step. This usually takes a maximum of two weeks and within this period, the body experiences the discomfort of withdrawal including an intense craving for the substance.
Some individuals find this phase overwhelming and decide to quit. It is important to understand that as the body goes through a great number of changes, sometimes anxiety and hopelessness are part of the process. It is best to give oneself some time until the process ends and one can experience the benefit of the sacrifice.
There is also a condition called the Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) wherein the body experiences fatigue, mood swing, lack of focus, and even violence for as long as two weeks. The struggle to cope with these conditions can be extreme but it is best to keep in mind that these symptoms will subside as soon as the body is in its stable state.
The Discomfort of Feeling Out of Place
The atmosphere in a rehab facility is not the same as that of a staycation. Sometimes, patients might not find the facilities appealing. They might feel uncomfortable with their bunkhouse, the food, or even some of the people around them. This can be understandable but it is best to always focus on the goal rather than the new conditions encountered.
Patience is one of the keys to a successful treatment. It is a great option to give oneself some time to adjust and eventually thrive within these circumstances. Some people even experience frustration and the longing to get back outside could be great. Missing home might be a tough struggle too but then again, it would do well to take some time to adjust.
Denial of the Benefit of the Treatment
Some people might be concerned about the cost of the treatment and worry greatly about this while inside that it moves them to decide to let go of their treatment. This might also sprout from the idea that they can make it all by themselves. This is a manifestation of a denial of the fact that treatment is necessary to every person under substance addiction.
Some skills are necessary to be learned to independently cope with the struggle of addiction and these skills can take time to develop. When a person feels like they are all equipped to face the real world and find further treatment unnecessary, they are putting themselves at great risk of a relapse.
The decision to allow someone to leave a rehab facility must be made by the medical team after having fully assessed the patient. You need to be patient and understanding of the outcome of your medical evaluation. Also, you need to respect the recommendation and decision of the medical team. The hurdles are challenging but if one focuses on the goal, recovery is possible.
How To Encourage Someone To Continue Treatment
When a person starts to feel discouraged while on treatment and expresses about discontinuing the process, it is best to make them understand that what they are feeling is valid. However, the benefit of being capable of managing one’s life effectively without any setbacks will be worth all the sacrifices made in the process.
The following can be done to a person who feels like quitting the treatment once started:
Offer Empathy and Support
Instead of judging the person or making them feel like what they are feeling is wrong, it is important to show them empathy by letting them know that they are loved and they are valued. It is the role of the loved ones to extend the best support that can be given – emotional or financial – to help a person keep moving forward.
Help Them Refocus on the Goal
It can also work if the person is reminded of how great life was back when they were not suffering from addiction. They must also see how far they have started. It would be helpful to tell them about their progress and the future that awaits once they get to fully recover from their substance use disorder.
Encourage to Commit to the Goal
They should not feel that they are struggling alone while on treatment. Help them set realistic goals to push them to continue, and offer them all the help and support that they need. Recovery sometimes requires teamwork, and it would be of great help if they understand that they are not alone in their progress.
Treatment is a challenging and long process, however; when one is focused on the beauty of living a life in harmony with oneself and others, the commitment to sacrifice and stay in treatment is worth it.