What Happens If I Leave Rehab Early?

Published on

Completing rehabilitation may be as challenging as it is rewarding. Yet some people in treatment for drug and alcohol addiction decide to leave rehab early, which can impact their recovery outcome.

Leaving Rehab Early

If you’re considering leaving a drug rehab program early, consult with a trusted therapist or counselor first. Many people with a substance use disorder have moments where they doubt themselves or their decision to come to rehab in the first place.

Being accountable for how you feel, in the worst moments, to a trusted medical advisor will assist your recovery process and allow time to address any grievances, questions, or concerns.

It may be intimidating to speak honestly about wanting to return to a previous way of life, or to discuss strong emotions and urges with an advisor. However, behavioral health professionals are trained and ready to assist you in achieving sobriety and avoiding relapse.

In the beginning, recovery may not be comfortable. It may be challenging to face uncomfortable urges, symptoms, and emotions that occur as the brain and body adjust to addiction treatment.

Staying and facing those challenges is an essential part of recovery, and it’s well worth the effort.

Common Reasons For Leaving Drug Rehab

Experiencing intense emotions and urges during treatment may lead to irrational decisions, such as quitting a substance abuse treatment program prematurely.

You may decide to leave rehab when experiencing unregulated emotions, withdrawal symptoms, boredom, or stress.

Experiencing Withdrawal

Withdrawal is different for everyone and it comes with varying levels of physical, psychological, and emotional effects as the body adjusts to sobriety. Depending on the substance of abuse, symptoms of withdrawal may range in type and intensity.

An addicted person may experience irritability, aggression, depression, mood swings, and other physical symptoms that may feel uncomfortable.

Withdrawal is the beginning of a lifelong commitment to recovery. Chances of successful detox and recovery are greatly improved with medical advice and the supervision of experienced medical staff.

Denial And Avoidance During Addiction Treatment

There may be several reasons an individual may choose to leave rehab rather than complete their program.

It’s possible an individual may have overconfidence and believe that they’re not in need of assistance once completing detox. They may also feel that the process of therapy and treatment itself is unpleasant.

Denial and avoidance of the psychological, physical, and emotional factors associated with substance abuse may be one cause of why an individual will decide to stop drug and alcohol treatment early.

The benefits of participating in substance abuse treatment from the early stages until completion include:

  • reduced stress levels
  • better results
  • gaining necessary coping skills that build the foundation for long-lasting recovery

How Leaving Early Impacts Recovery

Leaving a rehab center during treatment disrupts previous and future efforts at sobriety.

Treatment often involves mental health services, such as individual and group therapy, counseling, and time spent in a structured environment to allow the brain and body to adjust to life without drugs.

Interrupting this process may have damaging effects on an individual’s ability to achieve and maintain sobriety after detoxification and withdrawal.

Unmonitored Withdrawal

Depending on the substance of abuse, withdrawal symptoms may last for several days or more. Typically, the worst withdrawal symptoms pass within the first 24-72 hours after discontinuing use of any drug.

Withdrawal may come with risks of seizures, stroke, heart attack, and other dangerous symptoms that may occur. Leaving a healthcare facility and the supervision of qualified medical professionals during the detoxification process is dangerous.

Relapse And Drug Abuse

Substance abuse treatment provides a structured environment that allows you to confront the psychological and physical causes of your drug addiction.

Drug and alcohol rehab also provides you the opportunity to learn how to effectively control and manage your emotional and psychological wellbeing.

Coping skills gained from therapy, interacting with medical staff, and discussing substance abuse with others undergoing substance abuse treatment is valuable.

When an individual leaves a rehab facility and returns to a former way of life, they may not know how to cope with their condition. This can make relapse and return to habitual drug abuse more likely.

Completing Alcohol And Drug Treatment

Inpatient and outpatient rehab is a fundamental part of substance abuse treatment and achieving sobriety for many individuals.

The process of recovery begins well before making the decision to enter a treatment program and does not end simply when an individual chooses to leave the treatment facility early.

Addiction is an ongoing process of managing health problems, difficult urges, emotions, and triggers that may lead an individual to return to substance abuse.

Leaving the treatment center early is often based on impulsive decisions due to unregulated emotions and uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal. The benefits of completing treatment include higher chances of long-term recovery and sobriety.

If you, a loved one, or other family members have questions about the benefits of staying in treatment or recovery programs available near you, connect with one of our treatment specialists today.