Deciding to pursue treatment for substance abuse is commendable. You or your loved one should feel proud for seeking out help when it’s needed. Whether treatment is voluntary or court-ordered, the ultimate goal is to complete the program and reap the benefits of seeing it through. Choosing to leave treatment too soon is dangerous for many reasons. For starters, you won’t be able to take full advantage of the many resources available during the journey to healing and wellness.
Even if you believe that you are ready to leave the program, there is a high likelihood that more time is required to achieve the desired outcomes. Keep in mind that the professionals who designed the program are fully aware of how much time is typically needed. More importantly, you are not truly ready to leave until a clinical team has provided clearance. They are well-versed in the steps and the time required to achieve success.
Reasons Some People Want to Leave Treatment Early
There are different reasons why someone might want to leave treatment early. Common issues include not wanting to follow the rules or abide by requirements. Some program participants were never really on board with starting the program, and their desire to be elsewhere increased. Others began the process eager to participate, appreciated the help provided, but then started feeling like they no longer needed help staying sober. Some participants want to leave because of cravings and a desire to obtain alcohol or drugs.
Given the varied reasons you might feel like you want to leave, it’s important to decide in advance to see it through until the end. Even if you start to feel like there isn’t enough progress being made, consider that your perception may not be accurate. The clinical team is in a better position to provide an unbiased assessment of what has occurred and how much more time is needed.
Why Exiting a Treatment Program Early is Dangerous
If you have thoughts of exiting a treatment program before being cleared by the clinical staff, consider the risks involved. A key problem is that you may lose all of the progress made and end up right back where you started. Starting over can feel discouraging and create more challenges than you may realize. Continuing is a lot easier than starting over. Here are a few more difficulties that may arise when you leave a treatment program early:
- Potentially severe and life-threatening withdrawal symptoms
- Serious medical complications associated with detoxing
- Mental and emotional health challenges
- Increased risk of overdosing
Sometimes a person decides to leave a program early because they are now more confident about handling things on their own. While this is a good sign because it means progress has been made, choosing to leave would still be unwise. Why? Because leaving early under any circumstance increases your risk of having a relapse. Completing a drug treatment program often means you have gained the resources and skills needed to remain sober. Leaving early, not being prepared and having a relapse can ultimately impact your confidence and outlook on life.
What to Do When You Want to Leave Treatment Early
If you have thought about leaving treatment early, there are steps that you can take to address your feelings. Many people have considered exiting a treatment program without actually doing it. Know that you are not alone when these feelings arise. One of the first steps you should take is to talk to your therapist or staff in the program. They can provide support and help you understand some of the reasons you have those thoughts. When receiving treatment, keep in mind that you have a team of professionals dedicated to helping you throughout the program.
Wanting to leave is something that you don’t have to handle on your own. You can receive guidance from people who want you to succeed in the program and life. Try to avoid making a quick decision about something that can impact the rest of your life. Focus on taking advantage of the resources available to you and how they can help to improve your life. It’s a valuable opportunity, and you will likely regret walking away from it. If you have any questions about treatment for drugs or alcohol addiction, call us today at 302-842-2390 to get the guidance you need. Now is the time for you or your loved one to begin the recovery journey.