What If I Leave Drug Rehab?

There is no doubt about it – getting sober is hard. In attending an extended-stay program at an inpatient treatment center, you are committing to completely and thoroughly changing your lifestyle, as well as addressing painful core issues that you may have kept buried inside for years upon years. Recalling past traumatic experiences is extremely uncomfortable, while it is undeniably a crucial component of overcoming addiction and moving forward with your life. Many individuals who commit to treatment will end up leaving against the recommendation of doctors and therapists, undergoing what is referred to as an AMA (against medical advice). Those who AMA are not allowing themselves the opportunity to truly reap the benefits of completing a treatment program, and are infinitely more likely to relapse than those who complete their whole stay.

Why Do People Leave Rehab Early?

There are several common reasons as to why an individual may leave rehab prematurely:

  • He or she did not want to attend drug rehab in the first place. A court may have ordered attendance, or parents may have given their child ultimatums. If one is not truly ready to get sober, they are more likely to AMA.
  • Symptom of withdrawal may be physically overwhelming, causing a patient to leave in order to seek relief. This is why it is absolutely crucial one go to a medical detoxification clinic before entering treatment.
  • In inability to relate and an inclination to compare can be extremely detrimental to recovery, and can prevent a person from seeing similarities between themselves and other patients. This can lead to a feeling of “I’m not like these people” – which really, ultimately, simply is not true.
  • An individual may begin to feel emotionally uncomfortable, and run away from facing his or her past traumatic experiences by leaving against medical advice.
  • Those who have unrealistic expectations may leave rehab early when those expectations are not met. If someone naively believes they will be “cured” in a week, they will be disappointed and risk leaving prematurely.

In the vast, vast majority of cases, leaving drug rehab early is a mistake. No one winds up in an extended-stay inpatient treatment center by accident. It is best to take advantage of the opportunity and ride it out – in the end, you will only benefit from truly accepting and involving yourself in the experience.


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