Why People Leave Rehab Early


Leaving Rehab Early is Usually a Mistake. It can mean that all the good work they’ve done up until that point gets wasted. This is because treatment is a process and in order to get the most from it, the individual has to see the process through to the end. By leaving rehab early the individual will be taking an unreasonable gamble with their recovery. In most cases, they will be sabotaging their own attempts to create a better future.

Common Reasons for Why People Leave Rehab Early

There are some common reasons for why people leave rehab early including:

  • They did not want to go there in the first place. If the individual has entered this facility under any type of coercion they might not feel committed to the treatment and may try to leave as soon as they have an excuse to do so.
  • The individual felt overwhelmed by their withdrawal symptoms and did not feel willing to continue with the process.
  • The person decides that they do not like rehab, and so they do not want to stay there any longer.
  • They come to the conclusion that they do not need rehab, and that they will be able to enter recovery without such help.
  • The individual is ambivalent about their recovery so they are not fully committed to it. As soon as things get hard in rehab it can tip the balance in favor of a return to addiction.

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Leaving Rehab as Sabotaging Recovery

In most instances leaving rehab early is a form of self-sabotage. By taking this action the individual is likely to relapse back to alcohol or drugs. Some of those who leave a treatment facility will be back to their addiction within hours. This is a real shame because it would have been a big step for the individual to have entered rehab in the first place. There is no guarantee that the individual will ever develop the willingness to attempt recovery again in the future. The decision to leave rehab can have dire consequences so it should never be taken lightly.

Dangers of Leaving Rehab Early

It may be that there is a tiny minority of people who check out of rehab early and do manage to stay sober, but in the vast majority of cases, it leads to negative consequences. The dangers of an early exit from this facility include

  • The individual will not be prepared for the transition back home so they will likely be overwhelmed by familiar temptations.
  • If the individual feels like they have had a bad experience they will likely use this as a justification for a return to alcohol and drugs.
  • Those who flee treatment while overly emotional (e.g. angry) will not think rationally and so are likely to make bad choices.
  • Nobody knows how many chances the individual will get at recovery – some people only seem to get one shot because they never summon up the determination to quit again. This means that by leaving rehab the individual might be blowing their only chance of a good life.
  • The individual can use this bad experience as an excuse to never consider rehab again.

How to Deal with the Urge to Check Out of Rehab

It is common for people to have periods during their stay in rehab when they just want to leave. The best way to deal with this urge will be to:

  • Speak to one of the counselors or therapists. These professionals will have dealt with this situation a thousand times and will be able to offer good guidance.
  • Mention these feelings in the group. Sometimes just getting these thoughts out into the open can be enough to see them for what they are.
  • If the individual feels desperate to leave they should delay for 24 hours – those who leave impulsively are the most likely to regret the decision. Most often the person will find that by delaying the urge to leave rehab disappears.
  • The person needs to carefully consider the ramifications of leaving treatment. This means not only considering how it will impact their future but also how it will impact the future of their loved ones.


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