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Research Supporting Efficacy of Faith Based Addiction Programs

Jul 16

While some studies suggest a high success rate for faith-based rehab, others have questions. Some patients may not be able to cooperate with treatment, or their beliefs may be contrary to the chosen religion. Faith-based programs may not work for everyone. Studies show that 40 to 60% patients relapse within the first 12 months. You should therefore carefully consider the success rate for faith-based rehabs.

Faith-based rehabs also offer patients valuable life lessons. For example, Christians find it easier than non-Christians to integrate into 12-step programs. These lessons increase the chances of long-term sobriety. Faith-based rehabs can help recovering addicts overcome their cravings, triggers, and encourage them to trust in an higher power. They also help patients to overcome shame.

Faith-based rehab programs might be a better option than traditional ones due to their effectiveness. They may not work for everyone, but they can divert criticism from non-faith-based programs. Each program has its advantages and disadvantages. It is important to understand the differences between faith-based rehab programs and secular rehab programs to make the best decision. Faith-based rehab programs are available at UCLA. They operate in conjunction with cognitive therapy and prescription drugs.

christian drug and alcohol program symbolized by the cross

One study published in the Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry investigated how faith based addiction interventions impact the long-term religiosity of clients and how that effects their chances of recovery over time. You can read the study abstract below. 

"Objective: To investigate the effects of developing religiosity on abstinence of substance abuse among recovering addicts in a faith-based and a secular-based treatment program. Methods: Religiosity of recovering addicts was measured using the 38-item Brief Multidimensional Measure of Religiousness/Spirituality at three points in time: at initiation of substance addiction treatment (wave 1), discharge from treatment (wave 2), and 6 months after treatment (wave 3). Latent growth curve modeling was used to assess the dynamic and developing effects of religiosity on after-treatment abstinence. Secular-based treatment emphasized the role of biological, psychological, and environmental determinants of substance abuse and provided detoxification interventions, such as counseling and group therapies, skill training, health care, and social support, however also relying on religious and spiritual growth to help recovery. Faith-based treatment fundamentally emphasized the Christian theory of addiction to consider substance abuse a sin caused by one’s spiritual void and separation from God, although it also acknowledged the importance of biological, psychological, and social needs of rehabilitants. Results: Recovering addicts in faith-based treatment had significantly higher levels of religiosity at each wave (intercept factor) and better religious development across the three waves (slope factor). This contributed to after-treatment abstinence and mediated the effect of treatment mode on after-treatment abstinence. Conclusion: Service practitioners and researchers should note the importance of dynamic and developing nature of religiosity in relation to the maintenance of abstinence after treatment is completed."

The study concluded that faith based treatments for addiction did result in higher religious connection over longer stretches of time, and also led to longer maintenance of sobriety after completing treatment. This research shows the potential that faith-based addiction programs can have in helping addicts and alcoholics to recover.