All other things being the same, the type of culture a drug rehab program is in will greatly influence the type of treatment patients will receive. Dallas and the rest of North Texas had a historic role in bringing about alcohol prohibition in the early 20th century.
Then, as now drug treatment, rehabilitation, and the surrounding attitudes towards were strongly influenced by religion
According to the Pew Research Center, about 81% of Texans consider themselves to belong to some kind of organized religion, with about 77% of all adults professing belief in one of the many forms of Christianity. Dallas is almost unusual among major American metropolitan areas for the high number of Christians, with about 4 in 5 Dallasites claiming to be Christian.
This faith is reflected in the types of drug treatment and rehab programs available in the Dallas-Forth Worth-Arlington metro. Many Dallasites with drug and alcohol use problems may feel that secular or non-religious treatment programs may not adequately address their spiritual needs, thus fueling a continued strong demand for faith-based rehabs.
What are faith-based rehab programs?
Faith-based rehab programs include some kind of religious or spiritual component as part of the treatment approach. The most famous faith-based programs are perhaps Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.
It’s worth noting that not all “faith-based” does not always imply the same thing. While religion and spirituality can be a major component of some programs, they may only be touched on in passing in others.
It should also be pointed out that in the American context, “faith-based” almost always implies the program has Christian components. However, there are also non-denominational faith-based substance rehab programs as well as programs espousing other religions such as Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and others.
What are the criticisms of Christian/ faith-based rehabs?
Faith-based rehabilitation has often been criticized elsewhere for allegedly not being “evidence-based”, as many secular rehabs tend to brand themselves. This necessarily implies that they may be less effective.
But, while that might be true for some cases, it does not mean faith-based drug and alcohol rehab has no value. As we’ll explore further, faith still clearly has a role to play in treating substance use disorders — especially in the Dallas area.
Studies that support faith-based drug rehabilitation
Multiple studies support the idea that religious practices in rehab programs can be effective. This seems to be more true when the program aligns with an individual’s beliefs. Perhaps driving home this idea, non-religious people do better in secular programs, such as SMART Recovery. This seems to indicate that individuals in need of treatment should sign up for programs that already aligned with their belief system.
There are also some comparative studies that show Christian or Bible-based drug rehab initiatives significantly outperformed secular counterparts. Recidivism and drug use seems to be much lower among participants who undergo the recovery process in a faith-based program.
There is also a study co-written by researchers at the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University and the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation published in 2019 that concluded that faith was “indispensable” in substance rehab. This is due to the better success rates of most faith-based recovery programs and initiatives that try to prevent substance misuse. The study further notes that these programs contribute “$316.6 billion in savings to the US economy every year at no cost to tax payers”.
Why does faith-based rehab work?
Why faith-based substance rehab initiatives are more effective than secular ones is not definitively known. However, a recent Brazilian study indicates that it may be down to the strong support and community offered by different religions. Religion can be as much about one’s identity, place in a group, and protecting “one’s own” as it is following scripture and practices. This may be why non-religious people tend to do better in secular programs as well.
What can you expect at a Christian/faith-based rehab?
Contrary to what some people might expect, the vast majority of faith-based rehabs employ conventional evidence-based approaches. This is similar to how hospitals associated with religions primarily employ modern medicine.
Conventional treatments such as group therapy, individual counseling, cognitive-behavioral therapy, drug substitution, supervised detox, and withdrawal management are all standard in most faith-based programs.
As expected, faith-based rehabs will have a spiritual or religious component. This might include religious meditation, daily prayers, Bible/ scriptural study, religious services among others. Some may use a non-denominational though definitively faith-based approach to serve a wider community.
Contrary to what you might expect, faith-based programs lead the way in recovery rates throughout America. This may have to do with the fact that a handy majority of Americans still profess some kind of faith, even after a decades-long trend towards secularism.
Regardless, the main consensus is that individuals with substance use disorders tend to have better rehab outcomes if they join a program that aligns with their way of thinking.
The implication is so long as Dallasites and other Americans remain faithful, there will be a place for some kind of faith-based substance use rehab and prevention initiatives. Indeed, the 2019 Baylor study found that 73% percent of substance rehab programs in America had some faith-based element, which closely mirrors the rate of religiosity in the country.
If you or someone you know is interested in finding a faith-based substance rehab program, get in touch with our team at Dallas Drug Treatment Centers. We can connect you with a selection of residential and outpatient programs that align with your beliefs. Stay healthy, and be well!