While there are over 20 million Americans who suffer from drug or alcohol addiction, estimates show that only 11 percent end up receiving treatment for their disorders. There are many factors that can influence someone to not seek out help, some of which may be mistaken notions about the process itself. Let us then take a look at five misconceptions about rehab that may be preventing people in need from getting help.
- It’s Too Expensive
The assumed cost of rehab is one of the most commonly met deterrents to seeking help. Nearly half of the people who suffer from substance abuse disorders decide to not look into treatment because they think it would exceed their financial possibilities or because they don’t have health insurance.
While it is true that treatment can sometimes be expensive, there are several ways available to help cover costs; for example, mental health and substance abuse services are seen as “essential health benefits” under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare as it is more widely known, and insurance companies are required to cover these services. Many are also unaware that Medicaid also covers drug treatment after being significantly expanded under ACA.
If lack of insurance is an issue, treatment facilities might have other payment options. Many of them offer lower rates to people paying out of pocket and they can also arrange for flexible payment plans.
Different facilities have different costs for their programs, which is why it’s generally a good idea to check with several providers. If cost is a factor, facilities that advertise themselves as “luxury” rehabs should be avoided, and outpatient therapy should perhaps also be considered, since it can be more affordable.
There’s also such a thing as partial hospitalization, or day rehab, which many programs offer. This means intensive care and therapy is provided during the day and in the evening, you can go home. Free resources are also available, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, among others.
- Treatment Is for When You’ve Already Hit Rock Bottom
While some people start seeking help after experiencing a significant blow, like a divorce, losing a job, and so on, it is by no means a prerequisite.
Treatment should be sought regardless of the stage of addictions; there is no way in which additional suffering is going to help. You don’t need to reach an all-time low to fully benefit from rehab.
This myth is particularly dangerous. Alcohol and drug addiction are progressive diseases and waiting to reach a point where you feel you can’t handle it anymore can have irreparable consequences. In the 15 years between 2000 and 2015, there were over half a million deaths because of drug overdoses, and a lot of those people probably believed they hadn’t yet hit rock bottom.
The longer you wait to get treatment, the more difficult recovery is going to be. Addiction puts a strain not only on yourself, but on those around you as well, and the more you damage a relationship, the harder it will be to salvage it later on.
- Rehab Is Akin to Jail
Most people who have never been to rehab probably picture it like some kind of jail or mental institution, where they’re locked away and stripped of their freedoms.
In reality, while all rehab centers differ, most of them strive to make sure their residents are comfortable. Some even provide swimming pools, fitness rooms, massages, and other such amenities, while many will also include family members in the treatment process.
Most rehabs will create an environment similar to camp: you’ll eat, sleep, and attend therapy sessions with other people who are recovering from addiction. You’ll also be kept busy with a range of activities that will help you master your addiction, like behavioral therapy, life skills training, relapse prevention training, and so on. Most rehabs also limit or outright forbid the use of personal cell phones and other electronic devices, but the goal isn’t to cut you off from the outside world, but to minimize distractions and keep you focused on your recovery. The purpose of rehab is to give you the tools to overcome addiction, and that requires structure and supervision.
One must remember that going to rehab is a voluntary choice, and by no means a sentence, as you can check yourself out at any time.
- Rehab Will Make You Feel Miserable
People considering treatment for substance abuse issues will often times worry that detox is painful, and while recovery isn’t easy, a medically supervised detox can significantly ease the side effects of withdrawal.
The first step of treatment is usually the detoxification process, which involves clearing your system of drugs or alcohol. Several physical side effects can occur as a result, but the intensity of the symptoms to withdrawal and the length of the process varies from person to person, depending also on the substances abused, as well as other factors.
For example, people going through opioid or heroin withdrawal may experience sweating, anxiety, muscle aches, vomiting, intense cravings, and several other symptoms which can be alleviated with medications.
Because withdrawal can be dangerous, detoxing is much safer when cared for by medical staff who can monitor your vital signs and provide treatment in the case of complications.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that withdrawal doesn’t last forever; detox usually lasts between 7 and 10 days, which is a relatively short period of discomfort for the advantages it offers.
- Once You Relapse, All Hope Is Lost
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, relapse is fairly common in recovery. Of all those who have been treated for drug addiction, between 40 and 60 percent relapse. However, that does not mean that the treatment has failed. Since substance use disorders are chronic diseases, a relapse just means that treatment needs to be reinstated or adjusted, or that other treatment methods should be tried.
Many see relapse as a personal failure, especially given the stigma that comes with addiction. This warped view can cause someone feelings of shame and guilt which can harden their desire to drink or use drugs. Overcoming this can be accomplished by treating addiction like other chronic illnesses, which are diseases that can be managed or controlled, but never really cured.
If you’re having doubts about seeking treatment, don’t let rumors or other people’s subjective opinions dissuade you; not everything you hear is true and no experience is the same for everyone. Research on your own and check out the facilities and what they offer for yourself.