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Is Rehab for Me?

What rehab offers and two alternatives to residential treatment.

You can recover from addiction.
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The cost of addiction treatment can be considerable, especially for individuals who don’t have insurance or who rely on state-funded programs like Medicaid. Is the expense worth it? The research says yes, if the person stays in treatment long enough to receive its full benefits.

Here are some considerations when determining whether or not rehab is right for you or the one you love, and two alternatives if you decide that going to rehab isn’t the best choice.

Resources: Quality addiction treatment programs have more resources to provide to their clients than individuals can generally find on their own. Outside of a treatment setting, it’s not easy to schedule individual therapy two or three times a week, group process work, acupuncture, yoga, complementary therapies like music or art, and specialized treatments for trauma or co-occurring disorders. In a good treatment center, these programs and more are on the weekly schedule. All one has to do is show up and participate to their best ability.

Relapse prevention: Many people find that they need more support than what they can get outside of residential treatment, especially in the early days of recovery. Being in a secure environment allows people to remove themselves from the temptations and stresses of daily life. Additionally, the continuous and specialized treatment one has in rehab can provide a firm foundation for recovery. This is especially true for people who can stay in for the full duration that is medically suggested and then go into a supportive aftercare setting, like a sober living house.

Aftercare: In addition to a foundation for living clean, addiction treatment facilities help their clients find resources for care after they leave the facility. This means that those who go to rehab may have a more seamless continuation of care than those who have to find the resources they need on their own. When an individual leaves a treatment facility, s/he will have the names of, if not appointments with, treatment providers near their home: a psychotherapist, a list of 12-step or other support meetings, and professionals with other forms of supportive care to provide. These professionals will be vetted and have openings for the person leaving treatment, without a wait.

A break from difficult relationships: Going into a treatment center can give a person a break from toxic relationships with family, friends, and nonsupportive others. With distance, skills can be learned to mend broken relationships that are reparable and find ways to end relationships that do not support recovery.

Focus on health: Most addiction treatment facilities focus on good health, in addition to psychological well-being. They may have trainers or nutritionists on staff, provide healthy meals, schedule activities like hikes, swimming, or surfing, and have recreational activities. Almost all will teach meditation in one form or another.

Courage: Perhaps one of the most underrated things that an addiction treatment facility can provide is courage—the courage to try new things, uncover wounds, or express feelings that seem too big to face. In rehab, people find the support of caring professionals and peers who are going through the program. The bonds of shared experience provide a unique kind of connection that isn’t found in many places outside of treatment.

Treatment alternatives: Not convinced that rehab is right for you? There are alternatives to going it alone. Please note that these alternatives to residential addiction treatment may cost as much if not more than a mid-price treatment center, and most often are not covered by insurance. Budget $20,000 to $50,000/month for the services listed below, depending on the level of care needed. Though costly, these options can be very effective.

Concierge doctors are physicians who provide services to their patients in the patient’s home. They will have a list of resource providers, many of whom will also come to the patient’s home. This means that instead of going to a treatment center, psychotherapists, yoga instructors, music therapists, acupuncturists, and others. will provide services in the home or nearby. These services are coordinated by the physician’s office and are occasionally billable to insurance. Costs run up quickly, as each service is billed separately. While convenient, the downside to these services is they lack the 24/7 support one has in a residential treatment facility.

Sober companions are individuals in recovery from addiction who work with those who are trying to become/remain clean but don’t have the ability to go to a treatment setting. Sober companions are not baby sitters; they cannot guarantee anyone’s recovery, nor do they chase down people who want to use. But they can help willing individuals who live in remote areas or have jobs that require constant travel. A sober companion can help an individual structure their day, get to appointments, and be a sounding board for making good choices.

There are no regulations for sober companions, so beware. Sober companion agencies vet their companions and may provide some case management. They also cost more than hiring an individual outside of an agency. Expect sober companion services to run around $1500/day or more through an agency, and if you want the companion to live in, they’ll have their own room and other needs

Whether you choose rehab or an alternative, the most effective way to overcome addiction is with support. The more support an individual is willing to accept, the greater the chance of long-term recovery.

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