4 Reasons Why You Should Travel for Addiction Treatment
When someone is thinking about enrolling in addiction treatment, it may not cross their minds to attend a program outside their immediate area. Although traveling for addiction treatment may seem counterintuitive, it can be beneficial.
For someone dealing with substance abuse, treatment can be a life-or-death decision. Of the 2.3 million U.S. adults who needed addiction treatment in 2015, only 10 percent got help.
Here are four reasons why you should consider traveling for addiction treatment:
1. Traveling for Addiction Treatment Helps Avoid Leaving Treatment too Soon
Attending treatment close to home may be tempting, but it can cause some people to leave their treatment program too soon. Someone who travels for treatment will be less inclined to leave before they are meant to because it simply won’t be as convenient.
Wanting to leave treatment prematurely is a common fight-or-flight feeling among people who are newly enrolled in treatment. This is also called leaving treatment against medical advice or leaving AMA. It usually happens within the first few weeks of treatment, especially if treatment is the result of a family ultimatum or a court order.
The reality is, rehab is not jail. Anyone can leave whenever they wish. However, studies have indicated that individuals who do not spend the proper amount of time in treatment have an increased risk for relapse.
If Someone Leaves Treatment too Soon, Insurance May Not Cover the Costs
Many insurance companies require prior approval before they will pay for addiction treatment. In order to gain prior approval, individuals must be assessed by a medical professional, and their substance abuse treatment must be deemed medically necessary.
Once someone has used their benefit to pay for a program, it is unlikely that their insurance will cover another one if they leave that program against medical advice (AMA).
2. Finding a Treatment Program that Fits Your Needs
There is no one addiction treatment program that works for everyone. Because addiction is complex to treat, individuals must find a rehab center that fits their unique needs.
Different rehab centers will have various approaches to substance abuse treatment. When seeking treatment, it is vital to consider the type of services that will best fit your situation.
Factors to consider when picking a treatment program include:
- detox procedures
- potential insurance coverage
- the average length of stay
- specialty treatments (co-occurring disorders & holistic treatment methods)
- therapies offered
Researching the services that each rehab center offers will help you better understand what to expect during treatment.
Traveling for addiction treatment lets you pick a treatment facility perfectly suited to you or your loved ones’ substance abuse situation.
3. Find a Strong Recovery Community
Reputable rehab centers will be able to set individuals up with long-term recovery tools that may not be available in your backyard. Traveling for treatment helps people remove immediate distractions and focus solely on their recovery journey.
When someone attends addiction treatment close to home, it can be easy for them to continue to worry about their friends and family. They’ll want to leave treatment to attend to family issues. Although this is a normal response to being separated from your loved ones, it can make it difficult to focus on yourself and put your sobriety first. You have to help yourself first before you can help others.
It’s not typical for someone to check into drug rehab with a smile. While seeking addiction treatment is a positive first step, it can be tough to follow through on.
Receiving addiction treatment outside of your city or state may encourage people to look on the brighter side through new experiences and feelings of adventure.
Many people can benefit from traveling outside of their comfort zone for their substance abuse treatment.
4. New Environment and Increased Privacy
It is common for specific environments to trigger a newly sober person. When someone travels out of their area for addiction treatment, they can put some space between themselves and their old environment in which they abused substances.
Sometimes to succeed in addiction treatment, individuals need to remove themselves from old friends and possible triggers. Attending treatment that’s far from home can deter friends from stopping by and getting you off track.
Extracting people from their current situation is not the same as running from your problems. There’s a psychological benefit and a therapeutic component that ties into out-of-state addiction treatment.
Getting space from a bad situation can help individuals realize how bad it was for them to be there and make them more appreciative of the distance.
What Insurance Do I Need to Travel for Addiction Treatment?
Depending on your insurance policy, the cost of addiction treatment outside your area may or may not be covered.
Some insurance companies will not provide benefits for substance abuse treatment centers out of state. If your insurance does cover addiction treatment, you should take advantage of the benefit, even if it means staying in state.
Once you find a rehab that suits your needs, the best course of action is to reach out to them directly. Reputable rehab centers will have admissions specialists who can give you an obligation-free estimate of the cost to attend their treatment program.
Is Traveling for Addiction Treatment Right For Me?
Letting a substance abuse problem go untreated can lead to severe consequences, including physical and mental illness, legal issues, broken relationships, and even death.
Only you can decide if traveling for addiction treatment is right for you. But know that attending any sort of treatment is better than taking no action at all.
Tim Sinnott, LMFT LAADC
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