Rehab Questions Answered: What Everyone Should Know About Rehab

Last Updated: June 10, 2020

Addiction is a condition characterized by incessant, compulsive seeking, and use of psychotropic substances (alcohol, drugs) despite negative mental, social, and physical consequences. It is usually accompanied by physical and psychological dependence on the abused substance. If use decreases rapidly or is terminated, there are withdrawal symptoms, ranging from tremors and anxiety to seizures. Addiction is not considered a disease, because that implies it can be controlled or overcome by the use of medication. It is a condition that can be treated by means of medically-assisted detox and psychotherapy.

When Does Use Become Addiction?

According to recent data, there are 24 million drug addicts in the United States. Few of them would be able to say exactly when their use of a particular substance transformed into abuse and dependence. There are as many reasons why people get addicted to drugs as there are addicts, but what they all have in common is that none of them started using drugs with the intention of becoming addicts. Quite a number of addicts share they just wanted to “try” something once. In some cases, addicted started using a certain substance to suppress negative feelings or symptoms of mental disorders. For others, the environment played a role – many had friends or family members who were using or were addicted to drugs. At present, there are no specific criteria to determine whether a person is likely to become addicted to a controlled or illicit substance because most personality inventories center on current addicts, which makes the causal relationship unclear. Drug-related issues are not only long-lasting, but get worse if left untreated, with the ultimate outcome being irreparable harm to the addict and his or her loved ones.

Can A Person Beat Addiction Alone?

It can be difficult, and dangerous, to try to overcome addiction without medical help. Recovering alone is possible if addiction is not severe, with physical addiction being a big part of severity.

Withdrawal can be dangerous in certain situations – people have suffered seizures, strokes, or heart attacks as their bodies tried to adjust without the drugs. However, even milder addiction can be hard to escape from. With psychological addiction, one is trapped by feelings of guilt and anxiety as well as relentless cravings. These aspects create enormous pressure that can drive an addict back into substance abuse while trying to quit.

When Does an Individual Need Rehab?

This can be a difficult question to answer, particularly if “do one need rehab” is a question a person is posing to themselves. It’s hard to be objective when it comes to drug and alcohol addiction, especially about one’s own issues, but generally, a person who realizes the problem is already on the road to recovery. This, however, is a long and thorny route. According to data of SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2012, only 10% of individuals who were dependent on narcotic substances had access to a rehab facility. A lot of people believe they don’t need treatment because of misjudging the severity of the addiction. Additionally, there is a series of criteria to meet, which are laid out in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

People who can’t stop taking a particular drug even though they’re aware the risks may decide to get treatment. Additional criteria, such as developing physical or psychological conditions or illnesses due to drug abuse and developing tolerance toward the drug – needing more and more of it to get the desired effect – are implicated in this decision.

How To Get Someone Into Rehab?

No matter what a person who is addicted to drugs says, no one wants to be an addict. Deep down, each and every addict wants to get and stay clean. People frequently realize the damage being done to themselves and others and want to stop, but can’t cope with the guilt, cravings, and depression that are part and parcel of substance abuse. Sometimes addicts feel that the only way to function normally or even feel normal is under the influence. They will tell their loved ones they intend to get help or anything else their loved ones might want to hear in a desperate attempt to keep taking their substance of choice. Still others will flat out refuse to get help or even talk about addiction. An alternative way of getting someone into rehab is via a court order if the person has been charged with a drug-related crime.
Family members of a drug addict will find pursuing him or her via statutory measures to be a quick route to court-appointed rehab, especially if a judge thinks the person might find rehab helpful. This requires some daring moves on the part of the addict’s family, such as reporting them to the authorities for taking or selling illicit substances and then having to deal with their anger and resentment.

How Much Does Addiction Recovery Cost?

Therapy centers, rehab facilities, and third-party services providers can all offer evaluations. In some cases, the evaluations are free. Sometimes, however, they can cost hundreds of dollars. If the individual goes to a facility, the evaluation is often free. However, the treatment itself is rarely free. To get an idea of how expensive addiction recovery is, a comparison of different addiction treatment options may be helpful. The total cost of treatment depends on the type of facility one chooses or needs to attend. Inpatient treatment is more expensive because the patient lives on the premises of the facility and food and accommodation costs factor into the overall price. Additionally, these facilities provide 24/7 medical supervision, which doesn’t come cheap. Insurance may cover all or some of the costs for detox, which can be as much as $700 a day depending on one’s specific needs.
Normally, out-of-pocket costs for a detox program can range from $250 to $650 for Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP). These programs provide forms of peer support, host recovery groups and medical detox treatments. With PHP, patients visit a treatment facility four times a week on average for five hours at a time, and then come home to their family. This option reduces costs a great deal in comparison with a residential program because the patient doesn’t need to pay room and board. Neither are other living expenses an issue. Normally, PHPs cost clients $400 a day on average and last several weeks.

Will Insurance Cover My Treatment?

When it comes to paying for rehab, out of pocket isn’t the only option. It is possible to recover with Medicaid and Medicare, as well as Obamacare. Both Medicare and Medicaid offer plans with low or no co-pays incorporating a wide array of substance abuse and addiction treatments, including rehab. Medicaid provides insurance coverage for individuals and families who can’t afford private insurance. Pregnant women, people over 65 and under 19, parents, and individuals are earning an income of a certain level qualify for this program. It is possible to apply based on limited income alone depending on the state – some states offer more expanded Medicaid coverage than others.
Medicare is a public program offering insurance coverage to disabled persons or persons over 65. It is helpful in cases where a person’s medical expenses are much higher than average. It is also possible to apply for Medicaid and/or Medicare if the private insurance coverage doesn’t pay for rehab or other forms of addiction treatment. The person must prove financial need and inability to pay their current insurance premiums.
Both Medicaid and Medicare are comprised of a network of approved professional practices – neither of them is a health care provider on their own. They have different plans covering various treatment options. In most states, people who receive coverage from Medicaid do not have to pay for addiction treatment services additionally. There is an out-of-pocket limit that applies to persons receiving Medicaid coverage in the states that do require co-payments.

Medicaid covers a number of addiction treatment methods, including the following:

  • Long-term residential treatment / inpatient rehab
  • Interventions
  • Individual and group behavioral therapy
  • Cognitivebehavioral therapy
  • Family behavior therapy
  • Other therapy methods

Medicaid also covers medication administered to treat withdrawal symptoms and help individuals in recovery stay sober, such as naltrexone and methadone to treat opioid use disorders, and disulfiram to treat alcohol addiction disorder.
Under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), health insurance providers have to cover addiction treatment and recovery. Individuals get financial aid to recover from alcohol or drug addiction when they sign up for health insurance. Obamacare prohibits insurance providers from denying a person coverage because of a pre-existing disorder, comorbid condition, age or other factors, offers low-income families discounts and subsidies, and covers mental health and substance use disorder treatment, including counseling, behavioral health treatment, and psychotherapy, as well as prescription drugs.

How Long Does a Rehab Program Last?

How Long Does Rehab Take
When a recovering addict chooses to get long-term treatment, they will spend at least 120 days in an inpatient facility. These programs offer a structured, intensive therapeutic approach as their professional staff is aware that discontinuing the use of a given substance isn’t enough to overcome an addiction. People suffering from addiction disorder find this focused, professional and evidence-based treatment very helpful. As a relatively long form of treatment, it helps heal dependence and makes it easier for the recovering person to stay sober and clean.

Studies have shown that people who spend up to 12 months in a recovery program demonstrate better outcomes in terms of being able to stay sober. Long-term treatment centers make it possible to focus on behavior and causes of the addiction, not only its effects. Another advantage of long-term rehab facilities is the fact that they give more time to learn sober living behavior. A long-term addiction treatment plan is often divided into several stages, beginning with medically-assisted detox, going on to therapy, and ending with setting up an aftercare plan. Some long-term rehab centers also offer outpatient services, which are a better idea if the person isn’t able or doesn’t want to stop working or going to college and would prefer to live at home while getting treatment. Detox continues over a period of several days and is followed by 90 to 120 days of intensive therapy aimed at understanding and potentially eliminating the causes of addiction.

Treatment sessions can take place at various times throughout the week. Generally, outpatient rehab facilities provide short-term drug rehabilitation treatment – a month on average. The greater level of flexibility makes it possible for recovering addicts to continue with their everyday lives. They only need to check into treatment regularly for counseling and possibly to receive medication. There is also the option of continuing with outpatient treatment after completing a residential drug treatment program. Outpatient programs come in a variety of forms and varying levels of intensity. The focus of their diverse services is on education, counseling, and establishing a support network. They are a good choice for those looking for a flexible program to fit into their schedules, but are firmly committed to achieving sobriety regardless.

Choosing a Facility

Many of the key factors involved in choosing a facility and type of treatment are not specifically connected to the treatment methodology itself. Factors like price, flexibility, distance to the center, support network, and aftercare planning are very significant – they can make the difference between recovery and failure. The issue of what to expect from rehab, however, is no less crucial.
Usually, patients in a residential facility are required to get up early. The morning in rehab begins with some sort of relaxing activity, such as yoga or meditation, to help clear the mind and prepare the individual for the day’s activities. After breakfast, a therapist or counselor will lead a group therapy session involving lectures and discussions of the main elements of addiction, the motivation to get sober, and the treatment process. In the afternoon, the patients undergo intensive therapy, which can involve group therapy again, individual therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, or family therapy. Some facilities offer art and equine therapy as well. These are generally on the more upscale end. Ideally, the rehab therapists will design an individual action plan for each patient, which might involve alternating attendance of various therapy sessions on different days of the week.

Types of Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy has been found particularly useful in treating addiction because of its focus on behavior. A CBT counselor will point out unhealthy and inadequate responses to sadness, stress, and other unavoidable aspects of life. These responses and forms of behavior are typical of most drug addicts. Changing how they respond to stress – finding an alternative to drugs as a source of calmness and hope – is crucial in terms of attaining long-term recovery. CBT analyzes reactions in certain situations and teaches patients to respond in more suitable and healthier ways.
Finally, group therapy provides a way for former addicts to encourage one another in challenging stages of the recovery process by connecting and sharing personal stories, be they stories of triumphs or failures. This promotes honesty and helps eradicate denial. Listening to stories is helpful for everyone in the group because the similarities between those who deny and those who admit to being addicted start to become evident. Talks about life after rehab can be particularly beneficial.

How To Get Ready for Rehab?

Getting ready for rehab is a key stage of the recovery process. If the individual decides on an inpatient facility, they must fulfill all work-related and financial obligations before they go. According to SAMHSA, an addict’s loved ones often have a bigger wish to achieve a healthy family system and structure than the addict himself, thus helping him or her stick with treatment through periods of doubt and disillusionment with recovery. It is important to spend a lot of time with loved ones before leaving to reduce anxiety and depression. Parents who decide to travel for rehab are advised to ask the treatment center if it provides child care services or will allow their child or children to stay with them in rehab. Before entering rehab, some people struggle with intense anxiety. They find things like going for walks or DIY helpful in preparing for rehab both emotionally and mentally.

What Things To Take To Rehab?

The list of essentials isn’t long at all, and must be observed, because the last thing one wants in rehab is to realize they forgot something they can’t do without. This includes medication currently being taken and the respective prescriptions, ID documents, insurance cards, important contact information of physicians and loved ones, and a source of money in case unplanned expenses come up (debit or credit card).

Is Drug Rehab Effective?

Does rehab guarantee a successful outcome? This is the most frequent question, and the most difficult one to answer. The issue of effectiveness is highly dependent on the individual. Sometimes, addicts’ friends and loved ones do all they can to help them out when they are having problems with drug abuse. This includes helping them get out of jail, paying their rent, paying their bills or helping them raise their kids. A common concern about rehab relates to its cost, but the price of addiction is higher almost 100% of the time, especially in certain circumstances – thefts, for example, are very common when the addict is working in the family business or living with family members.

Page Sources

  1. Hesse M. What does addiction mean to me. Mens Sana Monographs. 2006; 4(1): 104–126. doi:10.4103/0973-1229.27609.
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Why is it so hard to quit drugs?
  3. National Institute on Drug Abuse. How effective is drug addiction treatment? 2018.
  4. National Institute on Drug Abuse. How long does drug addiction treatment usually last? 2018.

Published on: November 2nd, 2016

Updated on: June 10th, 2020


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