Substance abuse is a problem that shows no signs of letting up. As of 2016, an estimated one in seven Americans met the criteria for what the US Surgeon General’s Office considers substance addiction. Some people struggle with an inability to quit drinking. For others, it’s opioids like prescription painkillers.
But regardless of the substance, only 10 percent of those addicted get help. There are several barriers to treatment. For some people, insurance coverage is the problem. Others get paralyzed by all the decisions that come after you say, “I need treatment.” Here’s what you need to know when deciding on a location to seek substance abuse treatment.
Staying at home vs. going away
The first decision to make seems simple on the surface: should you stay home or go to a facility that’s 50, 100, or even 1,000 miles away from where you live?
The answer depends a lot on the nature of your substance abuse problem. For instance, alcohol rehab programs are relatively easy to find. If you live anywhere near a big city, you’ll probably be able to find some kind of suitable program to help you get sober.
But more specialized problems require more specialized help, and that may require traveling a bit. While alcoholism is most common in adults, it can and does affect teenagers as well. Young people between the ages of 12 and 20 consume more than 90 percent of their alcohol via binge drinking.
A young teen is more likely to drink alcohol than they are to consume marijuana or cigarettes. And the younger you start drinking, the more likely you are to become dangerously dependent on alcohol at some point in life. If alcohol addiction happens, they need to go to a facility that’s designed to treat young people dealing with substance abuse. A teenagers’ brain isn’t fully formed, and rehab for a 17-year-old is different than rehab for a 27-year-old or 37-year-old.
Such facilities can also address any co-existing disorders. For instance, a transgender teen with an alcohol problem might also benefit from transgender depression treatment.
The friends and family factor
You also need to factor in just how much staying near friends and family can trigger your substance abuse issues. It’s not uncommon to drink as a response to a problem that makes you feel helpless. If a family member is abusive, you might want to get as far away from them as possible when you begin your recovery.
On the other hand, there are plenty of cases where the issues develop separately from whatever problems might exist within the family structure. Your family may want the chance to support you as you recover.
If you’re lucky enough to have a supportive routine in place, maybe staying close to home will provide you with more stability. Participating in family traditions like hanging up red and white Christmas lights can be quite soothing. A sense of stability can’t cure everything, but it also can’t hurt when you’re trying to tackle something as huge as addiction.
Weighing the financial costs
Then there’s your financial situation. Finding a facility that accepts your insurance can be challenging, but it’s by no means impossible. It often just means looking around a little bit and calling as many places as you can find. Many facilities are happy to take down your insurance plan information and tell you if you’ll be covered.
However, that can present one more complication. If you’re like most Americans, you receive employee-sponsored health insurance. Taking too much time off work to get better shouldn’t cause you to lose your job, but that might happen unless you’re eligible for time off under the Family Medical Leave Act. Even if you are, that doesn’t mean you’ll get paid for that time off.
You don’t have to tell your employer everything about why you need time off, but it might not be a bad idea to consult with HR about your medical leave options.