In 2019, 21.6 million people, or 7.8% of the adult U.S. population, needed substance abuse treatment. At the same time, just 4.6 million of those received treatment, or just 1.5% of the total U.S. population. With some of the barriers to receiving treatment including local availability of treatment, concerns over reputation, and ability to get away from everyday life and responsibilities, traveling to rehab makes a lot of sense for many. On the other hand, budget concerns are also a major issue, which might rule out traveling to or staying at an out-of-state rehab facility.
If you’re considering traveling to an out-of-state or international rehab program, there’s a lot to think about. Traveling to rehab offers many advantages over attending a local program but definitely comes with downsides as well. Understanding the factors involved will help you to make the right choice for yourself, your friends and family, and your budget.
Pros of Traveling to Rehab
Out-of-State rehab has a lot to offer for most individuals. Here, benefits primarily revolve around wealth of choice, anonymity, and the need to heavily emotionally and mentally commit to what you are doing. These factors can play a large role in your outcomes but may not be priorities for your own treatment.
Choice – Choosing the right addition treatment facility for your needs can be daunting. There are thousands in the U.S. At a local level, you probably only have 1 or 2 options unless you live in a very large city. Those options are likely outpatient, although they might have inpatient offerings as well. Broadening your search horizons allows you to select for quality of care, treatment types, graduation rate, etc. It also allows you to look for specific credentials such as Joint Commission Accreditation (JCAHO) or therapists with specific licensing. Overall, traveling to rehab means you can choose from more and therefore potentially higher treatment centers.
Anonymity – Many people worry about anonymity when attending rehab. This is especially true if you have a high-profile job or work in an industry with an enforceable code of ethics. Many working professionals find that traveling to rehab is safer and easier than attending a local treatment center. Being able to attend treatment, see specialists, and freely talk with the people around you – without having to worry about word of your addiction getting back to your boss or your firm – can provide the freedom you need to focus on recovery.
A Fresh Start – Traveling to rehab means you leave behind expectations, pressure, relationships, and responsibilities. It can mean freeing yourself from triggers and negative influence in your daily environment. Living in a new place, without the burden of those pressures and responsibilities allows you to focus on recovery, to build the foundations for growth, and to put yourself first for that period. People with busy jobs, busy families, and friends or family who are triggering can greatly benefit from this.
Making a Choice – Packing up and driving or flying to a treatment center is a big emotional step. It requires determination and it can help you solidify your goals and choices in your mind. That commitment will make it easier to stick to the treatment for the duration of the program. It also makes it harder to go out and buy drugs or alcohol while in treatment, simply because you’re in a completely new place with new people.
You can also consider that many destination recovery centers offer a peaceful and stress-free environment, usually in beautiful surroundings. With comfortable facilities for recovery, catered food, and maybe even a beach, you can cut down on the stress of attending rehab by relaxing in your spare time. Of course, it’s still work, but the environment and the activities will likely be a lot more pretty and serene. Essentially, there are plenty of reasons to choose to travel to rehab. You should balance those with the following cons of doing so. (JCHAO for recovery
Be Brave. Get Help.
Cons of Traveling to Rehab
While traveling to rehab can make your stint in recovery more comfortable, anonymous, and higher quality, there are still reasons you might not want to go. The cons of traveling to rehab include:
Less Support from Family – If you’re closely connected to friends and family and are relying on them for support, traveling to rehab might be less ideal. In some cases, you can still ask family to visit you, especially for family therapy weekends, but the further away you are, the less possible this becomes. If you want constant contact with family and friends or family or relationship hierarchy therapy, consider attending something closer to home – providing it offers those options.
Budget – Your insurance will cover at least part of your treatment no matter what. They might not cover the costs of traveling, the costs of residential stay at a rehab facility, or similar costs. Contact your insurance provider to see how much they cover, which aspects of care they cover, and whether they cover the facility you’ve chosen. Depending on your provider, this might range from a considerable amount to nothing at all. If your budget is tight, traveling to rehab might not be the best choice. Note that you can often work out some of the costs of travel with the rehab provider.
Aftercare Options – If you do travel to rehab, it’s important to check that your facility offers aftercare support in your area or will connect you to groups in your area. Facilitating your move from residential care to everyday life. People maintain recovery when they have access to aftercare, group support, and ongoing therapy. If your rehab center cannot offer that to where you live, you probably want to pick another one.
Essentially, if you want family support or need to connect with family during treatment, traveling for treatment is not likely a good idea. Similarly, if your insurance doesn’t cover enough of the treatment to fit into your budget, you might want to stay close to home.
Making a Decision that’s Right for You
Traveling for rehab can be a good idea for many people. Getting away from the people and places you know, and therefore the stress and triggers you’re accustomed to, can greatly help with focusing on learning the base skills you need to cope with those stresses and triggers. It can help you to build a foundation while in a safe place to do so.
At the same time, traveling to rehab isn’t right for everyone. Your best option is to review your personal needs, check budget issues, and then make a decision. Good luck with rehab.