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Should I Travel for Rehab?

After making the incredible decision to seek help for a drug or alcohol addiction, it is time to make the critical decision on which rehab facility to attend. With thousands of treatment facilities across the U.S., each is unique in its environment, treatments offered, and overall quality, with countless other factors that determine how effective it will be for each individual.

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Traveling for Rehab

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Benefits of Traveling for Rehab

One of the largest factors patients must decide on is whether to seek treatment locally or out-of-state. There are pros and cons to each decision, but both offer hands-on patient care and the opportunity to live sober.
Often, traveling to a new city or state is the most effective rehab option, as most cities do not have high-quality treatment options available to their residents. No treatment center is best for everyone, and it is very unlikely that the best facility for a patient is local to them. Only a few states have any significant amount of accredited, high-quality treatment centers within 100 miles of each other. Those willing to travel, and especially travel to these treatment hubs, have much greater options available to them in choosing the best treatment program and facility for their needs.

"To be effective, treatment must address the individual's drug abuse and any associated medical, psychological, social, vocational, and legal problems".

There are real psychological and therapeutic benefits of traveling for rehab. Traveling for rehab puts the patient in the mindset of being on the path toward recovery, giving them the vital feeling of getting a fresh start. It makes breaking their cycle of addiction easier by helping them leave any personal, mental, and emotional baggage they may be carrying. Relapse prevention is also a benefit, as physical separation from addiction triggers will help reduce future urges to use. That physical separation also manifests as a mental separation that can reinforce the patient’s commitment to rehabilitation. 

Being far from home is also the most effective preventative at keeping a patient from leaving treatment early and against medical advice, or AMA. The physical distance and unfamiliarity of the area will significantly increase the person’s chance of successfully completing their program. Completing a rehab program is especially important if the treatment is being paid either partially or fully by health insurance. Most insurance carriers will not cover another rehab program if someone leaves their current rehab program AMA. Leaving against medical advice on any addiction treatment program should be avoided at all costs, which makes traveling for rehab often a more preferred and cost-conscience choice, all factors considered.

Another plus is that certain areas specialize in unique treatments. For example, West Coast facilities often offer more holistic practices that may prove beneficial when getting a patient to adopt a new sober lifestyle. 

Traveling for treatment also tends to be more private and is an effective way to avoid the worry of being recognized and stigmatized.

Some Disadvantages of Traveling for Rehab

There are cons, however, to traveling for rehab. Being away from friends and family is a significant negative that can deter some from traveling. Other disadvantages to traveling for addiction recovery include:

  • Loved ones cannot easily visit or have an active role during the initial treatment process
  • Aftercare plans may be more challenging to set up
  • Costs vary significantly between out-of-state facilities

Going to a Local Rehab

 Conversely, there are several benefits to staying local. The biggest is the potential cost-savings. The cost of airfare, gas, and maybe even a hotel stay must be added to the treatment budget. 

Another benefit is staying close to family and loved ones. Having their support is important while in treatment, as well as afterward. Family and friends can be actively involved in the treatment process, especially with many centers offering family therapy programs and visitation hours. 

And of course, a local facility will have a much easier time setting up an effective aftercare plan for the patient in their hometown since the local facility would be closer and potentially more knowledgeable about the area

Some Disadvantages of Staying Local for Treatment

  • The temptation to leave treatment against medical advice is much higher
  • Friends and family are often a distraction on the path to recovery 
  • Good chance of settling for lower-quality care if the scope of options is limited to only a local geographical footprint

The decision on where to go for treatment is essential, and corners should not be cut. Knowledgeable treatment navigators are available to help sift through the thousands of treatment facilities across our nation. Contact a treatment navigator today to find the treatment center that best fits your specific needs and circumstances.

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