Traveling To The US For Treatment
The decision to travel abroad for alcohol abuse treatment is dependent on many factors like cost, types of services needed, and length of time one can be in treatment.
When Staying Local Isn’t An Option
Beyond the first decision to pursue treatment for alcohol abuse, the second most important decision may be where one attends rehab. Several factors will dictate this decision, including desired living environment, therapies offered, types of addiction treated, cost, and location. When one begins searching for a drug and alcohol rehab center, they often start with the facilities closest, and while many countries have rehab centers available, there may be some barriers to receiving the treatment an individual requires. These barriers can include the level of care, long waiting lists, and co-occurring disorder treatment availability. The decision to travel abroad for rehab is not easy, but it can open the doors for individuals to receive the care they need.
Why Travel To The US For Treatment?
Pursuing treatment far from home gives individuals a chance to start over in a completely new environment. While potentially nerve-racking at first thought, this new environment can help usher in the development of healthier support systems, an improved sense of identity, and coping skills. When an individual is away from the environment that previously prompted their alcohol abuse, it’s easier to stick to a recovery program as one establishes new mental and physical boundaries.
Someone might consider traveling to the US for treatment because the available rehab facilities in their local area may not address all of an individual’s needs. The US has over 14,500 specialized treatment facilities that provide counseling, behavioral therapy, medication, case management, and additional services for those with alcohol use disorders (AUD). For alcohol abuse rehab to be effective, it needs to be readily available, offered for an appropriate amount of time, and address multiple needs of the individual, not just the substance abuse.
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Additionally, specific states throughout the country, like California and Florida, offer hundreds of rehab facilities for substance abuse and are often sought after for their luxury facilities. This variety of choices increases the likelihood that individuals will find a facility that meets their needs, thus increasing the chance of sustained recovery.
Change Of Scenery
Traveling to the US for rehab allows access to appropriate care, but it also offers the chance to experience a change of scenery. This relocation removes an individual from a previous environment that presents internal or external triggers that can induce cravings. Internal triggers are thoughts or feelings that lead an individual to crave or use substances. These feelings can be positive or negative; for example, guilt and shame may cause someone to turn to alcohol to avoid said feelings, but feelings of happiness can also lead someone to use substances as an opportunity to celebrate. In contrast, external factors are often physical elements like people, places, or activities associated with a particular substance. Additional obstacles an individual may face if they remain at home for treatment include:
- Distractions (i.e., various obligations to work, friends, or family)
- Lack of emotional space and focus
- Proximity to negative influences
Things To Consider Before Traveling
After deciding to begin substance abuse treatment, many individuals find themselves with a laundry list of questions. Where should they go for treatment, how much it will cost, and how long treatment will take are common concerns and queries. There are additional prospects and aspects for those traveling out of the country for rehab to consider, including travel costs and housing. Another factor to consider before traveling abroad is that one’s support system and loved ones may not have an active part in one’s recovery journey. While beneficial for some, the physical distance may be detrimental to others if they have a solid and positive relationship with their home support system.
Payment Options For Treatment
One of the barriers individuals face when considering a rehab center is the cost of services. The treatment price depends on several factors, including the type of services provided, amenities, and facility (inpatient or outpatient). Paying the total price for treatment out-of-pocket is not always feasible, but there are scholarships, programs, and insurance options that can help alleviate some financial strain. For example, most rehab centers offer financial aid, accept insurance, or have financing options. Some options for funding include:
- Private Insurance
- Governmental Programs
- Military Insurance
There are also treatment centers that provide free services and are geared to those whose incomes are below the federal poverty threshold. However, treatment centers that offer free services often have significant waiting lists and limited funding, so pursuing options that have financing plans may provide the greatest likelihood of receiving treatment in the US.
Types Of Treatment Programs
There are several types of treatment facilities in the US, including inpatient or outpatient programs and substance counseling. Most programs begin with detoxification and medically managed withdrawal, often considered the first stage of treatment. Detoxification, the process in which substances are expelled from the body, allows individuals to stabilize their physical and mental health before transitioning to an inpatient or outpatient program. Because the detoxification process often involves unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, medications can be used to manage the potentially harmful symptoms. These medications, administered by a physician, are available to assist during the detox from alcohol, Opioids, Benzodiazepines, and other substances.
Inpatient or residential treatment provides 24/7, highly-structured medical care run by licensed substance abuse and mental health professionals. Short-term programs run anywhere between 3 to 6 weeks and long-term programs last 6 to 12 months. The length of time spent at an inpatient treatment facility depends on the severity of the substance abuse and an individual’s specific needs. Individuals often transition to outpatient treatment or an aftercare program after treatment at an inpatient program.
Outpatient treatment is generally less intensive and restrictive in comparison to inpatient programs. For this reason, outpatient programs are more suitable for those with jobs or an extensive support system as these programs are often supplemental. Individuals can remain at home or in a sober living facility and attend the outpatient program, typically between 1 to 9 hours a day.
Therapies Offered Within Programs
Outpatient and inpatient programs typically offer forms of behavioral therapy such as:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: helps individuals recognize and cope with the situations in which they are tempted to use substances.
- Family therapy: addresses a range of influences on an individual’s drug abuse patterns and aims to improve overall family communication and functioning.
- Contingency Management: uses positive reinforcement to encourage abstinence from drugs.
Finding A Rehab In The US
Before deciding to travel to the US for alcohol abuse treatment, there are multiple factors to consider, but choosing a facility that meets an individual’s needs is one of the most important factors. Finding a facility that offers a multifaceted approach to drug and alcohol abuse treatment will increase one’s likelihood of recovery. For help locating a treatment center today, contact a treatment provider.
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