When searching for substance abuse or addiction treatment, it might at first seem that getting treatment near home is the most logical and easiest solution. Concerns about being away from home or missing school or work are reasonable, and it may be frightening at such a vulnerable time to be away from all that is familiar. If nothing else, obtaining treatment locally can be more convenient.
Nevertheless, there are many good reasons that a person might consider traveling away from home to get treatment. In some cases, it can even be beneficial to get away from the person’s hometown, or even travel out of state, for rehab. Especially in cases where remaining near home can make it harder to maintain sobriety, traveling for rehab can sometimes be the best choice people struggling with addiction or their loved ones can make.
Finding a Good Fit
One of the primary reasons to travel for treatment is that local treatment centers do not always provide adequate help. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, substance abuse treatment is most likely to help a person attain recovery if the treatment program is customized to the particular individual’s needs. However, not all treatment centers provide this level of care.
For example, a survey from the
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shows that, out of more than 14,000 addiction treatment facilities in the country, fewer than 10 percent offer certified treatment programs for opioid addiction.
Sometimes, it may be necessary to look outside of the local community to find a rehab center with the required expertise and resources to provide treatment that is most likely to result in recovery.
For this reason, it may be best for many people to travel to an addiction center away from home to get the care they need
Other Reasons to Travel
Aside from finding the right fit with a program, there are other reasons that people choose to travel for rehab. These include:
- The need to focus completely on treatment: Remaining near home can sometimes be a source of distraction from treatment. For some people, in order to completely engage in treatment, it can be helpful to think of it as a sort of vacation or getaway from the daily stresses of life. With this mindset, people can focus fully on the task of achieving and maintaining recovery.
- High relapse risk based on local or home atmosphere: For some people, their drug or alcohol relapse risk may be increased by their social circle or family, or by the situations they encounter on a regular basis. In these cases, treatment outcomes may be improved by getting away from those circumstances completely and learning how to avoid those triggers before returning home.
- Desire for privacy or to protect reputation: People with high-profile lives or high-level jobs may fear damaging their reputations or losing their jobs if they enter rehab. By taking a leave and traveling away from the local community for treatment, these people are better able to maintain privacy and protect themselves from potential embarrassment or other issues.
Managing Travel Cost
Even when they do find the right rehab, some people may hesitate if it is out of town because of the cost of travel. That cost, however, can often be managed through various means, such as:
- Insurance coverage, if available
- Financing or graded payment plans through the treatment facility
- Assistance from family or friends
The chosen treatment facility can often help to work out this aspect of travel, taking it into account in developing the individual’s payment plan.
Availability of Treatment Options away from Home
When a person is willing to look outside the local area for substance abuse treatment, there is a wider range of options to choose from. Some communities, such as those in more rural locations, may have a limited number of choices for treatment, making it difficult to find the best program for that person. Even in cases where communities have a variety of different programs, the range of available options widens exponentially when people are open to the possibility of attending rehab outside their local area.
According to a survey of addiction treatment facilities provided by SAMHSA, the five states with the highest number of treatment facilities include:
- California: 1,551 facilities
- New York: 905 facilities
- Illinois: 650 facilities
- Florida: 622 facilities
- Pennsylvania: 539 facilities
SAMHSA’s surveys show that substance abuse rates are highest in the western and northeastern states of the US. Some data from SAMHSA has shown that the state with the highest level of substance abuse is Vermont. These statistics show that people who abuse drugs or who struggle with addiction are likely to
need to travel to find a good treatment match in many cases.
Availability of Treatment Options away from Home
When a person is willing to look outside the local area for substance abuse treatment, there is a wider range of options to choose from. Some communities, such as those in more rural locations, may have a limited number of choices for treatment, making it difficult to find the best program for that person. Even in cases where communities have a variety of different programs, the range of available options widens
Positive Outcomes from Traveling for Treatment
Research like a recent study from Psychology of Addictive Behaviors shows that people are more likely to remain abstinent for longer periods of time after treatment when they are motivated to reach recovery to begin with and engaged in the treatment program until it is completed. Because no single therapy works for every person, the program that motivates one person to complete treatment may not be as helpful to another person.
For this reason, one of the most important elements in choosing a treatment facility is finding a rehab program that helps the individual feel motivated to engage in and complete the full treatment program.
By seeking out the program that is the best fit for the individual’s needs, and remaining open to the possibility of traveling for rehab, a person is more likely to find the path that will lead to sustained recovery and a brighter future.