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300 000 Americans want alcohol rehab treatment, but are worried about the costs and stigma…why alcohol rehab always saves money over time.

Why So Many Don't Get the Help They Need

A recent report by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) on alcohol and drug abuse and treatment needs, puts the number of Americans who currently need treatment for alcohol abuse behaviors or alcohol dependency at a staggering 18.6 million people.

Disturbingly, although almost 19 million people are in desperate need of intervention and treatment, only about 8% per year will ever attempt treatment, and of the remaining 92% of alcoholics or alcohol abusers, only 4.5% perceived a need for treatment.

Denial

Almost 9 in 10 alcohol abusers or alcoholics maintain a mindset of denial and don’t feel they have any need for treatment; and this denial contributes to our massive societal problems with alcohol abuse and alcoholism; and this needs to be addressed within the family and within the community. There are very effective strategies to convince reluctant users of a need for treatment, and families wanting to learn more should read up on interventions as a way to induce treatment compliance.

But although only 4.5% of alcohol abusers or alcoholics perceived a need for treatment but did not get any, that still represents well over 700 000 people ready for help, that for a couple of reasons do not seek it, and continue to drink.

Perceived Barriers to Participation in Alcohol Rehab

Of those people who do realize that their drinking is problematic, and realizing that they do require professional help and intervention, almost half say that they do not seek out help because they are not yet ready to stop drinking. About 40% say that the costs of treatment prohibits participation, and almost 24% say that fear of the stigma of being labeled an alcoholic contributed to their decision against treatment. A further 13% said that they simply did not know where to get help.

So even if almost 17 million people deny their problems, and a further 400 000 admit to a problem, but aren’t ready to seek help, we are still left with more than 300 000 people who want help, would gladly get it; but for fear of the costs or stigma, or of simply not knowing where to go, continue to drink without attempts at treatment.

Although 300 000+ is nowhere near the more than 18 million who need treatment, it is still a very substantial number of people ready for help…and these people need to be encouraged to get it.

Overcoming the Barriers to Alcohol Rehab Treatment

Stigma

Although alcoholics worry about the stigma associated with alcohol rehab or other treatments, legislative statutes exist to protect the confidentiality of treatment. The reality is that alcoholics in treatment are under no obligation to inform anyone of their participation, and most employers are compelled by law to grant a leave of absence from work without punishment for medically necessary treatment. Most Americans can access up to 12 weeks of confidential medical employment leave, no employer can legally break confidentiality, and no future employer can even legally inquire about past treatments.

Alcoholics need not worry about the stigma associated with treatment, and may choose to remain completely silent about any participation, and that right is enforced by law.

Knowing Where to Get Alcohol Rehab

With many hundreds of state accredited private and public institutions offering comprehensive alcohol rehab across the United States, not knowing where to turn for help is very unfortunate, and completely unnecessary. A local physician or health services agency can always recommend a suitable and local treatment center, and treatment information can easily be accessed through the internet. Choosehelp counselors can also assist in recommending appropriate treatment to those unsure of where to turn.

Costs

The costs of an alcohol rehab stay deter hundreds of thousands of otherwise willing participants from treatment each and every year. Alcohol rehab is expensive, and better quality private alcohol rehabs can cost upwards of $20 000 per stay.

Most people with some degree of private health insurance will find that their insurance provider will offset some or all of the costs of a rehab stay, but for those people without any supplementary health coverage, there are a number of available options to assist those unable to afford such a large upfront investment.

Lower income participants may be eligible for public subsidies to treatment, or for participation in a public rehab program. Many private rehab facilities will work with people lacking health insurance, and will either reduce the costs of treatment, or will offer payment plans acceptable to all involved.

Even if a participant is forced to defray the entire cost of a residential rehab stay, if sobriety is achieved after an intensive and committed participation in rehab, the long term savings will quickly more than equal any initial costs of treatment.

The True Costs of Not Getting Help

Alcohol is expensive, and an alcoholic spending less than 20$ per day on alcohol is surely in the minority; but even if only 20$ per day is spent on alcohol, the costs mount to more than $7000 per year…and in a mere three years the savings from alcohol alone would pay for some of the finest treatment in the nation.

But alcohol costs are only one of the many expenses related to alcohol abuse and alcoholism. Research proves that alcohol abusers are far more likely to live in a bad neighborhood and perform poorly at work…and those people who stop drinking are far more likely to move into a better neighborhood. People who achieve sobriety can expect to perform far better at work, and excel financially.

Health care savings also mount with sobriety, and the long term savings from quitting drinking can be astronomical. Alcohol abuse and alcoholism ravages the body and mind, and greatly increases the risks of a number of cancers, heart disease, diabetes and mental deficits. People achieving a healthier lifestyle of sobriety will save many tens of thousands of dollars over a lifetime of better living.

Less peripheral costs…alcohol abuse and alcoholism is often associated with unpleasant and costly participation in the criminal justice system. Through sobriety and less public intoxication, the risks of criminality and associated legal expenses are greatly reduced.

A participation in a residential alcohol rehab should be considered an investment in a future of better health and better financial status. With the possibilities of long term payments or loans to defray initial costs of access, using the costs of rehab as a barrier to entry does not really make much sense over the long, and even not so long term.

The Cost of Rehab…a Necessary Evil

No one wants to pay the equivalent of the cost of a new car for medical treatment, but when a problem with alcohol abuse or addiction becomes serious enough to demand professional alcohol rehab, nothing less offers much hope for a better and more productive life of sobriety.

The costs associated with running a comprehensive alcohol treatment facility disclude the possibility of bargain rehab; and a quality facility must house and feed residents in a comfortable and private manner and must employ a legion of trained counselors, doctors, nurses, psychologists, nutritionists and other professionals…all who demand and deserve high salaries, and who are all completely necessary to ensure quality programming offering a best chance at sobriety.

Nothing about alcoholism or alcohol abuse is free from pain, and that includes the difficulty of funding needed treatment; but if the burden can be met, the long term benefits always outweigh short term financial hardships, and a better life of sobriety, productivity and better health always justifies the initial costs.

All alcoholics and alcohol abusers need and deserve intervention and medical treatment, but the reality of denial is such that far too many continue to abuse without even acknowledging the existence of a problem. For those in the very small minority (that still number into the hundreds of thousands) that do recognize a need for treatment, we need to make sure that the barriers to access are lowered, and convince those requiring of help to enter a residential alcohol rehab program sure to have a great long term benefit.

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Page last updated Aug 05, 2010

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