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How To Get Help For Addictions If You Can’t Afford Rehab

How To Get Help For Addictions If You Can’t Afford Rehab
Written by Seth Fletcher on November 21, 2019
Last update: April 25, 2024

The decision to seek help to combat your substance abuse can be a very personal, difficult one to make. Once that decision is made, it can be very tempting to back out, especially when the actual process of getting into a treatment program isn’t very easy.

Not only are there waitlists and various obstacles that may stand in your way (such as legal issues and location problems) - but rehabilitation programs also cost money. And to many people, the cost of admission is considered quite expensive.

Drug rehab centres are able to provide temporary relocation, away from the source and triggers of the person's drug use. Treatment facilities also offer housing, meal plans, therapy and counseling sessions. All of this, of course, costs money.

Unfortunately, the cost of rehab is often an insurmountable obstacle for those who need addiction treatment the most. In some cases, a lack of funding can be why an addict who is ready to accept help isn’t able to get the help they need.

How Much Does Drug & Alcohol Treatment Cost?

How can you get help for your addiction if you simply can’t afford rehab? First, let’s talk about how much drug and alcohol treatment programs cost.

While the exact cost of the rehabilitation facilities in your area may vary, it’s best to discuss a broad range of the typical costs involved in attending an addiction treatment program.

The estimated costs involved with addiction rehabs are:

  • Detox: $250 - $800 per day [1]
  • Outpatient Programs: around $1,400+ (for a 3 month outpatient program) [2]
  • Inpatient Programs: $3,800 - $8,000 (per month) [2]
  • Private Rehab Program (inpatient): $7,500 - $14,000 (per month) [2]
  • Luxury Rehabilitation Centres: $14,000 - $34,000 (per 30 - 90 day stay) [3]

Some luxury inpatient treatment programs can cost as much as $80,000+ per month (these are typically very high-level security, and would be mostly used by executives, politicians, and celebrities). [2]

Prices may also vary depending on your location and your needs.

For example, a medical professional may recommend that you commit to a 90-day program of inpatient care, but you may feel that you aren’t quite ready to leave at the end of that time and successfully remain sober. Many relapses, unfortunately, happen due to the resident leaving their program before they are ready to assimilate back into the world without leaning on drug or alcohol addictions.

Something to keep in mind is that inpatient facilities are going to be more costly, but they are also much better equipped to help those who are struggling with a severe addiction. In addition, the cost includes everything that you will need while you are there, including meals, accommodation, recreational activities, and all therapies and treatments that are part of the inpatient rehabilitation process.

Along with your stay in an inpatient rehab facility, you may be prescribed medications to help you manage pain associated with health problems brought on by your addiction - which can be costly if not covered by your insurance. Similarly, some select activities might cost extra, such as horseback riding or animal-assisted addictions therapy.

Are There Assistance Programs That Can Help Me?

How does anyone afford rehab with prices like this?

In an ideal world, getting help for your addiction wouldn’t cost you a penny - because everyone who is struggling with this disease deserves immediate, affordable help when they ask for it. However, running the treatment facility, providing meals and housing, paying well-trained staff members and medical professionals, arranging therapy sessions...all of this costs money.

While many people depend on friends and family to help them cover the costs of rehab and get their lives back on track, some people, unfortunately, don’t have that option.

Payment Plans Through the Rehab Centre

A lot of rehab facilities offer financial aid and accept insurance payments, and some even have different financing options (like a payment plan) that can help you spread payments over a longer period of time so it can be affordable.

If you have one specific rehab facility in mind that you are considering attending, you can simply call and ask about their financial aid and payment plan options.

Health Insurance

Depending on your health insurance policy, you may be able to seek financial aid from your insurance company.

Types of insurance that might cover addiction treatment can include:

  • Private insurance and employee assistance programs
  • Military/Government Funded Insurance (if you’re in the military or work for the government)
  • Medicare/Medicaid insurance

To find out what is covered by your current health insurance policy, contact your insurance agency and ask about their addiction/recovery treatment options. If you don’t currently have health insurance, you may be eligible for some kind of scholarship or financial aid through the treatment facility you’re looking to attend - so you can also contact them and ask about their specific financial aid programs.

Government Assistance

If you work for the government (whether you are military or a veteran), or you live in an area where medical aid is usually covered by your government, this can also be extremely helpful in finding an affordable rehab solution for you.

Many people think that government assistance is limited when it comes to things like addictions treatments, but in the United States, the government has been helpful in finding ways to make things like addiction treatment affordable through the Affordable Care Act, which means that most insurance policies are supposed to provide at least partial coverage for substance abuse treatment.

Dual-Diagnosis (Mental Health and Addictions Treatment Options)

If you are struggling with an addiction, it’s very likely you are suffering from mental health issues as a result. You could also have a pre-existing mental illness that has been worsened by your drug or alcohol use.

If this is the case, you may be able to get coverage for both your addiction treatment and your mental health treatment - which could save you money in the end.

If you’re not sure that you have a dual-diagnosis, you can visit a psychologist or psychiatrist who (if applicable), can give you a mental illness diagnosis and point you in the right direction for seeking help.

How to Get Addictions Help if You Cannot Afford Rehab

Even if money is the difference between attending a rehab centre and not getting into one, it doesn’t have to be a deciding factor of whether or not you get help for your substance use disorder.

You have many options, and it’s very possible to find a suitable addiction treatment option that can work with your financial situation, no matter what that may be.

Taking Advantage of Free Treatment Options and Resources

If you have exhausted your options and are still unable to attend a rehab program due to the financial strain, there are still other options for you. Seeking free programs and support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous can be extremely helpful in combating your addiction.

If you are in Canada, your provincial health care plan may cover some detox and rehab services.

Additionally, SMART Recovery programs are becoming more and more popular and have proven to be an incredible way to combat your substance use disorder.

Finding strength in community is very important (and one of the most beneficial things about inpatient therapeutic treatment centres) - and you can still find that without attending a residential treatment program.

Keeping Yourself Accountable

The cost of treatment really can be a deterrent to finding professional help to fight your addiction, but it doesn’t have to be an excuse to stop trying to improve yourself. Self-help books or support groups can be extremely helpful. There are also countless online communities and tools you can use to monitor your drug and alcohol use, and to try to make the best choices possible.

Some of the online resources that are totally free include:

  • CheckUp and Choices (an online program that helps you better understand your drinking and risks that can be involved with alcohol abuse)
  • Check Your Cannabis (an online tool that can be used if you think your cannabis use is negatively impacting your life)
  • Various Screening Tools are available to help you determine if your drug and alcohol use is a problem in your life.

If you’re interested in seeking help for your addiction but aren’t sure where to start, this directory is equipped with information about all the drug and alcohol addiction services available in Canada, including phone numbers, waiting list times and prices for both inpatient and outpatient programs in your area.

If the cost of treatment isn't a barrier, and you want to explore your options for quality care in a five-star inpatient treatment facility, call Canadian Centre For Addictions.

Sources used for the article

Certified Addiction Counsellor

Seth brings many years of professional experience working the front lines of addiction in both the government and privatized sectors.

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