Typical Barriers to Addiction Treatment

There are many typical barriers to addiction treatment. In fact, research studies show that there is a discrepancy between the total number of people in need of these recovery services in the United States and those who end up receiving them.

For instance, about 21 million Americans above the age of 12 years - about 1 out of every 13 people within this age group - needed addiction treatment services. Unfortunately, only about 3.8 million of them received the services that they needed to overcome their substance abuse and addiction. From this figure, only 18 percent of all the people who required these services in 2016 were able to access them.

Statistics on Addiction Treatment

There are many reasons why people ignore their substance abuse and addiction and leave themselves in an untreated state. Some are reluctant to seek the treatment services that they needed because they have certain beliefs against it. Others are not able to due to the lack of insurance and other sources of income to help them cover the related costs. Alternatively, they may be living in an area that does not have any treatment facilities and services.

Irrespective of the situation in which you find yourself, there are changes that can make it possible for you to access addiction treatment services. For instance, insurance coverage has been changing and making it easier for people to get the treatment services that they need.

In the same way, innovations like telehealth are now making it possible for people - including those who live in secluded areas of the country - to connect with addiction recovery professionals without having to up and move. Further, there are alternative treatment options, including self-help programs and 12 step groups that are now widely available and largely free of charge.

Although there are still many barriers to accessing addiction treatment services, there are encouraging signs showing that treatment might be within reach for many of the populations that have in the past struggled to access these services.

Types of Options

If you are seeking help for a substance use disorder or an addiction problem, there are some treatment options that you would have to consider. These include but are not limited to individual therapy, private treatment, group therapy, outpatient treatment, and inpatient or residential treatment. All these options are different in terms of time commitment, scheduling, services provided, and cost.

1. Inpatient or Residential Rehab

An inpatient or residential rehab program will require you to live in the treatment facility for the entire duration of your rehabilitation. Most of these programs will offer a comprehensive recovery design that also includes 12 step support group meetings, individual therapy, group therapy, mental health care, medical treatment, and many others.

Typically, this form of treatment will take place in medical clinics and hospitals within specialized units of these facilities. They can also offer rehab and detox treatment services, group activities, and case management programs.

2. Outpatient Rehab

Another option that you may have while seeking addiction treatment is outpatient rehab. These programs include partial hospitalization programs, intensive outpatient programs, and standard or regular outpatient programs.

While enrolled in such a program, you will not be provided with housing services. instead, you will be expected to check into the treatment facility on a regular basis depending on the schedule that has been set for you.

Limitations to Addiction Treatment

Although both inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment can help you overcome your substance abuse problem, their locations and associated costs might present challenges for you even if you need such treatment.

For instance, you might not have insurance coverage to help you offset the cost of treatment - a service that could potentially help you cover one of the significant portions of the cost of your treatment.

If you do not have insurance coverage, the out-of-pocket costs that you would have to take care of may make it difficult for you to afford the treatment services that you need. This is even if you try to only use options like individual therapy and outpatient addiction treatment.

In the same way, you may find that there are no drug and alcohol addiction rehabilitation programs and facilities where you live. In particular, most of these people are not available in most of the rural parts of the country.

Even in situations where they exist, they may not be able to offer the right services to particular populations - such as if you need medication management services due to an opioid addiction or if you need dual diagnosis integrated treatment for both your addiction as well as the co-occurring mental health disorder that you have also been struggling with.

On the other hand, although the structure of the addiction treatment programs might be helpful for you, there are also situations in which you may find that it is difficult for you to adjust to a formal drug and alcohol rehab setting. As a result, you may prefer to spend time in a less formal setting.

That said, the following are some of the typical barriers to addiction treatment in the United States:

  • Financial limitations
  • Geographic limitations, in the sense that many of these rehab programs are only concentrated in certain states
  • Lack of (adequate) health insurance
  • Rural areas, where most addiction treatment centers are located in urban areas and the ones that exist in the rural area might not have adequate resources to cater to all addicts in need of their services
  • Stigma around addiction, which could affect your decision to seek addiction treatment services
  • The cost of rehab
  • The existence of co-occurring disorders
  • Womenspecific barriers to treatment, especially with regards to childcare and pregnancy
  • Workforce shortages

Getting Help

Irrespective of the barriers that you are experiencing in accessing the addiction treatment services that you need, it is recommended that you try to surmount them and get yourself in a position where you can get these services and start working on overcoming your substance abuse and addiction.

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