Main Barriers to Treatment Entry and Risks of Treatment Postponement

Delaying treatment for alcohol and drug addiction allows severe health issues, mental illness, relationship problems, legal troubles, and financial burdens to spiral. The sooner treatment begins, the better the prognosis for achieving sobriety and reclaiming one’s life. Time is the most precious asset for an addict.

But often people deny or delay seeking treatment programs or don’t know how to get into rehab immediately. In this article, we will overview the reasons that stop you from getting professional help and how to cope with its forced delay.

Reasons to Go to Rehab Now

Reasons for Delaying Treatment

Several main concerns make people hesitate to enter treatment and say, “I don’t want to go to rehab.” They could be combined into two main groups.

Personal Reasons

Denial, Minimization, or Rationalization of the Problem

People who suffer from substance abuse often refuse to acknowledge the severity of their addiction. They claim that “everything is under control,” even if bad consequences are obvious. People can compare themselves with others who have more severe addictions and who have already sunk to the social bottom. Or justifying their use by saying something like, “I’m working hard, and it’s just my way to relax. I deserve it!”

Fear of Leaving Without Substance.

As drugs or alcohol have already become the only source of pleasure and joy, even a thought about a sober life could be terrifying for an addict.

The Social Stigma of Addiction and Rehabs

Often, people feel ashamed or embarrassed about seeking help because this is the equivalent of acknowledging the fact that you are an addict. They are afraid of society’s judgment. They are scared of losing a job due to treatment, losing the trust of the family, and becoming estranged from them.

Financial Concerns

The cost of abuse treatment and a lack of insurance are also barriers. Finding affordable treatment programs is a major challenge for some, especially depending on their location. The common misconception is that the cure for alcoholism is too expensive for most people to afford it, as well as for drug addiction. But you should keep in mind that besides private insurance companies, you can seek grants, government programs, fundraising, and installments for treatment costs. So basically, paying for an addiction treatment program is entirely possible, even without medical insurance.

Lack of Support

If your surroundings share or tolerate your addiction, it could be extremely difficult to face the problem and start treatment, as their enabling behaviors trigger you to use it again and again. In this case, traveling to rehab could be an answer for you.

Misconceptions about Treatment

Often, people tend to believe that rehab treatment is not effective or that it is not necessary because one can quit without professional help. However, numerous studies show that medication as a first line of opioid treatment is extremely efficient in helping treat addiction. To get it, you have to be in a treatment program, under the control of specialists. It will save you from severe withdrawal symptoms and serious health problems.

Institutional Reasons

Fear of Closed State Institutions.

Many people have misconceptions about state-run facilities and apprehensions about the level of care and support provided there. Some imagine themselves locked in a hospital room, chained to a bed, or in a straitjacket like the main character of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” Thank God we are living in the 21st century, and it’s just an outdated stereotype.

Inpatient treatment programs are very structured and organized. This minimizes stress and uncertainty among residents and creates a supportive environment for their healing and recovery. But despite the strict plan, those are just recommendations. And, of course, no one will restrict your personal freedom. If you have concerns regarding the level of care and support provided in rehab, you can always check out its rating, find some recommendations from people who used to be its patients, or ask for advice on NA or AA meetings.

Private drug rehabilitation centers provide more tailored and individualized treatment programs compared to public rehab facilities. Private rehabs design specific therapy plans focused on the particular needs and state of each patient. Additionally, private rehab centers offer more privacy and comfort, which are not always available in public treatment options. So if those are your priorities and you can choose, you’d better stop making private ones.

Geographic Barriers

Sometimes it could be difficult to access treatment in rural or remote areas. But it shouldn’t stop you from starting your sober life. Choose an appropriate rehab and travel there for treatment. After all, leaving your familiar surroundings has its benefits.

How Long Does It Take to Get into Rehab?

Unfortunately, even when the person is ready to enter addiction treatment for his or her substance use issues, it could not be available right now. There are two main reasons why there might be delays and patients are getting on the waiting list.

  • Limited availability of treatment spots or beds in certain centers or clinics. Demand may simply outpace the speed of treatment.
  • Insurance approval and coverage. Many insurance plans require prior authorization or notification, meaning the insurance provider needs to be informed about the person’s admission to a treatment facility beforehand to approve coverage. This can result in delays for some as they wait to find out how much their insurance will cover or work on gathering the necessary copays.

Generally, how long is the waiting list for rehab will be depends on several factors. In some cities and states, the demand for treatment is higher, leading to longer waiting lists. Low-cost and state-funded rehab centers are more likely to have waitlists because they serve more people seeking care. Additionally, long-term facilities offering 60-, 90-, or 120-day programs often have extended waiting times due to their prolonged treatment durations.

No dough, waiting time could be frustrating and even dangerous. But remember that rehabs usually turn people away only after providing alternative resources, such as local outpatient clinics, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) centers, or other forms of care. If you’ve been waitlisted, proactively seek out other options. The more places you contact, the higher your chances of accessing the treatment you need.

Risks of Delaying Treatment

Substance abuse disorder is a serious disease, and it tends to progress, creating new hazards and challenges for treatment.

Health Issues

  • Increased risk of overdose and death. As the tolerance to the drug or alcohol rises, the chances of consuming a lethal dose increase.
  • Worsening of health problems. Chronic substance abuse can lead to liver damage, heart disease, respiratory problems, tissue rotting, weakened immune function, etc. These health problems can become irreversible if treatment is delayed for too long.
  • Mental health deterioration. Substance use disorders often co-occur with depression and anxiety. Without timely treatment, they can worsen, leading to more severe symptoms and increased risk of suicide.

Social and Personal Consequences

  • Strained relationships with family and friends. Substance abuse can lead to broken trust, conflicts, and emotional distance, making it difficult to repair later on.
  • Job loss and financial instability. The impossibility of maintaining employment exacerbates the financial burden and limits access to resources needed for recovery.
  • Legal issues. Continued substance abuse increases the likelihood of legal problems, such as driving under the influence (DUIs) or arrests for possession or related criminal activities.

Addiction Progression

  • Increased tolerance and dependence on substances. The longer a person postpones starting treatment, the more dependent he or she becomes on substances and the more severe the dangers of substance abuse become.
  • Greater difficulty in quitting and achieving long-term sobriety. Delaying treatment often results in a more challenging recovery process, requiring more intensive and prolonged intervention.

Reasons to Go to Rehab Now

  1. Early intervention. It provides higher success rates in recovery. Also, it will help to prevent further damage to your health and personal life.
  2. Access to comprehensive care. In rehab, you will pass through medically supervised detoxification, which eliminates withdrawal symptoms and risks for your health. You will have access to evidence-based therapies and counseling that help overcome the addiction. Furthermore, you will develop coping skills and relapse-prevention strategies to control your cravings in the future.
  3. Support system during the path to sobriety. Become a member of NA or AA, which are free, and get peer support from other participants through group therapy and 12-step programs. Your family or loved ones could also be involved in the therapy. After your treatment in rehab is over, you will be provided with an aftercare plan and get ongoing support to prevent relapse.

Make a First Step to Your Sobriety

The decision to seek professional help for your substance use disorder is a positive, pro-helsie milestone. The sooner you make this decision, the more efficient therapy will be. Contact your addiction treatment provider to get free consultations regarding your best recovery program options. Don’t wait to get treatment — there’s never been a better time than the present!