According to the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the most common reasons people who needed treatment did not seek help from 2011 to 2014 were:
- COST: 39 percent could not afford it or did not have health insurance.
- FEAR: 18 percent feared a negative opinion from neighbors or the community.
- CAREER: 17 percent feared it would affect work.
- LACK OF INFO: 14 percent did not know where to find help.
- DENIAL: 8 percent did not think they needed help.
While these are all valid considerations when seeking treatment for substance use, they should not deter you from getting help. Below are some short, helpful tips to consider as you go through the process of finding support for yourself or a loved one who is looking to begin their journey toward a better life.
- Most insurance companies cover a portion of treatment costs, and in some cases, they will cover the cost entirely. You can call your insurance company to find out what treatment costs look like with your specific plan. If you’re not sure what to ask, many treatment centers will help you with this process.
- If you are still needing additional funding after speaking with your insurance company, talk to different treatment centers about your options. No two treatment centers are the same and often a facility may have a scholarship or payment plan option available.
- Many companies offer Medical Flexible Spending Accounts for employees, which can be used toward treatment cost. Many treatment centers also use lenders that give loans to clients for substance use, even when their credit score has suffered. These are two ways to access money up front for treatment.
- If you are seeking treatment and have no insurance or monetary resources, and you cannot find a facility with scholarship opportunities, do not give up. Look into federal grant options to see if you qualify, as well as Non-Profit Treatment centers which operate at little to no cost to patients.
Many people who need help with their substance use fail to seek it for fear of judgement by those they know. Sometimes, there can be a stigma of shame surrounding mental health and substance use. Here are some things to remember if you find yourself avoiding treatment due to others’ views on the topic:
- This is 2018, and now more than ever before the world, including your community, family and friends, is starting to bring the topic of mental health and substance use and the unfair, inaccurate stigmas associated with them to the forefront of conversation. According to Mental Health America, over 43 million Americans are battling mental health and substance use conditions, and nearly half have a co-occurring substance use disorder. You are not alone.
- Nobody else can live your life. While people around you may play important roles in your life, nothing is more important than living the healthiest life you can live and feeling truly fulfilled. If somebody is important to you, and you to them, they should be 100% supportive of you taking a step toward that life of recovery you long for and deserve. If this isn’t the case, this says much more about them than it does about you. At the end of the day, you will be the one living your life, not them. You need to do what is the best, healthiest option for you.
Often, the fear of putting a job in jeopardy to receive treatment can play a role in somebody failing to take the next step toward recovery. Here are some things to remember:
- If the fear is out of the idea that your employer will be able to access your insurance claim and learn of your treatment, they cannot do this. An employer is not able to view your individual claims, even when using company insurance plans. As an employer, the only information that can be legally accessed, in terms of their employees’ insurance info, is their policy number and digital card. Employers legally have no right to see, and no ability to access, the employee’s health insurance claims, even if they use their Flexible Spending card for treatment.
- For many business professionals, stepping away from work for 35 days is not an option. To accommodate the stressful and demanding lifestyles of clients who are in executive level positions, some treatment centers, including Sage Recovery Villa, offer a Business Executive Track. This program permits professionals to maintain contact with their companies, while still in residential treatment. At Sage, the Business Executive Track allows for reasonable modifications to the established programming, such as providing a single-occupancy bedroom for increased privacy, quiet space for confidential phone calls, and scheduling additional computer and phone time, so that crucial professional obligations can be met while remaining focused on healing and recovery.
- Now, will my employer let me keep my job? The good news is that, according to American Addiction Centers, 76 percent of people with substance abuse issues hold jobs. Again, you are not the only one in this circumstance. From a legal standpoint, there are laws to protect employees who are battling addiction and mental illness from being fired or discriminated against. From a personal standpoint, your employer may understand that allowing you to begin your journey to recovery could likely result in you becoming an even better employee. If you are worried about the legal or financial aspects of taking time off from work to enter treatment.
LACK OF INFO
There are more than 14,000 treatment centers in the U.S. alone, and many, many resources to help you decide which one is the right one for you. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for one, is a 24/7, 365-days-a-year treatment referral and information center for anyone seeking mental and/or substance use treatment. You can contact them here: https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline
- If you know of a treatment center but aren’t sure if it is the right one for you, many centers will talk through what you are facing with you and help you find a facility that may better fit your needs if their facility does not. Here at Sage, we hope we can be, and often are, an excellent fit for the clients that call us seeking help. However, in circumstances in which we feel a client could get specialized help at another facility, we will help facilitate the conversation or refer them to the right point of contact.
Many people are facing the battle not of their own substance abuse, but of seeking help for a loved one. In some cases, the person does not realize or believe they have a problem, and this can cause friction in the relationship. It can also be a roadblock to getting help for your loved one. If you are going through this, here are some tips:
- If you suspect a loved one needs treatment, work with a family therapist who can help you verbalize your observations in a non-judgemental way. Having this outside perspective, as well as having the delivery of the message come in a way that doesn’t cause your loved one to feel judged or shamed can make a huge difference in their reaction. The therapist can also help you verbalize to your loved one how their behaviors are affecting you and others around them.
- If your loved one is still resistant to treatment or is in denial of the need for help, hire an interventionist to assist you in encouraging your loved one to enter treatment. If you have found a treatment center for your loved one already in the event they agree to treatment, you can ask the facility if they have an interventionist they recommend, and often times they will.
Attend Al-Anon and work on setting healthy boundaries. Al-Anon is a free, peer-led support group in which those affected by a loved one’s substance use can share their concerns, feelings and experiences with one another. Learn more here and find a group today: https://al-anon.org/newcomers/