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The 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that 560,000 people who perceived a need for treatment for a substance use disorder did not receive treatment.1 The barriers to treatment were numerous. Cost and lack of health insurance topped the list of barriers prohibiting treatment with 32.5% of responses.1 Other reasons included transportation issues (7.6%), perceptions of family and those in the community (14.9%), the time commitment involved (7.0%) and wait lists to enter treatment (5.3%).1
Can a Person Enter Rehab the Same Day?
The National Institute on Drug Abuse outlines 13 principles of effective treatment for drugs and alcohol. Third on this list is that “treatment needs to be readily available.”2 Individuals addicted to drugs or alcohol may be uncertain or have anxiety about entering treatment. Typically, the longer substance users have to wait to be admitted to treatment, the more likely they are to not follow through with treatment.3
Facilities that are able to resolve barriers for a person wishing to enter substance abuse treatment—including minimizing wait time—not only experience lower levels of patient attrition but also higher levels of patient satisfaction and more successful outcomes.3,4
Many addiction treatment programs have optimized their intake procedures to ensure they can adequately determine the quickest way to get a person into treatment and provide patients with an individualized treatment plan.4,5
These facilities often permit or can accommodate same-day and/or next-day admission.4 They may also offer admission on demand or by appointment, asking a patient when he or she would like to begin treatment.4
When an individual expresses a need for prompt treatment, a treatment center should do everything possible to accommodate the need. This may mean looking outside your local area, as there are limited resources in many areas, particularly in rural parts of the country.4
The goal of rehabilitation is to provide group and individual therapy to help change behaviors around intoxicating substances, which supports sobriety.5 Intake counselors will assess an individual’s specific needs and recommend a treatment option that best meets their need.
Treatment may include inpatient or residential drug rehabilitation programs, which provide a safe environment to practice these behavioral changes and examine outcomes. It could also mean outpatient services or a program that requires only limited hospitalization. Sometimes, a change in environment will help facilitate recovery.
Finding Prompt and Effective Treatment
There are several steps you can take in an effort to enter treatment as quickly as possible.
Step 1: Gather information to facilitate admission.
You should of course be prepared to discuss your history with drugs or alcohol when contacting a treatment program, but it’s also important to have some additional critical information that will likely be needed prior to admission into a treatment program:
- Insurance information (if insured) and payment/financial information. (Verify your insurance coverage for treatment.)
- Medical and mental health history, including names of doctors, surgeries, etc.
- Emergency contact information.
- Identification and details required for confirming travel to the treatment center.
Step 2: Locate and contact a treatment provider.
To chat with an admissions navigator for Greenhouse or one of our affiliated treatment centers, chat with us or call 972-846-8812. It’s free and confidential.
Alternatively, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) maintains a secure and anonymous treatment finder that will help you locate other programs to treat substance abuse/addiction.
SAMHSA also runs a national helpline, which is confidential and available 24 hours a day; help is available in both English and Spanish. The helpline provides those struggling with substance abuse, and their friends and family, with information on rehabilitation programs, support groups, and community organizations. Operators may be able to offer information on treatment and support options to help for the time between detox and residential rehabilitation.
Step 3: Plan your trip and enter treatment.
Beginning substance abuse treatment may require some additional planning. Notifying friends and family as needed as well as taking time off work or school can require specific arrangements. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) individuals may receive up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for themselves or loved ones, but there is paperwork involved in this transition.
Filling Treatment Gaps
If you experience any gaps in treatment, attendance at a meeting of a mutual help group, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, may help maintain your focus on sobriety.
There are also online forums that offer support all hours of the day for those who may not be able to leave home or who are not close enough to attend an appropriate support group in person.
People who are struggling with severe addiction and can’t get the help they feel they need, should call a crisis hotline.
- Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2019). Results from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Rockville, MD.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Principles of Effective Treatment.
- Redko, C., Rapp, R. C., & Carlson, R. G. (2006). Waiting Time as a Barrier to Treatment Entry: Perceptions of Substance Users. Journal of Drug Issues, 36(4), 831–852.
- McCarty, D., Gustafson, D., Capoccia, V. A., & Cotter, F. (2009). Improving care for the treatment of alcohol and drug disorders. The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 36(1), 52–60.
- Miller, S. C., Fiellin, D. A., Rosenthal, R. N., & Saitz, R. (2019). The ASAM Principles of Addiction Medicine, Sixth Edition. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer.