The Cost of Rehab Explained
Factors Affecting Rehab Costs
There are four main factors affecting rehab costs, (1) including:
- Type of Treatment: The types of rehab treatment are mostly categorised as outpatient and inpatient. Inpatient or residential treatment programmes cost more as staff and resources are provided by the facility for the duration of the client’s stay. A client only needs to visit the facility for a few hours with outpatient treatment programmes and can still earn while receiving treatment.
- Length of Treatment: The longer a client receives addiction treatment at a facility, the more their rehabilitation costs are bound to be. Unless the person visiting a rehab facility under court order, a counsellor will recommend a period of treatment.
- Facility Amenities: The more amenities a rehab facility has, the more its services are going to cost. Drug addiction treatment is a consumer item, and how much clients pays depends on what they can afford. Amenities in rehab facilities range from basic and necessary to luxurious and outlandish.
- Facility Location: Drug addiction treatment centres have different surroundings. Rehab facilities located in prime locations such as by the sea or high atop a mountain will cost more than a facility in a regular city block or residential area.
Understanding the Cost of Drug Rehab and Treatment
The cost of drug rehabilitation and treatment varies widely depending on the treatment facility. There are free treatment programs as well as facilities that charge thousands of pounds a day. Clients would be prudent to review their treatment budget and find the most suitable centre. (2)
Insurance is a great aid when paying for addiction treatment costs and is commonly used by clients. Insurance options when paying for rehab include state-funded insurance, private insurance and military insurance. However, if a client cannot afford insurance, they can try rehab programs with creative financing options. Financing a rehab treatment may include incurring debt to be repaid when sober.
The type of addiction treatment received at a rehabilitation facility will largely influence its cost. A detox program takes the least amount of time and money, depending on the drug. Outpatient rehab costs less than inpatient rehab, but the cost of the latter will depend on the services and duration of the treatment. If medication is prescribed, it will increase the cost of the treatment.
Though addiction treatment may seem expensive, it is cheaper than the cost of the addiction. Legal issues, health problems and productivity loss add up to a significant cost.
An intervention may be the last option a person has to make a loved one understand that they need help dealing with their substance abuse. Most interventions are done privately with a few family members and friends. However, if the problem is too far gone, an intervention specialist may be needed.
An intervention specialist may either be an individual or organisation that is hired to prepare and conduct an intervention. The cost of an intervention specialist can vary between £2,000 and £8,250, depending on the intervention service offered. Experience and accreditation of the intervention specialist will also contribute to the cost. (3)
An insurance company may pay for a fraction of the intervention costs, depending on the insurance plan. An intervention specialist may also offer discounts or financing options to offset the cost of the intervention. The best intervention services are packaged within the total rehab cost.
Medical detoxification is the first step in recovery from substance dependence and involves a process of removing toxins from the body. Medical detox helps manage withdrawal symptoms and alleviate physical dependency on the drug.
Withdrawals from certain drugs can cause adverse health effects and even lead to death. Medical detox at rehab facilities is done by medical professionals who use medicines and other techniques to reduce the side effects of withdrawals. Medical detox will be more expensive than quitting cold turkey, but that is usually not recommended. Depending on the withdrawal effects, the duration of the detox, medicines and techniques used will vary. (4)
Medical detox will not treat the root causes of substance abuse but will only deal with the withdrawal effects. Therefore, education, therapy and other support resources should accompany the medical detox.
Inpatient rehabilitation is the best choice for alcoholism and substance abuse because of the support services surrounding the client. The 24-hour care is beneficial not only because the patient can be closely monitored, which is vital in case of life-threatening withdrawal scenarios, but also because it offers a controlled environment devoid of temptation from external sources.
Inpatient rehab starts with a medical detox process so that clients can safely withdraw from their substance abuse. It is then followed by personal counselling sessions, group therapy sessions and other treatments.
It is also easy for inpatient rehab clients to engage in educational sessions, exercise routines, holistic treatment and support groups to find a way to live without alcohol or drugs. (4)
Inpatient rehab services cost more than outpatient services due to the professional staff and customised treatment. However, insurance providers may help clients access appropriate inpatient rehab services.
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Partial hospitalisation can also be referred to as intensive outpatient treatment. It is a way to be closely monitored by the facility’s staff during the day so that when a client leaves, they are less likely to indulge in substance abuse.
Partial hospitalisation can include treatments that last up to seven days a week. The daily sessions can last up to eight hours a day, and the client is released at night.
Partial hospitalisation is done for clients who have other commitments such as children or an elderly person to attend to. They also afford the client the chance to work and earn an income at night.
Partial hospitalisation is cheaper than residential care but more expensive than outpatient care. The client does not incur costs at the facility, like meals and accommodation, which significantly reduces the programme’s costs.
Outpatient rehab involves substance abuse rehabilitation acquired while still continuing with a normal life. The program may not be implemented at a treatment facility and causes as little disruption to a person’s regular schedule as possible.
Partaking in an outpatient rehab program will depend on the level of withdrawal symptoms, level of addiction, support system, finances and daily schedule. An outpatient programme can follow an inpatient programme if the client needs help while adjusting to normal life. (4)
An outpatient rehab programme costs less than an inpatient programme since it does not invoice the living costs of an inpatient setting. Financial limits, including insurance limitations, are a common reason why some addiction clients prefer outpatient to inpatient rehab.
Being able to obtain rehab services around a client’s daily life and in a location of their choosing can significantly impact rehab costs. However, the decision to undergo outpatient care will largely depend on the facility’s evaluation.
Rehab aftercare and support groups
Support groups are an important element of aftercare services because they provide patients with a support structure to depend on after the rehabilitation program is finished. Support groups are often small and meet once or twice a week to discuss issues that may have challenged their sobriety within the week.
Support groups are not to be confused with group therapy. Group therapy sessions are usually led by a trained therapist or counsellor, while support group sessions are led by peers who have undergone the recovery process and may have some training leading the group.
An AA study showed a 67% success rate for recovering addicts who attended support group sessions as opposed to 34% for those who didn’t.
The Length of the Rehab Treatment Program and the Costs
The duration of a rehab program largely determines its cost. The amount of time spent at a rehab facility will be also be determined by the cost of the program. Generally speaking, the longer the stay, the higher the bill.
A detox programme at a rehab facility can last anywhere between three days and two weeks. Typical inpatient and outpatient rehab programmes range between 28 and 90 days. In heroin addiction cases, the client may be enrolled in a treatment programme that lasts for a year or longer.
Inpatient rehab costs in the UK can run between £1,650 and £20,000 for a month-long programme, whereas outpatient
rehab can be free or cost up to £8,250. Medical detox costs between £250 and £750 per day, depending on the facility.Medicine used during detox and after can be a significant contributor to rehab costs. The longer a rehab programme takes, the more medicine the client is likely to use, which will increase the cost of the programme.
Short-term treatment programme
Short-term rehab treatment programmes usually refer to week-long detox programmes or a four-week rehab programme that includes a seven-day detox programme. Short-term treatment programmes are used for clients with a short history of addiction and those with strong external support structures.
Clients do not receive psychotherapeutic treatments during a week-long detox programme. A four-week rehab programme, on the other hand, will include a week of medical detox and three weeks of therapeutic sessions. (8)
A short-term treatment program is only the start of the rehabilitation process. It is up to the client to organise their own aftercare in a short-term treatment programme, which usually involves participating in support groups.
Long-term treatment programme
A long-term rehabilitation treatment programme can last anywhere between four weeks and one year, depending on the circumstances. The average long-term treatment program lasts for 90 days. (9)
Long-term treatment programs are typically residential (inpatient) programs. Residential rehabilitation treatment offers the best chance for long term success. Psychotherapeutic sessions that stretch over several months can get at the root cause of addiction issues.
The cost of a long-term treatment plan depends on the duration of the stay. With costs such as therapy, group activities, boarding costs, and paying for prescriptions, the costs can amount to a substantial sum over three months.
If you pay £20,000 for a 30-day program, then it will cost you around £60,000 for an average long-term rehabilitation program. The cost of such a program may seem expensive, but considering that it increases the chances for life-long abstinence, the benefits outweigh the costs.
The Amenities Offered by the Facility and the Costs
Part of treating substance dependence issues is getting patients to adopt healthier, more meaningful habits. The facilities at a drug rehabilitation facility go a long way in changing these habits. (1)
The best addiction treatment facilities have the best amenities, which set them apart from other treatment facilities. Better amenities at a treatment facility usually translate into higher recovery success rates.
Hospital amenities are particularly crucial in rehab facilities that offer medical detox. A facility with better medical amenities and staff will be better placed to handle dire withdrawal effects than one with standard amenities.
Amenities you can expect to find at a quality rehab facility include a gym, spa, swimming pools, private boarding rooms, a good kitchen, spiritual centre and therapeutic equipment such as acupuncture tools and animals for therapy. The state of the aforementioned amenities should be seriously evaluated before enrolling in a rehab facility.
An addiction treatment centre with luxurious amenities eases the transition from addiction to recovery but costs a lot more than a treatment centre without them. A well-equipped facility can charge up to twice what a facility with poor amenities will charge.
Luxury treatment programme
Luxury addiction treatment facilities are getting more common. Luxury treatment programmes are offered by private facilities. State-funded rehab facilities often have to deal with budget cuts and bureaucracy that impedes them from offering luxury treatment programmes. (10)
A luxury substance dependence treatment programme involves getting the best in amenities, staff, medical services, medicine and aftercare services. Luxury services are especially helpful for those undergoing inpatient treatment.
If a client pays for luxury substance abuse treatment, they will be attended to by the best support staff, who will be interested in their recovery. The staff will also implement techniques that will help them achieve long-term abstinence from drug use.
Luxury treatment is not only meant for the rich, and there are luxury treatment programmes at regular facilities that are quite affordable. Although prices for luxury treatment programmes vary, it is heartening to know that clients do not need to pay much for luxury.
Typical treatment programme
It is important to note that there are no standard fees for a typical rehab programme. The amount a client pays will depend on the circumstances. However, there is a range of prices that addiction treatment centres charge for traditional treatment programmes.
A typical addiction treatment programme should include a consultation with a doctor, detox, medicine and therapy. Clients should find the treatment programme that best suits their substance dependence and recovery goals.
A typical 28-day programme at a rehab facility in the UK costs between £3,000 and £20,000. The average price for a four-week rehab treatment programme, including detox is about £5,000. The client is then charged about £1,000 weekly until they leave the facility or a total of about £13,000 for a 12-week stay.
A typical addiction treatment programme is not chosen based on the cost but rather its effectiveness. There are plenty of affordable treatment programmes in the country with equal recovery rates to luxury programmes.
Low-cost treatment programme
There are low-cost substance abuse programs for people suffering from addiction in the UK. The programmes are provided by private clinics and community-based health centres.
There is a low-cost treatment for all types of addiction. The type of treatment a client gets will substantially depend on the nature of their addiction. (12)
Many low-cost treatment programmes are outpatient programmes, as they are cheaper to provide than inpatient treatment programmes. However, outpatient programmes for alcoholism and heroin addiction are rarely successful.
Getting quality low-cost treatment at a rehab facility depends on how hard a client searches for a treatment programme that suits them. There are many private facilities offering affordable addiction treatment.
The typical price of a low-cost programme is a few hundred pounds a week. The price of a programme should not impede a prospective client from receiving treatment, as there are numerous treatment options available.
Free treatment programme
Free addiction treatment programmes in the UK are provided by the NHS. However, there also are private facilities, charities and community-based organisations that offer free treatment programmes for people struggling with addiction.
The ability to access free substance abuse treatment is helpful for people who have neither support nor money. However, free treatment programmes have low success rates and should be used only if there is no other choice.The NHS receives scores of requests for free treatment, which it cannot afford to provide fully.
Therefore, a client may have to be on a waiting list for some time before getting help, which could be disastrous in addiction cases. (13)
Due to the demand and shortage of funds, the NHS does not offer inpatient treatment programmes. Clients should also not expect to receive a customised treatment plan if they receive free treatment from the NHS.
The Location of the Rehab Treatment Facility and the Costs
A facility that is located on prime real estate — for example, alongside the ocean or on a hillside — will cost much more than one located in the suburbs. Clients should also expect to pay more to undergo treatment at a facility that resembles a seaside resort than one that looks like an inner-city prison. (1) The location of a rehabilitation facility can contribute much to its effectiveness, especially pertaining to inpatient treatment programmes. The cost of receiving treatment at the facility is significantly tied to its location.
Luxury treatment facilities are often built to be treatment centres specifically, so they tend to be located in more scenic locations. Conversely, low-cost treatment facilities are often properties repurposed to be treatment centres, and their locations are predetermined and plain.
A substance dependence facility located in a secluded location where drugs and alcohol are rare will have more success in treating patients.
For outpatient treatment, the location of the facility is also essential. The facility should be as close to the client as possible to ensure they come and receive the necessary help. The closer the facility is, the less time and money they will spend to receive treatment.
Paying for the Costs of Rehab
“How much does rehab cost?” is a question many people ask, and the correct answer is, “It depends.” The amount paid for drug rehabilitation will depend on a variety of factors, most significantly the level of addiction, the nature of treatment, and how long the client stays at the facility.
The cost of rehab is also not as expensive as most people imagine. Substance abuse rehabilitation services have never been cheaper than they are now.
Insurance is also a significant factor that decides how much a client pays for their stay in rehab. Private health insurance policies may include coverage for rehab in part or in full and will determine what they pay for rehab.
Those who do not have or cannot afford health insurance have other options at their disposal to pay for rehab costs. Putting the charge on a credit card is one of the options. A credit charge is usually quickly processed and affords the client the chance to be admitted to a rehab facility immediately. (14)
Family and friends’ contributions are often the main source of financing for rehab. Free services offered by the NHS, community-based organisations and support groups are also an option.
Government-financed health insurance
Paying for rehab using government-financed health insurance is a good option because NHS services in the UK are free. The client may have to pay for rehab in part if they decide to undergo inpatient treatment.
As soon as the person is diagnosed with an addiction disorder, they will be referred to a facility to receive free NHS services. (15)
The downside to accessing free government-sponsored rehab services is that they have long waiting lists, and clients may have to wait weeks before they receive any services. Clients may have to access a free programme by a charity or support group while they wait.
In special cases, the NHS will pay for inpatient treatment at a private rehabilitation facility. Such cases have declined over the past few years due to the NHS being underfunded.
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Private clinics are the best option for drug and alcohol addicts looking for treatment. Private treatment affords clients the highest chance of long-term recovery because of the professional staff and customised treatment plans.
Such services come at a high price. Private health insurance can help clients offset the high prices incurred for treatment. Most private health insurance companies in the UK offer coverage for addiction recovery either in part or in full. Clients should contact their insurance company to get more details.
Some of the major private insurance companies offering coverage for drug rehabilitation services are Aviva, AXA PPP, Vitality, Bupa, Cigna and WPA. The insurance policy from the provider will decide how much the client has to pay and hence, the type of treatment they can receive.
The insurance company can also refer clients to a facility that is affiliated with the company, effectively reducing the cost.
Military insurance policies are specifically for military personnel. The insurance covers military kit, contents and a home belonging to any military personnel currently serving or retired. The policy also covers members of the Reserve Forces. (17)
Military insurance coverage has recently expanded to cover addiction recovery services because of the high number of former soldiers suffering from addiction. Many military personnel with PTSD are increasingly turning to hard drugs if they cannot find the care they need from the government.
A military officer can pay for rehab services using their military insurance policy. Most major insurance companies in the UK offer military insurance coverage, which can be helpful in paying for addiction recovery services.
A military health insurance policy will also cover the soldier’s family in most cases. Therefore, a soldier can take a loved one to rehab and the policy will cover the costs.
There are other methods of financing a stint at rehab that can be helpful if the client is willing to be creative. With the right attitude and effort, there is no reason why a client should not receive the help they need from a substance dependency rehabilitation facility.
If the person doesn’t have the funds necessary to go to rehab, they can try an addiction recovery charity whose service costs will be free or at least reduced. Reduced costs will include therapy and outpatient treatment programmes. The charities may also pay for inpatient treatment if possible.
Another way to finance treatment at an addiction treatment facility is through private charity from friends and family. Donations and loans from the client’s loved ones will go a long way in settling their rehab bill. This is especially true when the person doesn’t have private health insurance. Commercial loans are also an option to finance rehab treatment. (15)
What Are Your Other Payment Options?
You have several options to pay for rehab, including:
Charities that pay for addiction recovery services can sometimes provide grants for residential treatment at substance abuse and alcoholism rehab facility.
In most cases, the charities are not able to offer the services themselves, and a grant is the only way they can offer that sort of help.
Charity from the client’s loved ones is the most prevalent sources of financing for rehab and will greatly contribute to paying their bill.
Donations are a good option because they come from other people’s generosity and so do not have to be paid back, as well as showing conviction that the person will overcome their addiction.
In dire situations where the client cannot afford to pay for rehab, they can get a commercial loan. Commercial loans are ill-advised as they have to be repaid, and failure has harsh consequences. However, owing money to a bank may motivate some clients to become sober.
Some employers offer health insurance that covers addiction recovery. Clients should confirm coverage with the insurance provider.
The employer may also match what the client is paying, which can significantly offset the cost of paying for rehabilitation services.
Paying a rehab bill using a credit card is an option if the person has no money but still wants to join an addiction treatment facility as soon as possible.
The client will have to repay the money when they settle their credit card bill, which may be easier after recovery.
Comparing Benefits to Cost of Treatment and Rehabilitation
Treating an addiction seems expensive at the outset, but when looking at all the costs involved both present and future, it starts to reveal a different picture. This is especially true considering the associated health and social costs of substance abuse. It is estimated that every pound invested in addiction treatment yields about £5 in savings pertaining to reduced crime and judicial costs.
When healthcare saving costs are added to the above figures, the savings increase to about £12 for every pound invested.
When comparing the cost of drug rehabilitation to incarceration for drug use, which are usually the two choices offered, the benefits of rehabilitation become even more apparent.
The median cost of rehabilitation of methadone treatment for heroin addicts is £3,860 per patient for one year, while the cost of housing an inmate in prison is about £15,112 per year. Even based on conservative estimates, the cost savings of drug and alcohol addiction treatment is astounding.
Qualitative benefits of rehabilitation are even more substantial than the quantitative benefits. The benefits of having more productive members of society, fewer conflicts between people and less crime cannot be overstated.
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Recovery Statistics of Drug Rehab
A Public Health England (PHE) report published in 2015 showed that recovery rates among former drug users were dropping. The drop was mainly caused by an ageing population in treatment and the introduction of new legal psychoactive substances. The study showed that most people in treatment were white British citizens. (19)
Fifty per cent of drug and alcohol addicts who had received treatment managed to become free of their substance dependence, which was a 2% drop from the previous year.
Sixty-two per cent of alcoholism patients were successfully treated during the same period, while non-opiate addicts had a 60% success rate, which was a 4% drop from the previous year.
Opiate addicts had the lowest success rate of recovery at 28%, which was 2% lower than the previous year. The low success rate was caused by the increasing amount of older opiate users.
The above figures do not reflect the success rate of individual rehab facilities. Moreover, the success rate of a treatment programme is dependent mainly on the individual.
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- (1) https://www.verywellmind.com/the-costs-of-alcohol-and-drug-treatment-67863
- (2) https://www.addictioncenter.com/rehab-questions/cost-of-drug-and-alcohol-treatment/
- (3) https://www.ridgefieldrecovery.com/intervention-guide/drug-intervention-costs/
- (4) https://www.drugrehab.com/treatment/detox/
- (7) https://www.recovery.org/drug-treatment/cost/
- (12) https://www.uk-rehab.com/drug-alcohol-treatment-centres/low-cost-rehab.html
- (13) https://www.uk-rehab.com/drug-alcohol-treatment-centres/free-rehab.html
- (15) https://www.addictionhelper.com/treatment-rehab/funding-options/
- (17) https://forceshealth.co.uk/
- (18) https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/teaching-packets/understanding-drug-abuse-addiction/section-iv/6-cost-effectiveness-drug-treatment
- (19) https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2016/11/03/what-weve-learned-from-our-annual-drug-and-alcohol-treatment-statistics/
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