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Top 5 Reasons to Avoid Addiction Treatment and Why None of Them Matter

Young woman showing her denial with NO on her hand vintage filtered image.

Even if there are 100 good reasons to leave for rehab right away, it seems like it is never hard to come up with many more reasons to procrastinate and postpone getting help. Family constraints, work commitments, financial limitations, or denial that a problem that requires treatment exists can all seem like valid reasons to avoid enrolling in rehab.

That fact is, however, that if you are living with a substance use disorder, there is no reason to continue using drugs and alcohol or to avoid getting help. Immediate treatment is recommended for all cases, no matter how mild or severe, and the time to get started is now.

1. Family

Understandably, the first concern for many considering entering treatment is the wellbeing of their dependent family members. Children, special needs family members, and seniors at home who need round-the-clock care certainly are a priority, but if you are living with a substance use disorder and responsible for their care, then your enrollment in treatment is actually prioritizing their wellbeing. When you are impaired due to drug or alcohol use, no one is getting the level of care, time, or attention they need from you to thrive.

But who will care for them while you are enrolled in inpatient treatment? If family members or friends are not able to help you manage the details of dependent care while you are in inpatient treatment, look for an outpatient treatment program that fits your schedule. Talk to different programs and find out how you can deal with scheduling specifics. For example, if school gets out at a certain time for your kids, then find out if it’s possible to accommodate that during treatment.

2. Work

Your career is important, and there are a number of reasons why you may believe that going to treatment will negatively impact your job. Some believe that people will find out about their addiction disorder at work and that it will somehow impact their future options or damage their reputation. Others are concerned that they will be replaced while they are gone or otherwise lose ground at work.

Like care for dependent family members, however, an untreated addiction disorder will soon mean that you are nonfunctional at work. Most people living in active addiction lose their jobs due to drug and alcohol use and its consequences, or lose out on opportunities even in the case of those who believe themselves to be functional at work. The truth is that no one can function at their best on any level when an addiction disorder is present.

However, if you are currently employed, you may find that there are stipulations in your contract that protect your job if you undergo treatment for any medical illness. There may even be programs through human resources that will help you to get back on track through treatment.

Otherwise, a leave of absence may be in order, at least for the detox period if that is necessary. Outpatient treatment programs, too, may be able to work with you to create a therapy schedule that will allow you to continue to engage in some level with your job.

3. Money

Treatment can be expensive. Whether outpatient or inpatient, close to home or out of state, the bill can quickly add up, especially when travel costs, medications if needed, and other out-of-pocket expenses are included.

However, it is also true that addiction is expensive. The bill for drugs or alcohol alone is often shockingly high during active addiction, plus the consequences of addiction are often legal fees and court costs, bankruptcy and foreclosure, divorce and custody battles, and huge medical bills. The cost of treatment saves an untold amount of money in the long run. It’s an investment in your physical and mental health as well as the long-term wellbeing of your finances.

4. Denial

One of the biggest reasons not to go to treatment is an inability to recognize that treatment is necessary. Many prefer to rationalize the consequences of drug and alcohol abuse in their lives, citing other people or situations as the true cause of the problem. The concerns of close friends and family members are often dismissed as inconsequential, and even medical problems or legal issues that result are assigned to other factors.

Unfortunately, denial can last long after everyone around you is well aware of your substance use disorder. You will arguably be the one who is most hurt by continuing to deny that treatment is necessary, but your ongoing substance use and abuse will negatively impact those around you as well.

5. DIY Recovery

Another common reason to avoid enrollment in professional treatment is the belief that the disorder is one that can be addressed at home on a “do-it-yourself” basis. Many believe that they are in control and will be able to stop taking their drug of choice and moderate their behavior going forward without the need for treatment. Unfortunately, if this were possible, it is likely that it would have happened long before the consequences of drug and alcohol use became so severe.

Bottom line: If you are living with a substance use disorder, treatment is the only effective way to stop all use of drugs and alcohol safely, and to learn how to remain sober for the long-term.

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