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Are Free Inpatient Rehab Centers Worth the Wait?

Free inpatient rehab centers do exist and can be exactly what many individuals are looking for who otherwise would not have been able to attend rehab because of the cost. But are free inpatient rehab centers worth the wait?

Are the Waits for Free Rehab Centers Long?

According to SAMHSA, only four percent of the substances abuse treatment facilities in the US are completely free of cost. Most of the others are either partially free or have a sliding fee scale option or both, but finding a free inpatient rehab center can be difficult. And, once one finds a facility like this, there can often be a long wait. There are several reasons that cause this wait issue:

  • The scarcity of free inpatient rehab centers when compared to private inpatient rehab centers
  • The high demand for free treatment
  • The high demand for inpatient treatment
  • The fact that inpatient treatment, if not provided by one of the few free or low-cost facilities, is usually more expensive than outpatient treatment.
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The sooner you find the treatment you need, the better.

Even though the wait for free inpatient rehab can be long, many individuals choose to be placed on a waitlist in order to receive a spot in treatment. There are actually quite a few benefits to free inpatient rehab which is why many individuals are willing to wait for it.

What are the Benefits of Free Inpatient Rehab?

Some of the benefits of free inpatient rehab are:

  • Individuals who might not have been able to receive treatment because of the cost can as a result of free rehab.
  • Many patients need the controlled environment and extremely specialized care that come with inpatient rehab and they do not have to worry about affording it.
  • “SAMHSA data show that private nonprofit organizations operated the majority of facilities offering ‘all free’… care.”
  • Patients often feel more encouraged to stay in treatment longer than those in outpatient treatment might.
  • Patients can be more easily treated for medical conditions or co-occurring mental disorders in inpatient treatment where these conditions might go more unnoticed in outpatient treatment.
  • Patients can be resocialized by having all the individuals around them (doctors, nurses, therapists, other patients, etc.) work as part of their recovery help.
  • Patients who do not have strong support systems at home can often be more successful in inpatient treatment than outpatient treatment.

Are Free Inpatient Centers Worth the Wait?

According to the NCJRS, “the length of time an individual waits for treatment” can directly govern the effectiveness of the treatment itself. If a patient is forced to wait too long, it can be difficult for the treatment to be effective once they finally receive it (especially with pharmacological treatments), and some patients end up dropping out while on the waiting list. But for many, free inpatient rehab is the only way for them to receive the treatment type they need.

The most important thing is to look for the treatment that best fits your needs. If you are able to find low-cost inpatient treatment that you can afford, then absolutely attend treatment at that facility as it will vacate a spot for someone who desperately needs free inpatient rehab. And if you do need free inpatient rehab, the wait may indeed be worth it to you.

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