People actively abusing alcohol, prescription medications, and illicit drugs face many challenging obstacles. They must endure the damaging influence of substances on their physical, psychological, and social health, and if they attempt to quit using the substance, they will likely encounter intense, often dangerous symptoms as the drug leaves their body.1,2 Because of these hazards, anyone who wants to stop using drugs should find ways to access formal, detoxification treatment to safely and effectively transition to a drug-free life.1,2 Unfortunately, certain barriers to treatment, like a lack of health insurance, discourage people from professional treatment and drive them toward riskier options.
The cost of professional detox can vary depending on the type of detox program, the length of the program, and the type of services and amenities offered.
Generally speaking, the cost of detox treatments varies widely from inpatient to outpatient, with most inpatient detox programs being more expensive than outpatient options. However, they also differ greatly within each type because the price is influenced by a number of additional factors.
Factors affecting the price of detox treatment are:3
This information suggests that a program on the higher end of the price spectrum would be an extended detox program with intense, varied services, provided in a desirable location with many staff members treating few clients.3 Based on data from many detox programs, prices can range from $600 to $1,000 per day, which means that detox can be as inexpensive as $4,000 for the program if it is very short duration, and as expensive as $14,000, if the program lasts two weeks.4 There is little evidence to support that higher costs are strongly associated with better care, so make sure to do your research when investigating detox options.3
When you go through detox after a period of sustained use, you face many distressing and sometimes dangerous effects called withdrawal symptoms.2,5 Those who quit alcohol and prescription sedatives, like benzodiazepines and barbiturates, are at greatest risk of harm and death from withdrawal, making professional treatment and supervision essential.2,5
People withdrawing from stimulants like methamphetamine, cocaine, and prescription medications for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may become suicidal or violently aggressive to others.2,5 Those withdrawing from opioids—including heroin and prescription pain medications like oxycodone and hydrocodone—can endure extreme mental and physical discomfort that often leads to relapse and overdose.2,5
Detox treatment is effective in providing comfort and reducing risks in several ways. For example, in the case of opioid detox, treatment providers can administer medications to relieve the distress and cravings associated with opioid withdrawal including:1,2,5
The sheer magnitude of the need for detox services becomes hard to ignore when you consider that in 2013, there were more than 22.5 million people in the U.S. needing treatment for substance use, including:6
The most troubling aspect is that of the 22.5 million people needing treatment, only 2.5 million received care—such as detox—from a specialized facility. Of the 20 million people who needed but did not receive treatment, about 37% report that lack of insurance and inability to pay for treatment were barriers.6
Those interested in seeking treatment might have questions like:
Given the life-threatening risks of continued substance abuse and, in some cases, those associated with abruptly quitting those same substances, emergency treatment should be considered regardless of cost or coverage. The physical health and wellbeing of you or your loved one are too important to gamble. Overdose, severe depression, aggression, loss of consciousness, or unexpected symptoms are signs of acute events that require immediate treatment.2,5
Accessing emergency treatment will vary based on your location, so always seek out reputable information from trusted sources as you explore available options that include:
Always provide an honest and complete description of your status to find the appropriate treatment because people with special concerns like homelessness, pregnancies, and medical issues may require a different type of treatment or detox than someone without such considerations. Depending on the care you need, you may begin treatment the same day. Remember, your life or the life of a loved one is too valuable to risk. Be sure to seek treatment rather than put a life in jeopardy.
In a non-emergency situation, you will still need to figure out a way to pay for detox if you don’t have insurance. Several options exist, including:
If you are interested in signing up for insurance, consider contacting your county assistance office or perform a quick online search regarding insurance. For people who are not offered insurance through their job, there are several options for insurance including:7,8,9
Each plan will vary in their coverage, but Medicare, Medicaid, and many plans under the ACA will provide partial or full coverage for professional assessment and detoxification, as well as many other substance abuse treatments, such as:9
Treatment for substance abuse requires a long-term commitment since detoxification is only the first step on the road to recovery. If you are interested in obtaining insurance, please consult:
A professional assessment is a great way to have your needs, wants, symptoms, and goals evaluated by a treatment expert. Many screenings use a SBIRT format, which stands for:10
For people wanting to manage their substance dependence and end their addiction, there may be a great deal of pressure to find the “right” detox program, but many programs offer effective, evidence-based treatments to help manage the withdrawal process, including:
Substance use, abuse, addiction, and dependence are affected by many aspects of your past and current experiences like:1
Many people attend support groups once they complete detoxification and continue to need community support as a form of relapse prevention.When your affairs are in order and things are running smoothly, you are more likely to experience higher levels of support and other protective factors to aid in your continued abstinence and promote long-term recovery from substances. When these same issues and supports are lacking or chaotic, they may create increased levels of stress and instability that adversely influence your progress toward a drug-free lifestyle. Professional detox programs facilitate your recovery by helping you transition to an ongoing addiction treatment program, which then uses a comprehensive approach to address each area.1
There are a number of free and widely available support groups that can expand the benefit of professional treatments and complement your recovery progress.1 Many people attend support groups once they complete detoxification and continue to need community support as a form of relapse prevention.
Other 12-step groups are available for the friends, family, and loved ones of people with addictions including Al-Anon and Alateen.
Some people in recovery prefer support group options that exist outside of the 12-step model, such as:
Support groups can be very helpful, but they should not be used as a replacement for specialized professional detox and addiction treatment, especially if you are addicted to a substance with potentially fatal withdrawal symptoms.