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Why Traveling for Addiction Rehab is a Good Idea

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Today, more people are struggling with substance use disorder than at any other point in history. In 2020, 40.3 million people struggled with a substance use disorder. At the same time, only some 4 million people received addiction treatment in that year. With many citing the availability of treatment, desire to maintain privacy and anonymity, and inability to get away from responsibilities at home to focus on counseling and therapy as reasons for not getting treatment, traveling to addiction rehab is increasingly a good idea for many.

At the same time, it’s important to keep in mind that almost any rehab is better than no rehab. Even if you’re attending a few hours of counseling a day via an outpatient program, it’s better than nothing at all.

So, if you can’t make time in your schedule to fit, any rehab is better than no rehab. Still, traveling for rehab makes a lot of sense, with numerous benefits over taking whatever program is available in your area.

Getting a Fresh Start

When you’re around people and places you know, you tend to behave in ways you expect for those places. That’s because people build up social and physical habits. If you’re accustomed to speaking to someone in a language, talking to them in a specific way, or behaving in a certain way around them, it’s difficult to change those patterns. Just like it’s weird to go out with your colleagues to a theme park or difficult to play with your boss, it’s difficult to change other behaviors too. That includes drinking or using – and the presence of people who you normally drink or use around, even your family, can make doing so more of an easy-to-sustain habit – even if they don’t do so with you.

That also holds true for addiction triggers, whether those are people or environment. If you constantly have to be around the things that trigger you to use or drink, it will be very difficult to make it through treatment without relapsing. Traveling to rehab will give you the chance to step away from those triggers, to learn coping mechanisms, and to gain new skills to deal with them when you get back.

Traveling to a rehab center will take you out of range of those habits and behaviors, removing you from triggers and influences, and allowing you to build new habits without old ones interfering.


Many working professionals are significantly concerned about the cost to their reputation if they were to be seen attending a rehab center. That might also be true if you simply want to preserve your privacy and not have everyone, especially in a small town, know that you’re getting help for addiction.

Traveling to an out-of-state or a destination rehab center allows you to get treatment anonymously. It doesn’t matter who you see, they won’t recognize you and you’ll be able to maintain privacy. That can also help during treatment, where knowing you’re anonymous can help you to open up and to be more truthful with your counselors and therapists than if you know you’ll run into those people at the grocery store or in church.

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More Choice for Treatment

Most areas have at least one rehab center, even if it’s small scale and outpatient only. With 31,000+ rehab centers in the country, that’s a given. However, the vast majority of those rehab centers are located in destination areas. For example, the state of California is home to over 1,500 rehab centers.   On the other hand, there are less than 100 in the state of Idaho.

If you travel to rehab, you’ll have more freedom to pick the treatment option you want based on type of treatment, services offered, specialty programs, etc. If you stay local, it’s unlikely you’d get to choose from more than 1-2 program options at most.

a medical staff discussing drug rehab options to a male client
  • Behavioral therapy type (E.g., Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, EMDR, Mindfulness, DBT, etc.)
  • 12-step or non-12-step treatment
  • Christian-based/secular treatment
  • Patient to staff ratios, staff licensing, organizational licensing (e.g., some insurance providers only accept organizations with specific types of certifications)
  • Support for specific needs. E.g., dual diagnosis, female-only, LGBTQ, MAT program, etc.
  • Extras such as childcare, pet care, family visitation, etc.

And, of course, if you travel to rehab, you’ll be able to look for one with good reviews, a good alumni program, and plenty of offerings for aftercare and ongoing treatment.

Committing to Treatment

Local programs are relatively easy to attend. However, they’re difficult to commit to. That’s especially true if you’re going home or to work every night, where opportunities for relapse are high. That’s why dropout rates range from 30-57% for most outpatient programs. For inpatient programs those rates start at around 17%, providing the facility you attend offers a good patient/staff ratio and plenty of in-house support.

Packing up and going to a rehab center is an act of commitment and it is one that is harder to give up prematurely. In addition, it can help you to get into the mindset that you’re putting in effort for your recovery and this is the first step. That’s similar to avoiding triggers and existing behavioral patterns – but functions to ensure you’re ready to accept treatment.

Traveling to Addiction Treatment

Traveling to addiction treatment can give you a lot of advantages over choosing something local. The largest of those are the ability to choose a facility you want to attend that offers the treatment you want. The next is that you can do so in a private environment, away from the stress and triggers of home, and in an environment conductive to focusing on yourself and your recovery.

While traveling isn’t always possible, many rehab centers work to facilitate everyone by offering childcare, pet care, and longer-term family visitation, so you can go to rehab even if you don’t have someone to care for your family. In addition, most will take steps to ensure you have everything you need to focus fully on recovery, which you can’t often do closer to home.

With fewer triggers, no people or places linked to habitual use, and a new environment where no one knows who you are, you have everything you need to start with a clean slate. And, that’s the idea.

Of course, you’ll still have to go back home, look for local aftercare, and continue to support yourself in your recovery. But, when you do, you’ll be doing so with the added help of having been to therapy, having learned coping mechanisms, and having built support networks to help you in your recovery.

Good luck seeing treatment.

If you or a loved one would like more information about drug rehabalcohol rehabdetox please contact us to speak in complete confidence with one of our experienced treatment advisors today.

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