What Factors Keep Us From Getting Substance Abuse Help?

Have you ever searched the internet for “addiction help near me?” If you don’t find much, you may feel stuck. Many others are in the same boat. They need to find substance abuse help, but some clinics may be far away. Others may cost a lot or may not have many choices. Here we’ll review what can make it hard for a person to get help. Even a person who has started treatment may stumble. We’ll also look at what treatment centers can do to give better access.  

Factors that can keep a person from getting substance abuse help

People from all walks of life can experience addiction. Here are some of the barriers people face with addiction treatment.  

Location and transportation

Transportation can be costly, and some people don’t live near a quality treatment center. These two issues can keep a person from even thinking about treatment.  

Lack of services in the community

Treatment centers aren’t always close to the people who need them. People living in rural areas may be hours away from the nearest clinic.  Even urban areas may lack clinics. A good facility needs trained staff and a community network. Otherwise, people may need to travel out of town for care.  

Long-distance travel

Long-distance travel makes treatment more difficult no matter the distance. Travel can take time. It can be hard with a job or school.  

Public transportation

Public transportation gives some people better access to treatment. But it isn’t right for everyone. Here are a few reasons why. 

  • Buses and trains can get off-schedule. 
  • Public transportation is only available for urban areas. 
  • Taxis and personal driving services can fill gaps but can be costly.
  • Public transportation can be expensive. 
  • People with health issues may struggle to use these services.


Personal vehicles

Many people rely on cars for transportation, especially in smaller communities. But having access to a car doesn’t mean a person always makes it to treatment. Here are a few challenges that often come up.  

  • A vehicle needing repair either won’t run or could break down. 
  • Gas can be expensive, especially when traveling long distances.
  • Some people in treatment may have legal issues related to driving. They may have a suspended or outdated driver’s license.  
  • A person who doesn’t drive may not always have a ride for treatment sessions.


Lack of support from friends or family in seeking substance abuse help

Friends and family often rally around a sick loved one. But that isn’t always the case for people with addiction. Here’s why some friends or family members may not support a person in recovery.  

They don’t want to change their behavior around the recovering person

A person in recovery may wish to avoid being around substances. Some people may not want to change their behaviors. They may still want to use substances, even if the person in recovery is nearby. It can be stressful if a person is concerned about relapse and can feel like a lack of support or concern.   

They’re not ready to support or forgive the person in recovery

Addiction can put intense pressure on a person’s relationships. A person misusing substances has trouble managing their emotions. They may not handle money or responsibilities well either. People often hide or lie about their use.    These issues can push friends and family members to the brink. Broken trust can be hard to rebuild, and some may not be ready to offer support.  

They aren’t ready to acknowledge family pain

When a family lives with emotional pain for years, change can be scary. A person in recovery often gets better by going against old family patterns.    Some family members aren’t ready to go along with this and face their pain directly. So they push against the person in recovery. They may abandon the person or think they’re disloyal.   

They have an outdated view of addiction

Addiction is a treatable health condition, but some people hold on to outdated viewpoints. Some people consider addiction a sign of weakness. They may think a person with addiction is irresponsible or a criminal.    People with addiction sometimes have legal problems. Those issues can be serious. But they can improve when a person goes into recovery. Still, some family members may hang onto their negative beliefs.  

Lack of variety in treatment

Each person going through recovery is on a unique journey. Not every treatment method will be helpful for everyone. So when treatment choices don’t match what someone needs, they may give up or not even start.   

Treatment centers don’t offer both inpatient and outpatient options 

Not all addictions look alike. Some are more severe and disruptive. For others, daily functioning is OK during recovery. Inpatient treatment is valuable and necessary for some. But for others, outpatient is a better fit.    A person’s work schedule is a common barrier to seeking treatment. Outpatient treatment centers offer flexible services. People with jobs can go forward with treatment. They know treatment services will work around their job needs.  

MOUD/MAT is not available 

MOUD and MAT are safe, effective options for some substance use disorders, but these options aren’t widely available. Some treatment professionals don’t have updated knowledge. They may be uncertain about the effectiveness. They may also have misunderstandings of how it works as a treatment. Also, some state policies may not be flexible enough to allow these options.   

Treatments aren’t created for the individual

Some clinics offer one brand of treatment for everyone. While it may make it simpler for staff, it doesn’t serve each patient’s unique needs.. This approach may happen in clinics with fewer resources or trained therapists. Other centers with one main specialty may not offer much variety either.   

Treatment centers only accept private pay

Cost is one of the largest barriers to treatment. When a clinic only accepts private payments, many people get left out. Some people will skip or resist treatment because of the expense.  In some communities, private pay treatment may be the only option. Anyone needing a more affordable option must travel. Others don’t pursue treatment at all, even if they need it.  

What can a treatment center do to create more accessible treatment? 

Addiction affects communities across the country. Clinics and treatment centers need to find ways to meet these needs. New clinics in underserved areas can help. But existing treatment centers can reach more people, too.

Educate the public and family members about treatment options

People can make better treatment decisions when they know their options. Treatment centers can connect with medical and mental health clinics in their area.  They may get the word out through public announcements and events. It may take time to improve awareness. But once people hear the buzz, they may be open to learning more.   

Both outpatient and inpatient substance abuse help

People living in rural communities often need to travel for health care; this can also happen in underserved urban neighborhoods. A regional area with both inpatient and outpatient treatment centers can meet many needs. Facilities may not be available in all communities. But regional hub cities can provide their area with more choices for everyone.   

MOUD and MAT services

MOUD and MAT services are also critical. Opioid addiction tends to be more severe than other types. MOUD and MAT can help where inpatient services aren’t nearby. Medications are safe and effective and can prevent overdose and death.  As more professionals learn about MOUD and MAT, the trend can expand. But it may take time for this change to become widespread.  

Evidence supported therapy

Addiction treatment has come a long way in the last few decades. Therapy has evolved, but some treatment centers have not adopted new methods. Cookie-cutter services don’t work for everyone.  This can be less effective and make treatment less appealing, and it’s especially a problem for women and people of color. These individuals are less likely to seek treatment. They often don’t get the same quality of care as white people and men. Evidence-based therapy supports the best possible outcome. Clinics who use these methods stay updated on current research. They keep high standards and offer quality care to everyone. This approach gives people their best chance in recovery.  

Accept insurance to lower the cost

Insurance can make a big difference for many needing treatment. It can be the difference between starting treatment right away to holding off for months. Insurance comes with challenges.  It may take extra training, research, and planning for clinics to get past these barriers. But when treatment teams can work with insurance, it really matters.   

Virtual outpatient treatment center options

Virtual outpatient treatment has grown by leaps and bounds since 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic made many treatment centers turn to virtual options.  The pandemic will eventually become less of a threat. Even so, virtual outpatient options will remain important. The growth of virtual treatment can help people with cost and travel barriers.  

Better access to addiction treatment for everyone

Treatment is vital when struggling with addiction, but some people have to climb over more barriers to get help. It doesn’t need to be this way. Treatment centers can do more,  and you can learn more about your options.  If you can’t find the substance abuse help you need, don’t give up. Call us at 713-528-3709 to find about more about our P.A.T.H. treatment options. We’ll help you learn more about addiction help for you or a loved one. If you’re in the Nashville, Tennessee, area, we have a new location near you.

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