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Why Am I Scared to Go to Rehab?

scared to go to drug rehab

Are you scared to go to rehab, and get help for your addiction? You are not alone. Of the 21 million people out there with a substance use disorder, an estimated 90 percent do not pursue a rehab program. Much of the time, it is because they are scared – scared of what others might think, scared of how it might affect their day-to-day lives, or simply afraid of the unknown.

According to a recent study of individuals with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders, some of the most common barriers to receiving treatment involved fear. Of the respondents that did not seek help, for example:

  • 14% of those with a mental health disorder were scared of committing to a program
  • 13% of those with a substance use disorder were scared rehab might have a negative effect on their job
  • 13% of substance users, and 12% of those with a mental health disorder, said they were afraid their neighbors would think negatively of them

These are just a few of the many barriers to rehab, but there are even more underlying fears that can keep someone from getting the help they need. Why? Because there is so much stigma that surrounds people with addiction. Society has led us to believe that addiction is a weakness or a flaw in character. Those struggling are often blamed for their disease, even though addiction is just that – a chronic disease (much like diabetes). As a result, those battling substance addiction are often scared to speak up. Some are afraid to acknowledge they have a problem, out of fear of how others might react. 

If you have a drug problem, but are hesitant to get help, you may be asking “Why am I scared to go to rehab?” or “What am I really scared of?” Turnbridge has heard about the many fears clients face before entering a rehab program. Using this knowledge, we’ve put together a list of considerations below.

  1. Are you scared what will happen if you stop using drugs?

If you have a drug problem, you more than likely feel the effects of withdrawal when you are not using. You know – the muscle aches, shakiness, anxiety, inability to sleep, fatigue, hot/cold sweats, nausea, and other flu-like symptoms. Sometimes, the withdrawal symptoms are so bad that it can keep a person in the addiction cycle, no matter how dangerous it might be. Perhaps that is one reason why you are scared. You may be scared what will happen to your body when you stop using drugs for good. 

When you stop using drugs initially, it is important to do so in a treatment facility staffed with clinicians, where you are monitored. This ensures that the withdrawal symptoms are properly managed, and that you are as comfortable as possible through the detoxification stage. Afterwards, your body is sure to thank you. Those who recover from addiction boast that physical health is one of the best benefits of sobriety. Their skin, hair, and eyes are clearer. Their appetite is back. Their sleep patterns return to normal. They have an exercise routine. They are energized

There is no need to be scared of stopping drug use, as long as you start your recovery at a rehab facility that can help you through it.

  1. Are you scared of what others might think?

As noted in the survey above, many people are scared of what their neighbors, or even colleagues and friends, might think if they enter a rehab program. Due to the stigma surrounding addiction, people often assume that those who go to rehab have made “bad choices” or “failed” in aspects of their life. The truth is, addiction is not a moral failing and it is not a choice. Anyone can become addicted to drugs, no matter their background, their upbringing, or their life path. Substance addiction is a chronic disease that affects how the brain functions. You did not choose to become addicted, but you can make a positive choice to get sober and go to rehab.

Those who truly love and support you will never judge you for going to rehab. Your friends and loved ones want the best for you, which means getting healthy and getting the support you deserve. More than likely, they want you to re-build your life. They may even want to re-build their relationship with you, if there were some bridges burned along the way. 

  1. Are you worried about the negative effect rehab might have on school or work?

Sometimes, people with addiction are scared of how a rehab program might disrupt their day-to-day lives. Maybe you’re afraid of committing to something long-term because it might interfere with your life goals. You may be scared of losing your job, or of staying back in school, if you choose to go to rehab. These fears are all very common.

First, it is important to realize that without professional help, your addiction could get worse. It could lead you to lose your job, to drop out of school, or to lose sight of your priorities. Worse, it could lead to overdose – and the above wouldn’t matter as much. This is just something to keep in mind. Can you accept the temporary disruption in your life, if it will lead you to positive and long-term success?

Second, it is important to find a drug rehab program that can support your goals, rather than disrupt them. And they are out there! For example, at Turnbridge, adolescents and young adult clients are given the opportunity to continue their education while in treatment. Our admissions team will coordinate with your current and previous school(s) to help ensure you stay on track. Clients are also encouraged to pursue vocational and volunteer opportunities towards the end of their treatment program, to help facilitate their reintegration into mainstream society.

  1. Are you scared to go to rehab because you don’t know what to expect?

The unknown can be scary, and going to rehab for the first-time is no exception. You may be wondering what to expect. Will it be a hospital-like setting? Will you be able to talk to other people in treatment? Will you feel isolated from society, or from your family? These are common fears that those entering treatment have, based on the many myths surrounding drug rehab programs.

In reality, most treatment programs offer a comfortable, community setting. At Turnbridge, for example, you can expect to be surrounded by other like-minded individuals in recovery, who are on the road to change. You can expect to participate in fun, sober, and holistic activities, whether that be yoga or a team sport. You can expect to live in a safe, drug-free, and beautiful residence where you will always have access to learning, nutritious meals, gyms, the outdoors, and supportive peers and staff members. And this is just the beginning. Forget the rumors you’ve heard, and find out what really happens in rehab here.

  1. Are you scared rehab won’t work?

Many people are scared of going to rehab because they are scared it won’t work. Is it really worth the time? In fact, it is worth the time – and the more time you put in, the more you are likely to find success. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states, “Most addicted individuals need at least 3 months in treatment to significantly reduce or stop their drug use and that the best outcomes occur with longer durations of treatment.” Further, the NIDA suggests that young people benefit from continued care after rehab is complete, such as prolonged drug use monitoring, follow-up visits at home, and participation in support groups.

Turnbridge has also seen similar results. Among our graduates who completed at least 270 days (i.e. nine months) of treatment, more than 95 percent remained sober after one year. The vast majority went on to complete two years of sobriety, as well. 

Of course, not every rehab program is the same. No single type of rehab or treatment program will work for everyone. It is important to find a program that can tailor to your individual needs, and create a treatment regime that works for you. 

If you find that you relapse after your first go at rehab, it’s important to recognize that this is not a failure. Relapse can be a very common part of the recovery journey. Usually, it indicates that something in your treatment plan needs to change. For example, a longer-term or more intensive program may be needed. This is normal and this is okay. The more you are open to altering and improving your treatment program (as your needs evolve), the closer you will be towards complete recovery.

Knowing Where to Start

Another reason many people do not go to rehab at first? They do not know where to start or where to go for help. If you or a loved one may be in need of drug rehab services, the first step is to pick up the phone. You can call your physician, counselor, or even a treatment center like Turnbridge for advice. We can speak with you about your current situation, and help you determine the best next steps for you. As a recognized young adult rehab facility in New England, we know that it can be scary (for young people especially) to step out of your comfort zone and to accept help. We are here for you, without judgement. Call 877-581-1793 today.