Private cruises allow people to view the sights without being bothered by others. Private entrances allow people to come and go without talking to photographers or pesky fans. Private boxes at sporting events allow the true fans to watch the game without listening to others scream for the team. In short, things that are private are often quite exclusive, and quite expensive.
In the field of addiction, private has a slightly different meaning. While some private rehabilitation facilities are expensive, and some do offer amenities that might seem luxurious or posh, private facilities also offer some benefits that have little, if anything, to do with money.
Public vs. Private
Addiction facilities can be split into two groups: public and private.
The Question of Affiliation
The lessons that are associated with long-term mastery of an addiction aren’t lessons that are quick and simple, and often, it takes a significant amount of time for people to learn these lessons and put them to use in their own lives. For example, according to a study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, people who are able to overcome an urge to relapse are focused on the future, reliant upon their skills and able to tolerate frustration. These are abstract skills that might be difficult to build, especially if the person has a lifetime of experience in behaving a different way.
- Décor choices
- Food options
- Amenities offered
- Communication styles
Private addiction facilities may vary dramatically in these areas, as they look for a specific niche of people to help. Finding this group helps the company, as it ensures that the company will be able to hire talented employees and stay in business. But it also may help the person in recovery. Addiction specialists refer to this phenomenon as “affiliation.” When addicts are surrounded by others whom they can relate to – those who seem similar to them in some way – they may be able to more readily accept their own addiction issue, and they may be more likely to stay in treatment as a result. This tailoring of approach may not be prevalent in public addiction programs, but it is common in private programs.
All addiction treatment facilities work hard to protect their clients’ confidentiality.
Any provider of health care services is required to keep that care private and secure. This may be especially important in addiction medicine, as so many people with addiction struggle with shame and guilt. For example, a study published in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease found that people addicted to opiates struggled with feelings of self-criticism, guilt and shame due to their addiction. The researchers seem to have expected these addicts to worry over issues of dependency or abandonment, but instead, their guilty feelings seem to have taken precedence. In recovery, people may want to keep their addictions firmly out of sight due to these feelings of guilt and shame.
Public facilities may not share information, and they may go to great lengths to protect their clients’ files and treatment records; however, these facilities may be in prominent locations that are easy to access. This makes hiding impossible for some people. When they enter the facility, or people come to visit them in the facility, those comings and goings are easy for outsiders to see and photograph. Private facilities, by contrast, may be in remote locations that are hard to sneak up on. These facilities may be surrounded by high hedges or have robust security guards that keep intruders away. For some people, this level of protection can be incredibly helpful. They’ll be able to work on their addictions without worrying about others spying on their progress.
Choosing the Right Setting
There are literally hundreds of facilities that offer addiction care in a private setting. Choosing the right facility can be difficult, with so many options available, but asking a few questions can help to separate programs that might be beneficial from programs that might be best left behind. Good questions include:
- How many residents does the facility have at one time?
- Are the rooms private or shared?
- How is patient privacy protected?
- Are visitors allowed?
- What amenities are offered?
- What makes this program better than other programs available?
- Are the treatments based on scientific principles?
- How much input does the patient have on the care provided?
- How much does treatment cost?
- How long do residents typically stay?
In addition, families should consider asking about the training of the therapists who will provide care. If possible, families should also determine if some counselors have addiction histories of their own.
Working with a counselor who has also been through an addiction problem, and who has beaten that addiction problem, may be incredibly motivating to some people. They may also trust the counselor a bit more as they feel as though the counselor understands the addiction issue from the inside out.
Issues of payment should also be discussed well before the person enrolls in the program. Some private rehabilitation programs do accept insurance payments for medications and some forms of therapy, but other programs do not accept insurance payments at all. And, some insurance programs don’t cover any form of addiction treatment in a private facility. These are issues that must be handled before treatment begins to ensure that there is no gap in care due to payment concerns.
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