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Traveling for Rehab

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Medically Reviewed By: Diana Vo, LMFT

November 17, 2023

Table of Contents

If you’re considering traveling for rehab, it is an encouraging sign that you’re thinking about treatment and recovery. 

With recent NSDUH data showing that 40 million adults in the United States have substance use disorder and 28.5 million have alcohol use disorder, it has never been more important to close a disturbing treatment gap. This data demonstrates that less than 2.5 million people obtained substance use treatment, and only 2 million obtained treatment for alcohol use disorder. 

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Assuming you have made the decision to engage with professional rehab services, you’ll need to decide which facility offers the most appropriate program. While you’ll find drug and alcohol rehabs nationwide, different treatment centers have different specializations and offer varying forms of therapy. 

Since it is within your power to travel for rehab or to remain in your home state, take your time and evaluate the pros and cons of local rehab and out-of-state rehab. Whichever route to recovery you choose, engaging with treatment will help you create a firm foundation for ongoing recovery while minimizing the chance of relapse.

What to Expect When Traveling for Rehab

Local rehab offers several benefits, notably the cost. Whether you’re traveling to residential rehab out-of-state or making trips daily to an outpatient treatment center some distance from home, you’ll spend less if you stay local. 

If you choose a rehab center close to home, you’ll also remain more closely anchored to your personal support network. This is only beneficial if your friends and family are supportive of your choice to pursue sober living. For those considering residential rehab close to home, family visiting is streamlined, assuming family therapy forms part of the program. 

The treatment team and administrators at a local rehab will be familiar with the locality and its resources, making it easier to create a robust and relevant aftercare plan.

Staying local for addiction treatment can make it easier for you to quit the program, returning to the comfort of home before completing treatment. While this is obviously still possible if you head to rehab out-of-state, the logistics make it less likely you will follow through. 

Beyond this, if the quality of care you need is not available locally, you will be potentially compromising your recovery if you don’t explore other superior options, even if this means traveling for rehab.

Perhaps the key draw of out-of-state rehab, by contrast, is the ability to access specialist treatment unavailable locally. NIDA (the National Institute on Drug Abuse) reports that addiction treatment centers need to address the following issues for each person: 

  • Medical
  • Psychological
  • Legal
  • Social
  • Vocational

As such, there is no single approach to treatment that’s universally effective, and you need to go where you can get the best care, even if this is not the closest treatment center to home.

By traveling to rehab, you can remove yourself from any bad influences, as well as any location-specific triggers. This serves you in two ways. Firstly, you will be less likely to relapse during the challenging early phase of addiction. Beyond this, your treatment team can more accurately pinpoint the cause of your alcohol use disorder or substance use disorder when you are removed from influences and triggers.

Some people find traveling for rehab the most effective way of kickstarting their recovery discreetly. While attitudes toward addiction continue to become more favorable, the stigma persists and many people prefer the privacy afforded by an out-of-state trip to rehab.

According to some medical professionals, treatment retention improves when people are further from home. The harder it is to leave the treatment center before the program is complete, the less likely you are to succumb to cravings and temptation, instead of doubling down on therapy

Can You Go to Rehab in Another State?

You are free to attend rehab locally or in another state. The above summary of the pros and cons of each should help inform your decision. 

Whether you decide to head to a local rehab or an out-of-state treatment program, you should ask the following questions of all options on your shortlist: 

  • Does the treatment center offer research-based therapies?
  • Does the rehab center provide supplementary holistic therapies?
  • Will you have access to a treatment team of licensed and experienced professionals and addiction specialists?
  • Are there demographic-specific treatment options available?
  • Will the treatment facility accept insurance?
  • Are there options for private pay and self-pay?
  • Is the treatment center located in a community with ample recovery resources and a thriving recovery community?
  • Can you contact alumni of the program to learn about their experiences of the treatment program?
  • Will you benefit from ongoing support and aftercare once you complete your treatment program?

Should I Travel for Drug Rehab?

The quality of care on offer, ultimately, is more important than the treatment center’s location. Feel free to choose rehab in another state if this makes the smoothest fit, and enjoy the following benefits: 

  • You’ll have a wider choice of treatment centers
  • Traveling for rehab can remove many of your triggers for substance use
  • You can create a new sober network
  • A new place can inspire you during the early phase of recovery

You’ll have a wider choice of treatment centers 

When you’re exploring different treatment centers, you will limit your options if you restrict your search to local providers. Why settle for a lower quality of care by confining your search to your local area? 

Traveling for rehab can remove many of your triggers for substance use

While it may seem easier and more convenient to attend a treatment center close to home, this also means being exposed to familiar negative influences and triggers for substance use. 

By staying in this trigger-rich environment, you’ll introduce an extra element of risk for relapse. Attending rehab out-of-state allows you to focus on your recovery free of these unwelcome encounters.

You can create a new sober network

When you engage with addiction treatment away from home, you’ll be spending more time with people practicing sober living. This can help you to focus on the more positive social networks key to your ongoing sobriety. 

A new place can inspire you during the early phase of recovery

Traveling for rehab allows you to try out a location and climate that could offer more health and wellness benefits than your local area. 

You may also find a new place that gives you a fresh perspective and further motivation to maintain your sobriety when treatment is complete. 

Rehab at Renaissance Recovery

If you live in Southern California, we can simplify your decision about whether to travel for rehab or remain in-state. By engaging with one of our outpatient programs for alcohol use disorder or substance use disorder, you’ll get the best evidence-based treatment without needing to head to another state. 

For anyone requiring more time commitment than a standard outpatient provides, we also offer IOPs (intensive outpatient programs) and PHPs (partial hospitalization programs). Here, you’re connected with the same services you’d find in residential rehab without the restrictions or the cost. 

All of our treatment programs provide the following research-based therapies: 

In addition to these treatments, you’ll also have access to holistic therapies, vocational development programs, and tailored aftercare to minimize your likelihood of relapse. 

To get started, call the friendly team right now at 866.330.9449



At Renaissance Recovery our goal is to provide evidence-based treatment to as many individuals as possible. Give us a call today to verify your insurance coverage or to learn more about paying for addiction treatment.

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Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.

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