Addiction Treatment is Expensive – is it Worth it?

Addiction Treatment is Expensive – is it Worth it?


Treatment centers and drug rehabs have become prohibitively expensive these days, so a lot of people out there are wondering: is it really worth the cost?

It is easy to assess the true cost of treatment upon seeing the outcome. If it works and produces a lifetime of sobriety, then of course no cost is too high. But if it fails over and over again for someone, then obviously this is not money well spent.

Or is it?

Sometimes we get caught up in the moment and take a view of things that is too short sighted. Recovery is a learning experience, and for some people, it can take the better part of a lifetime. A failed experience in rehab might be a step on the path to recovery. Even though it did not “work” at the time, it might be the exposure that the person needed in order to get clean later on.

Treatment can plant a seed.

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Also, consider the fact that most of the recovering addicts and alcoholics that I know all had to go to treatment several times before they “got it.” In fact, I do not know of a single person who has stayed sober after their first stint in rehab. I’m sure it happens, but it is fairly rare.

So addiction treatment is expensive, and the success rates are questionable at best. So what is the point? The point is that treatment works. It just works very slowly and it is not the magic bullet that we all hope for it to be. But it does work if you give it a chance and that is where the real payoff comes in. Persistence. If you want instant results then you are probably in for some disappointment. But give treatment a chance and it will eventually steer you towards the proper course.

As for the expense, yes treatment is expensive these days but the cost of continuing to use is too high. Consider this analysis here that postulates that the average alcoholic will waste one million dollars in only 16 years of drinking.

And of course the monetary cost of alcoholism is just the beginning. The real cost is in the negative impact on your life and the devastation to friends and family.

But treatment has a very high up-front cost, so it remains out of reach for some. And many struggling alcoholics will argue that they are “not quite bad enough” to justify the outrageous cost of treatment. What they are missing is the snowball effect that their disease is creating. They do not understand that they are spiraling out of control and getting progressively worse and worse in their addiction. They are clinging to the idea that they can hold it together and maintain instead of having to deal with treatment and the costs associated with it.

In the end, this hesitation has more to do with the fear of change and the fear of sobriety than with the high cost of treatment. To the addict, that is the high cost: having to face life sober. No amount of money could mean more to them than that, so it might be the case that they are simply using the cost of treatment as a smokescreen.

In short:

1) Treatment is expensive, but worth it.

2) No cost is too high if the result is true sobriety

3) The cost of continuing to drink/use drugs is even higher than that of treatment. Therefore, treatment is cheaper than active addiction.

4) It’s not about the money. It’s about the fear of facing life sober.

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