8 Reasons People Avoid Going to Rehab

Last Updated on October 12, 2021

Updated on July 15th, 2020

man refuses to go to rehab

Did you know that 70-80 percent of people with chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes receive treatment while only 1 in 10 people suffering from addiction receive treatment?1

Despite the prevalence of addiction in the United States, very few Americans get the treatment they need. Although you may feel like there are a million things keeping you from achieving a life of sobriety, you do have the ability to overcome these barriers and reclaim your life.

According to the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, here are some of the most common barriers to treatment and what you can do to overcome them.2

Fear of Drug and Alcohol Rehab

It is not uncommon for people to be fearful about enrolling in immediate drug and alcohol rehab, especially if they have never experienced it before. Individuals enrolling for the first time may be unsure of what it will be like, how they will respond, and if it will even work.

How to cope: If you are enrolling in drug rehab for the first time, take the time to do very thorough research so you can understand the primary goals of addiction treatment, what you can expect to experience, and how it will help you overcome your addiction. You may also want to get online and read reviews from alumni to learn about others’ experiences. At Nova, our admissions specialists are always available to answer any questions you have about our drug and alcohol rehab programs and you can read reviews from our satisfied alumni here. You can also browse our FAQ to find answers to common questions about drug and alcohol rehab.

Bad Experiences with Drug Rehab in the Past

Perhaps this isn’t your first rodeo and you’ve had some pretty bad treatment experiences in the past. We’re so sorry that you’ve had these poor experiences, but we want you to know that not all addiction treatment programs are the same. At Nova, we strive to provide the most positive addiction treatment experience possible, with caring, compassionate staff and individualized treatment programs designed specifically to fit you. We also prioritize the availability for immediate drug rehab entry so you can get the treatment you need right away without wasting a second.

How to cope: Be brave and try again. Not all addiction treatment centers are created equal. We understand that you may have reservations at first, but all we ask is that you give us a chance to show you how Nova is different and how we can help you overcome addiction for good.

Fear of What Others Will Think

Addiction affects people from all walks of life. Business professionals, mothers, fathers, college students … it’s not just one type of person who struggles with substance abuse. Unfortunately, the stigma of addiction and mental illness keeps many people from getting the help they need because they feel like the people in their life may view them differently, look down on them, or believe they are poor, uneducated, or immoral.

How to cope: Although you can’t change someone else’s beliefs, you do have the power to change your own. Instead of letting the fear and shame of being an addict lead you to isolation and exclusion, take the time to educate yourself about the disease of addiction, learn to accept that you have a problem, and fully embrace your recovery journey. Although this is definitely easier said than done, participating in self-help groups (like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous) and actively engaging in your drug and alcohol rehab program will truly help you achieve this goal and learn to love yourself—imperfections and all.

Inability Or Unwillingness to Share With Others

It’s not always easy to share the personal details of your life with others. Often times this stems from a lack of confidence, the fear of rejection, or traumatic experiences that have impacted the way we view ourselves and others. While drug and alcohol rehab programs at Nova do require a willingness to be open and honest with your peers and counselor, we understand that this takes time.

How to cope: As you dive deeper into your drug rehab program, you’ll learn to accept your addiction and you’ll see that there are many others who are struggling with the same things. Although it does require bravery to begin this healing process, being in a gender-specific drug rehab program with like-minded individuals may help you feel more comfortable sharing.

Cost of drug and alcohol rehab

money bills

Depending on the addiction treatment center that you choose, an inpatient or outpatient drug and alcohol rehab may be costly. At Nova Recovery Center, we strive to provide our clients with affordable, high-quality addiction treatment. We do this by offering a variety of payment options, including medical insurance benefits, privately financed loans, and EAP options.

how to cope: Although paying for immediate drug rehab may seem overwhelming, it’s very important to exhaust all of your payment options because you may have more than you think. If your employer offers an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), speak to a member of your HR team to find out how it works and if you can use it to cover the cost of drug and alcohol rehab. If you have medical insurance, contact Nova today to find out if your benefits will lower your out-of-pocket costs. If you would like to take out a loan and finance payments for drug rehab, speak to a Nova admissions representative to learn more. There are many different ways to pay for addiction treatment, but it may require some research and a little effort on your part.

Time Conflicts

You may feel like you just don’t have the time to commit to a drug and alcohol rehab program, especially one that requires 90 days of inpatient programming. At Nova, we understand that you have obligations to work, school, and family, which all require a great deal of time, and many of us have been where you are.

How to cope: The only way you’re ever going to overcome your addiction is by prioritizing your treatment. Although this may require you to step away from other responsibilities temporarily, the decision to do does not equate to selfishness or irresponsibility. By committing to caring for yourself, you are also making a commitment to your family and your loved ones that will also benefit them in the long run. At Nova, we highly recommend enrolling in our long-term 90-day drug rehab program, but we also offer an Intensive Outpatient Program for those who need more flexible scheduling.


“I don’t need drug rehab.” “I’m not addicted. I just need to cut back a little.” “Treatment won’t help. I can quit on my own.” Have you found yourself making any of these statements? Denial is one of the many reasons why people don’t get the help they need. It’s never easy to admit you have a problem, but once you do, you give yourself permission to start living a better life.

How to cope: In many cases, a loved one (or several loved ones) may have to come together to help you see how your addiction has damaged your own life and the lives of those around you. It’s important to realize that their intention is not to judge you or condemn you for your behavior—it’s to help you see that you need help and that if you don’t get it, the consequences could be very severe. If you can accept the fact that this is true, you are on your way to discovering the joys of a fulfilling life of sobriety.

Not Knowing Where to Get Help

man looks for treatment on computer

Finding a rehab center with addiction treatment programming that fits your needs can be very overwhelming. With so many different options and countless sources of information to sort through, some people will just give up and continue living a life of substance abuse.

How to cope: Just take a deep breath and remember that you’re not alone in your recovery journey. You may want to reach out to a family member or close friend and ask for help researching your options. It’s a lot easier to gather information, compare your options, and make all those phone calls when you have another person helping you. It’s also important to remember that every individual is different, so each person will need different resources and assistance to find an immediate drug rehab program that is best suited to their needs.3

What Do You Do in Rehab?

Fear of the unknown can often make people feel uncertain about going to rehab, but knowing what to expect can make the whole process feel less ominous and threatening. If you are considering going to rehab for the first time, here is a general overview of what you can expect to do in rehab.


Before you can be admitted to an inpatient drug rehab program, you’ll likely need to complete medical detox at a detox center. This will ensure that all drugs are cleared from your system before you start rehab. For most people, this process takes anywhere from five to ten days, but it may also take as long as two weeks.

During detox, you’ll be evaluated to determine what type of medical treatment you will need to detox safely and comfortably. This is generally determined by what type(s) of drug you’ve been using, how much you used and for how long, and the method of administration.

Drug withdrawal can be extremely uncomfortable, but the staff at the detox center will treat any physical symptoms with medication and provide clinical and therapeutic support to help you deal with emotional symptoms of drug withdrawal and cravings. Clinical therapy will also help prepare you for the next stage of treatment, which is rehab.

Rehab Admissions and Intake

After detox, you’ll head to the rehab center to begin intake. You’ll likely have already spoken to staff members on the phone or in-person before you arrive, but once you are physically there, the staff will greet you again. They will ask you how detox went and how you are feeling. They’ll also provide detailed recommendations for your ongoing treatment and answer any questions you have.

After you have completed a quick medical evaluation, which may include taking your blood pressure, temperature, and documenting any medications you’re currently taking, you’ll be given a tour of the facility and you may also be introduced to more staff members.

You’ll also be shown to your room. Sleeping arrangements at rehab centers vary by facility, but most often, arrangements are dormitory-style and separated by gender. Rooms usually sleep two to three people and the accommodations are spacious and comfortable. You may personalize your area (to an extent) with photos of your family or other personal belongings.


During rehab, you’ll be required to wake up at a certain time each morning. Your day will be filled with activities like therapy, group meetings, physical exercise, personal time for reflection/journaling/homework, and group meals. Sometimes, you may also be able to participate in fun group outings and events with other residents. Overall, you won’t have very much free time at all, but this full schedule is intentional and will help you make the most of your rehab experience.

Most inpatient rehab programs will also limit your contact with the outside world to help you focus on your recovery and limit distractions. This means you will not be permitted to use your cell phone or laptop. However, staying in contact with loved ones is good for your mental health, so staff will permit phone calls at certain times using a phone at the facility.

Your treatment team may also permit short visits with your family members or close friends, if possible. In some instances, clients may attend rehab far from home so in-person visits are not always possible.


A high-quality rehab center will prioritize nutritious and delicious meals. A well-rounded, healthy diet is a critical component of recovery and will help you to continue recovering physically as you establish your new sober life. All your meals are provided during rehab, but if you have allergies or food sensitivities, you will need to discuss this with your treatment team, but arrangements can be made to accommodate you. Mealtime during rehab is also a great opportunity to socialize with other people who are recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.

Treatment Program

The components of your individualized treatment program will vary depending on the facility, but it will include a variety of research-based and evidence-based therapies, including:

These types of therapies will help you make positive behavioral changes as you address the underlying causes of your addiction and learn how to cope with cravings and high-risk situations. Your treatment team will use these components to modify your treatment program and address your changing needs throughout your time in rehab.

“I Don’t Want to Go to Rehab”

addiction help sign

Perhaps you’ve found yourself thinking, “I don’t want to go to rehab.” However, if you need help to overcome your addiction, you may want to ask yourself why you don’t want to go. Maybe you are worried about being judged by coworkers, you’re afraid of the unknown, or you don’t know where to find the help you need. Whatever the reason is, you are not alone.

Many other people have been in your shoes but more importantly, many of them have gone on to live a life in recovery. In truth, there will always be something that stands in the way of your sobriety, but you can still choose to seek treatment and start a new, sober life, despite the roadblocks.

If you’re interested in learning more about Nova Recovery Center and our drug rehab programs, please contact us today. Our admissions team is always available to take your call and answer any questions. We want you to have the best addiction treatment experience possible, and if we find that our programs cannot fit your needs, we will provide professional recommendations for treatment elsewhere so you can get the help you need.

The Nova admissions team is waiting and ready to help you begin your recovery journey, so call today!


  1. https://www.centeronaddiction.org/addiction-research/reports/addiction-medicine-closing-gap-between-science-and-practice
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1986793/
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