Is There A Waiting List For Admission To Drug Rehab?

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on

Substance use disorders are on the rise nationwide, which can mean that there are sometimes more people who need treatment than rehab centers can accommodate. However, other ways exist to get help while you or your loved one waits for care.

Is There A Waiting List For Admission To Drug Rehab?

Making the choice to enter a rehab program is monumental, but what happens if the treatment center of your choosing is full?

It can feel frustrating to be met with a waiting list when you’re ready to seek help, especially if the waitlist is weeks or months long.

Not every rehab program has a waitlist, but they are increasingly common at inpatient centers with limited spaces available. Fortunately, there are alternative options if you have to wait.

Why Do Some Rehab Centers Have Waitlists?

There are a few reasons why a treatment facility may have a waiting list. The first and most obvious one is that demand may simply outpace the speed of treatment.

Low-cost and state-funded rehab centers are more likely to have waitlists due to the high numbers of people seeking care. Private rehab centers typically have more availability.

Long-term facilities, such as those that provide 60-, 90-, or 120-day stays, also frequently have longer wait times due to the length of client stays.

Other reasons for waitlists include healthcare employee shortages, dealing with insurance coverage requirements, or the size of the local population needing treatment.

Risks Of Waiting Too Long For Substance Abuse Rehab

People with less severe addictions may be able to wait, but others don’t have that luxury. Unfortunately, waiting too long for care can dissuade some people from getting help at all.

Many people who are faced with a long wait time give up on treatment altogether, which makes seeking out other options vital.

Others who get sober while they wait may decide that they don’t need help since they did it on their own, but these people are at a higher risk of experiencing a relapse.

Studies have also found that long wait times may be a catalyst for people dropping out of a program due to a loss of motivation.

What Should I Do If I Get Waitlisted For Addiction Treatment?

Rehab centers don’t usually turn people away without offering them alternative resources like local outpatient clinics, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) centers, or other forms of care.

Seek out your own options if you’ve been waitlisted at a residential facility. The more places you contact, the more likely you are to access treatment.

First, call any resources provided to you by the rehab center. This may include hospital detox centers, counseling clinics, 12-step groups, and more.

You can also contact other residential treatment centers in your local area to see if any of them have space. They may not be your first choice, but it’s often better than waiting weeks or months.

Short waiting periods are a good time to get your assets in order before going to a facility. You can make work arrangements, find pet care, or get your pre-authorization from your insurance provider.

If you can’t find any nearby options, consider traveling for care. Your insurance provider can help you find other treatment centers that are in-network with your health plan.

Get Help For A Substance Use Disorder

If you or a loved one are facing drug addiction or alcohol abuse, you don’t have to do it alone. To learn more about finding long-term recovery from substance abuse, contact us today.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on
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