Pros & Cons of Local Rehab

Pros & Cons of Local Rehab

Authored by Pin Ng PhD

Edited by Hugh Soames

Reviewed by Michael Por, MD

Advantages & Disadvantages of Local Rehab

After years of substance abuse and experiencing the cycle of addiction, visiting a residential rehab or outpatient center is the chance to begin anew. Yes, going to rehab is turning the page on to a new chapter of your life. Regardless of where you attend rehab or which rehab you choose; it is a chance to start over.

Change is positive and can get you out of your old habits. However, not all people like change. Some are opposed to change and do not find it helpful. Experiencing a new environment during rehab can hinder the process of recovery. Rather than experiencing changes around them, these individuals prefer changes from within.

If you haven’t yet decided on whether to attend residential rehab locally or away from home, you may consider some of the pros and cons of local rehab below.

The Pros of Local Rehab

One of the most popular reasons for choosing a local rehab center is the cost. Staying at a local rehab for residential or outpatient care can be far more cost-effective than going to a rehab out of state or abroad. Distance can be a massive factor in a person getting help. Their substance abuse may be so bad that leaving the local area is one of the most significant reasons the individual doesn’t get help.

You may find that the cost of treatment is the same locally as it is elsewhere. However, these are not the only costs you will incur. You must also factor in the cost of travel to reach the final rehab destination. The cost of flying or driving to a rehab that is not local can make attending the facility pricey. Your medical insurance may cover the cost of the rehab stay, but it is rare that the insurance provider will cover the cost of travel and accommodation if needed.

Another factor to consider is that attending a rehab outside of your local area means you may not have friends or family to fall back on. There are a lot of rehabs that offer family therapy nowadays. These rehabs are ideal if you plan to stay close to home. It gives you a chance to reconnect with friends and family that you may have lost touch with. Traveling to a rehab prevents friends and family from participating in family therapy sessions. Support is vital for someone to achieve sobriety.

Staying local allows you to access the resources the rehab has established on a local or region level. These connections and resources the rehab has built may turn out to be beneficial to you. There is likely to be a network of counselors, meetings, support groups, work programs, and sponsors to connect with once leaving the rehab. This is can help you remain sober thanks to the long-term aftercare you will receive.

If you need to stay at home and work, and cannot devote 24/7 to rehab, local centers’ outpatient programs are great options. These easily allow you to receive vital substance abuse treatment while living your nearly normal life.

Benefits of Local Rehab:

  • Cost-effective
  • Resource and tool savvy
  • Established support network
  • Family involvement
  • More long-term programs and options
  • Variety of outpatient options
  • Coping strategies


The Cons of Local Rehab

As with everything, there are cons to the pros, and local rehab is no different. A local rehab center may not suit you for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the most significant is that it could provide triggers to relapse. Local rehab does not get you fully out of the environment you have experienced. This means, you could leave the rehab after completing the program and immediately go back to the friend circles and places that led to drug use initially.

You may not have friends and family that can support you as needed. The initial recovery process may be too difficult without proper support. Your friends and family may have their own substance abuse issues. If they have no desire to get clean and sober, this can cause you to relapse.

If you are trying to leave an abusive relationship and get treatment at the same time, a local rehab may not provide the distance needed to get away from an abusive partner. Safety is vital for men and women seeking distance from an abusive partner. Visiting a rehab further away can provide a safe distance to the individual. It can also give them the distance and time to realize life is better without the abusive partner in their life.

Local rehab may provide distractions to prevent you from getting better. Friends and family are closer, triggers may be more abundant, and it can be easy to decide to quit the treatment and relapse. Staying at a local rehab makes it easier for you to walk away from treatment. You will need to deal with life locally, which can prevent recovery. There is even a chance you could see people from your past in the local rehab, which could be a negative influence on your recovery.

The Problems with Local Rehabs:

  • Numerous drug triggers
  • Limited treatment options
  • More distractions
  • Lack of anonymity
  • Lack of safety
  • Easier to quit


Why do most people choose a local rehab?

On the whole, most people seeking treatment choose a local rehab center. The reason for choosing a local rehab option is due to the convenience and proximity it offers to work and home. There are a variety of other factors that can contribute to the decision to attend local rehab besides being close to family and friends.

Regardless of the option you choose, it is important to have a solid support network of friends have family. This not only makes the treatment process better and more rewarding, but it means you are likely to remain sober after rehab is finished. It is also vital to select a rehab with tools, resources, and a network of groups to work with you post-treatment. An aftercare program is important to sustain recovery.

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References & Citations: Pros and Cons of Local Rehab

  1. Azrin NH, Sisson RW, Meyers R, Godley M. Alcoholism treatment by disulfiram and community reinforcement therapy. J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry. 1982;13(2):105–112.[]
  2. Higgins ST, Wong CJ, Badger GJ, Ogden DE, Dantona RL. Contingent reinforcement increases cocaine abstinence during outpatient treatment and 1 year of follow-up. J Consult Clin Psychol. 2000;68(1):64–72. []
  3. Stitzer ML, Bickel WK, Bigelow GE, Liebson IA. Effect of methadone dose contingencies on urinalysis test results of polydrug-abusing methadone-maintenance patients. Drug Alcohol Depend. 1986;18(4):341–348. [PubMed
  4. Meyers RJ, Smith JE. Clinical Guide to Local Rehabs Alcohol Treatment: The Community Reinforcement Approach. New York City: Guilford Press; 1995. []

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Pros & Cons of Local Rehab
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Pros & Cons of Local Rehab
One of the most popular reasons for choosing a local rehab center is the cost. Staying at a local rehab for residential or outpatient care can be far more cost-effective than going to a rehab out of state or abroad. Distance can be a massive factor in a person getting help. Their substance abuse may be so bad that leaving the local area is one of the most significant reasons the individual doesn’t get help.
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