Finding Best Treatment Options with Your Insurance - Addiction Treatment Services

Considerations for Health Insurance for Rehab Before Addiction Strikes

Considerations for Health Insurance for Rehab Before Addiction Strikes - ATS

Addiction is a pervasive and all-consuming disease. No one plans on becoming addicted or needing to use rehabilitation or detox services, yet thousands of Americans use these services each year.

No one plans on dying unexpectedly or incurring serious injuries, yet we purchase life insurance and disability insurance for protective purposes. This is exactly what our health insurance does for detox. It helps us pay for the unforeseen, which may include addiction treatment and detox services.

Addiction Treatment Is an ‘Essential Service’

The Obama administration passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010 – also referred to as “Obamacare.” The administration established a number of so-deemed “essential” medical services under this law. When a medical service is “essential,” insurers must pay for all or at least a portion of these costs.

One of the most groundbreaking aspects of this rule was making addiction treatment services essential. Previously, insurers often refused to pay for addiction treatment, using the justification that “you made your bed, now you get to lie in it.”

Fortunately, the provisions of the Affordable Care Act recognize addiction for what it actually is – a complex medical condition that affects victims physiologically as well as psychologically. In fact, the physiological addiction caused by some substances can be so strong that attempting to stop on your own can lead to dangerous consequences. Alcohol withdrawal, for example, can lead to debilitating or life-threatening seizures.

Is Rehab Covered by Insurance?

Addiction treatment services are essential, but people might wonder if they can still get health insurance for rehab. The simple answer is that any plan, regardless of its level, will offer some assistance with addiction treatment costs. The amount that your insurance company pays will depend on your level of coverage.

The Affordable Care Act recognizes that it’s unrealistic to expect anyone, especially those struggling with addiction, to pay thousands of dollars for rehabilitation costs. When shopping for health insurance, it’s a good idea to look at the percentage of rehabilitation costs your plan may cover.

Who Should Plan for Addiction Treatment?

Everyone should plan for the unforeseen, even if it doesn’t seem in the realm of possibility. It’s essential to understand that addiction can develop unexpectedly, even in an unexpectant individual. Say, for example, that you have a surgery or medical procedure that requires narcotic painkillers. An addiction to these potent substances can develop quickly, and even lead to heroin addiction.

In our scope of practice, we often run into individuals who are “surprised” by their or their loved one’s addiction. Having peace of mind that you have access to treatment for heroin addiction helps you plan for the unanticipated.

Another aspect to consider is young adults aged 18 to 27. This age group is allowed to stay on their parents’ insurance under the Affordable Care Act, though some may elect to establish their own policies. Though no parent wants to think about children developing an addiction, this is a period of experimentation.

Teenagers and young adults often experience their first exposure to alcohol and other drugs in this time period. Even moderate alcohol use can develop into a full-blown addiction within this vulnerable age range, so learning about alcohol addiction treatment centers in the area and if your insurance will cover them is essential.

Taking a Proactive Approach

There’s a chance you’ll never have to use your addiction therapy coverage – but it’s essential to be prepared in the event that you do. Research rehab facilities in your area that take insurance and seek a program that will provide affordable, high-quality addiction treatment services.

It’s best to plan for these contingencies while you’re switching or shopping for health insurance coverage. As a general rule, the higher your premium, the more extensive the coverage. For example, a plan with a higher premium may cover 75 percent of the cost of rehabilitation, while a lower premium may only cover 60 percent.

Your best plan will depend on your budget and other health needs. Ask your insurance company specifically about their portion of the cost, so you can determine what you’ll have to pay out of pocket. It’s much easier to plan these things out now than when a problem arises.

No one likes to think about the potential for addiction, but no one plans on developing an addiction either. By familiarizing yourself with your insurance coverage, you can make important decisions now that may be more difficult to make in the moment.

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Continued Education for Parents Helps Fight Drug Abuse

save teens from drug abusePrograms all over the United States are beginning to focus on parents when it comes to preventing teen drug use. Oftentimes the families are so blindsided by their loved one’s drug addiction that it can be difficult to figure out the right steps to take when addressing the problem. As people become more educated on drugs and addiction, it is also clear that parents and family members play a major role in preventing drug abuse and getting addicts the help they need.

Operation Save Teens is a group that was started in Alabama to educate people on the dangers of drug abuse and what to do if a family member begins abusing drugs. There are several of these types of groups throughout the country. Grassroots movements that were born out of the tragedy of losing a loved one to drugs, oftentimes these loved ones were teenagers.

“We do these programs to enlighten the parents and to give them the signs to look for, but also to show the kids, too. We have to get to the kids before they get addicted to something. It’s very hard to get people unaddicted. These treatment centers are very expensive, and most of the time, it takes long-term care and commitment,” explained Lt. Mike Reese of the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

Teenagers have been targeted as more susceptible for drug use and abuse because of the many different pressures they are under. Insecurities surrounding looks, education and their future can combine to make them reach for the numbing effects of drugs. Synthetic drugs can also be more appealing to teenagers because they are often easier to obtain and newer to the market. Because of their newness, many teenagers are not aware of the extreme dangers synthetic drugs pose to users, such as hallucinations, suicidal thoughts and paranoid behavior.

There are hundreds of different educational groups around the country working hard to educate families and children on the dangers and signs of drug abuse. For people who do become addicted and need treatment, we’re here to help.

School Drug Testing Policy Draws Controversy

pillsSchools throughout the country have realized that they have a responsibility to their students and community to do their part in fighting against teen substance abuse. While the notion isn’t new, the ways that they have gone about it have changed over the years. As part of this push to prevent teenagers from experimenting with and abusing drugs, some schools have instituted new policies regarding drug testing.

Currently, most schools don’t have drug testing policies, but more of them are starting to adopt mandatory random drug testing for extracurricular activities. Some people look at this as a form of punishment or threat, but it can also be viewed as more of an incentive not to use drugs.

“This policy is a step forward in my mind in assisting families and children, not to catch them, not to get them in trouble, not to harm them, but because we love them,” commented Tracie West, Auburn City School Board Vice President. The issue was passed unanimously by the school board, despite some parents’ objections regarding the new policy. Some people were concerned that the new policy would invade the privacy of the children. Others were worried about the cost of the drug tests and administering the tests, while others insisted that the new policy would not do much to handle potential drug problems.

Acknowledging that teenagers and children are often in situations where drug and alcohol use is present, even at school, is important for teachers and parents to understand. Chances are likely that more schools will continue to implement similar policies.

Some experts believe that the more tools and systems we have in place to help protect our children from substance abuse issues, the better off we are, but those must include effective education programs so that they choose not to engage in the behavior on their own.

Teens Need Honest Discussions About Drugs

One of the scariest and most confusing things about being a parent may be having to address potential substance abuse and the peer pressure that children may feel to experiment with drugs. Many experts agree that children need direct, honest dialogue when it comes to talks about drugs in order to really get them to understand why they should not engage in that type of risky behavior.

During middle school and high school, some parents may start to realize that they have less influence over their children than ever before, as their friends, idols and pop culture becomes more of a factor in their decisions. In order to avoid being ignored when it comes to a dialogue about the dangers of drug abuse, honesty is definitely the best policy. Young people tend to ignore threats of punishment and even rebel, but if they truly understand that what different substances do to them and how they can ruin their lives, there is generally a greater chance that the advice to abstain is heeded.

Providing a forum where teens can ask any questions they may have regarding drug use is essential in helping to break down the mystery or allure about drugs. These forums can be in smaller settings at schools, churches and other community groups where the topics can be openly discussed. Heroin has been one of the biggest topics of late.

“What I see in schools is teens want an honest conversation about the drug. They are becoming adults. They have questions and in different households there is not that ability to ask those types of questions,” explained Renee Smith, an addiction prevention expert who works with many adolescents.

In today’s society, where young people are bombarded with messages that promote irresponsible behavior such as substance abuse, they need all the help they can get to help combat those negative influences.

Another Lesser Known Effect of Casual Drug Use

Most experts would agree that the best way to reverse the pattern of addiction in our nation is to do a better job of drug education and prevention. While there are some great programs available for people of all ages, many of them leave out the extended reach of the consequences caused by illegal drug use.

Many casual users, especially young adults like college students, are completely unaware of what they’re promoting when they occasionally use marijuana, cocaine, heroin and other drugs. Socially conscious and aware people understand that the drug trade fuels violence, both in our country and others, especially Mexico. However, few make the link that their joint or bump is funding cartels that are committing murder daily on both sides of the border.

About 90 percent of the cocaine abused in the United States reportedly traveled through Mexico before it was packaged and sold to people around the country. In order to get the cocaine from Mexico and into the U.S., cartels employ many different methods, but one outcome has always been the destruction they leave in their wake.

Despite what many believe, many Mexicans and residents in other South American countries that are affected by the cartels and drug routes, do not want anything to do with illegal drugs. Unfortunately, they often have little choice but to get involved, or they will become subjected to the violence. The drug cartels often force people to smuggle drugs into the U.S. by kidnapping them, threatening their families or by charging such extreme tolls on common routes into the U.S. that people have no choice but to agree to smuggle in drugs.

The violence that is associated with cartels is nothing new, but it continues to be terrifying and used as a method to frighten and manipulate. Those that speak out against the cartels or refuse to join or will not help smuggle drugs into the U.S. are in real danger of physical retaliation and likely death. Families of those that resist the cartels are also in danger – many are killed when a loved one will not comply with the cartels. These drug lords have also targeted local media and frightened them into staying away from reporting their activities.

The only reason why this violence and torture is allowed to exist is because the demand for drugs like marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine are so strong in the United States. Our country consumes a large portion of the illegal drugs in the world, despite having a relatively small population in comparison to other major nations.

While some say the answer is to simply legalize the drugs, they’re also being naive and irresponsible, as a nation full of drug users means increased violence, crime, accidents and injuries here as well. The answer, then, really does seem to come around to more effective drug education and prevention practices to reduce the demand, but it goes well beyond that. We must work to solve societal problems that generate the desire in individuals to seek out relief through these chemicals.

Substance Abuse Passed Down One Generation to Next - Addiction Treatment Services

When Substance Abuse Is Passed Down from One Generation to the Next

Substance Abuse Passed Down One Generation to Next - Addiction Treatment Services

Did you know that family history and genetics can put children of addicts at higher risk of drug use and addiction? It’s important to understand how addiction can be passed down in families, and how to break the cycle of addiction.

What Causes Addiction to Be Passed Down in Families?

Anyone can become addicted to drugs or alcohol, but those who have an addicted parent have an 8 times higher chance of becoming addicted themselves.

There is no single cause of addiction and the factors that lead to this higher vulnerability to addiction in families come from a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Genetic Factors

There’s not a single gene that leads to addiction. However, there are genes that can:

  • Cause a person to experience more pleasure from certain substances
  • Make it harder for a person to quit substance use once they try stopping
  • Make the person experience more severe withdrawal symptoms, which also make it harder to quit for good

Even if you have the sort of genes that make addiction more dangerous, it’s important to understand that being more susceptible to addiction doesn’t mean it’s necessarily going to happen to you.

“Just because you are prone to addiction doesn’t mean you’re going to become addicted. It just means you’ve got to be careful,” says Dr. Glen Hanson of the University of Utah. “It’s not inevitability; it’s vulnerability.”

Science is still exploring this area. Researchers believe that there may be more than 50 genes that contribute, each in their own small way, to addiction vulnerability.

Environmental Factors

Certain circumstances in a person’s life can also lead to a higher susceptibility to addiction. The types of familial situations that can contribute to addiction include:

Seeing Substance Abuse Modeled as Normal Behavior

Whatever a child sees within the family growing up is what he or she considers normal, at least for the first several years of life.

Many children of alcoholics have said something along the lines of, “I thought everyone’s dad drank after work and passed out on the couch.”

It’s not until they’re exposed to a different family environment that they learn this isn’t normal…and then, most likely, begin to have insecurities about their own familial situation.


Many adults drink and abuse drugs as a way of coping with the many forms of stress that accompany limited financial resources. Unhappiness with pay, unfulfilling jobs and working long hours to barely get by leads to high stress and short tempers. Crime and drug trafficking are also more common in low-income communities, adding to stress levels and making drugs more readily accessible, and perhaps desirable.

Physical and/or Emotional Abuse

Trauma is one of the leading causes of substance abuse, and domestic abuse and child abuse are the most common causes of traumatic experiences in America. Many people who abuse substances do so to escape from unpleasant memories, feelings of helplessness and low self-esteem.

How Children Can Break the Cycle of Addiction

Children Of Addicts Become Addicted Statistic - ATSWhile the children of alcoholics and drug addicts are more susceptible to substance use, they may also be more aware of the dangers, having witnessed the consequences of addiction firsthand. Therefore, they may actually have stronger motivation to avoid the mistakes of their parents.

In some cases, however, it’s not always clear to children which factors led their parents into addiction, which makes it harder to avoid those same pitfalls. Gaining a better understanding of the causes of addiction can be immensely helpful in this regard.

Because domestic abuse so often leads to substance abuse in the victim, seeking out professional counseling and therapy services is one of the easiest ways that people can proactively work to prevent substance abuse and addiction in their own lives.

If you have a parent in your life who has struggled with addiction, make a commitment to avoiding all potentially addictive substances, and seek out healthy, alternative ways of dealing with stress, coping with trauma and finding pleasure in life.

How Parents Can Help Break the Cycle of Addiction

Respectable addiction treatment programs will teach recovering addicts relapse-prevention strategies, including:

  • Healthy ways of dealing with stress
  • How to avoid triggers
  • How to build and maintain healthy relationships

By passing on this knowledge to their children, parents can give family members valuable skills that can prevent substance abuse and addiction from beginning in the first place.

Helping your children avoid addiction involves more than just saying, “Don’t do drugs. Drugs are bad.” Children learn more powerfully from what parents do than what they say, especially if words and actions don’t match up. If you’ve struggled with addiction, talk to your children about what led you down that path and show your commitment to recovery through your actions.

Learn How to Recognize the Signs and Symptoms of Addiction

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