Shannon Ramey

Shannon Ramey

MANSFIELD -- Social media is full of posts about celebrities going to luxurious rehab spas where beautiful surroundings, delicious food, and adventure therapy help them recover from addiction.

If this is what it takes to recover, what about those of us who can’t afford to leave town for a month and pay tens of thousands of dollars – sometimes hundreds of thousands – a month?

Anyone who takes the brave step of starting recovery deserves support, regardless of what method they choose. But where can those of us in Richland County turn if we can’t afford luxury rehab?

One solution that fits into everyday life and is often covered by insurance (including Medicaid) is outpatient addiction treatment. It’s available in Mansfield, it’s affordable, and decades of scientific research from organizations including the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) prove that outpatient addiction treatment is effective.

What is Outpatient Treatment?

In some cases, people who are very sick stay overnight in a hospital. But most people can be treated in outpatient settings and get better in the comfort of their own homes. Substance use disorder is similar: According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, most people can be treated as outpatients at a local center.

Quality outpatient addiction treatment should be comprehensive, treating all aspects of this complex chronic disease. This includes medication to manage physical cravings, individual and group therapy to address triggers like mental illness or trauma, regular medical care, and help with challenges such as food and housing security, reliable transportation, and job readiness.

After an initial medical evaluation and clinical assessment, professionals work with patients to develop an individualized treatment plan. Recovery often starts with an intensive program where patients spend 10 or more hours a week at the treatment center. The level of care decreases as patients heal and maintain sobriety.

Accessible and Flexible

All residential rehab programs – luxury or other – have a limited number of beds, so waitlists are often long and unpredictable. Yet, like any life-threatening disease, people who are ready to seek medical care and therapy for addiction need treatment now — not in four to six weeks.

Outpatient addiction centers have space for hundreds of patients, so getting same-day or next-day appointments is much easier. At BrightView, a local outpatient treatment provider in Mansfield, new patients can schedule appointments through a 24/7 call center or online.

Many centers also accept walk-ins on weekdays, so someone can get medication, counseling, and social services support immediately.

Affordable Addiction treatment at an outpatient center is always less expensive than residential facilities, and not just because a larger percentage of care is covered by insurance. There’s no need to pay for meals, housing, 24/7 care, and recreational activities.

Many providers accept all insurance, including Medicaid, Medicare, and military insurance. Some programs actively help patients obtain coverage, and even partner with sponsors or foundations to cover treatment for uninsured people who don’t qualify for Medicaid.

Effective Treatment

Residential addiction treatment may be a good choice for people who can afford it. It may also be the best option for people with severe conditions or those who need 24/7 access to medical care during withdrawal.

However, research from NIH, SAMHSA, and others proves that evidence-based outpatient treatment is as effective as residential treatment in most cases.

The research also shows that medication-assisted treatment is an important part of recovery for many patients, and that comprehensive treatment addressing the full range of physical, social, and emotional factors that lead to addiction has the best long-term outcomes.

Only 10% of the millions of people in the U.S. who struggle with addiction have access to treatment. In a state like Ohio where the opioid epidemic has hurt so many people and communities, the choice often isn’t inpatient or outpatient treatment. Both are essential and neither is accessible enough to meet the need.

Richland County needs more high-quality addiction treatment. Luxury rehab has its place, but it’s important to know that there are a growing number of accessible, affordable, effective outpatient addiction programs for the rest of us.

Note: Shannon Ramey MS, MSW, LICDC-CS is the Clinical Supervisor at BrightView’s Mansfield Addiction Treatment Center. Area residents can call 833-510-HELP 24/7, receive immediate attention at the Mansfield Center at 580 Park Ave W until 5 pm weekdays, and get more information at brightviewhealth.com.

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