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Common Excuses People Give to Avoid Rehab (& How to Respond)

People battling addiction often make excuses to avoid rehab. Even when it’s clear to the people around them that they need professional help, these individuals default to a chorus of continuous excuses, muting any suggestion of treatment. 

Why is the road to rehab fraught with excuse-making? It’s a complicated issue. Denial is often to blame but not always. So we rounded up a few frequently-used excuses as well as some advice on how to deal with the dodging. 

5 Common Excuses for Avoiding Addiction Treatment 

At Silicon Beach Treatment Center, we’ve heard our fair share of excuses. Here’s a list of things people often say to justify opting-out of addiction treatment, and suggested responses.

“I can’t afford it.”

Two significant barriers preventing people from getting substance use treatment are stigma and money. When it comes to money there are ways to make it work: 

  • Most health insurance policies provide some amount of coverage for substance abuse treatment. Rehab costs vary depending on the type of treatment and the treatment center, and it’s useful to find up-to-date information on how much your loved one’s insurance covers. 
  • Another option is payment plans. Plenty of treatment centers offer a range of options to support people struggling to afford the help they need. 
  • There are publicly-funded state centers and non-profits providing substance abuse treatment programs. They can lend support in finding affordable help. 

If you’re facing the “I can’t afford it” excuse, interventionists suggest asking the person to take a hard look at what their addiction is costing them. From the amount of money already spent on substances to the amount to be spent if the addiction isn’t addressed, and also collateral financial implications resulting from the addiction. Not to mention the cost to their health and of ruined relationships. 

“I’ve got it under control.” 

Most people in active addiction know, at some level, they don’t have control over their addiction. But, admitting it can be very hard. Denial is a much easier defense. Especially if the person still seems to function as they normally do. But, keeping down a job or going about life as usual, or what looks like it, aren’t reliable indicators of whether a person’s addiction is under control or not.

The “It’s under control” excuse also comes in the form of “I don’t need rehab” or “I can stop when I want to”. Questions to ask in these circumstances would be “Have you tried to stop?” and “Did it work?”. Honest answers speak for themselves. 

“I don’t have a problem.” 

When confronted with the idea of rehab, a lot of people downplay their addiction. 

This denial of how dire their situation is, also speaks to the effects of stigma. People with an addiction problem are misguidedly seen as committing moral failures. The fear of being ostracized simply strengthens the denial from where these excuses for avoiding rehab stem.

“I can’t leave my job.”

A fear of unemployment is valid. It doesn’t validate avoiding addiction treatment, though. If someone opts to go to rehab accommodations are in place entitling them to leave. There are legal provisions in place protecting people with substance use disorder from unreasonable loss of employment

“I can’t be helped,” or “Nobody understands why I use.”

This type of excuse for avoiding rehab is likely a case of terminal uniqueness. The clincher? Decouple why substance use started from why it continues. Why it started is unique to each person’s context but continued use – addiction – is a common disease stifling millions of people. 

No matter how far beyond help someone may think they are, there is hope.

Addiction is undeniably a complex brain disease with one case differing from the next. But, no one is doomed to suffer from substance use disorder. Meaningful treatment options exist. No matter how far beyond help someone may think they are, there is hope. Be a voice of reason that reassures your loved one that help exists. 

Find Help and Hope at Silicon Beach Treatment Center

The team at Silicon Beach Treatment Center has the expertise and experience to help people deal with the denial standing in the way of their sobriety. Restoring hope is one of the team’s top priorities. If you’re in need of addiction treatment in LA, get in touch today.

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