In the United States, millions of Americans struggle with drug and alcohol use. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), in 2015 approximately 20.8 million people met the diagnostic criteria for a substance use disorder (SUD), and an estimated 1 in 12 Americans were in need of substance abuse treatment. Factors like cost, lack of childcare, no insurance coverage, or fear of losing a job, and even fear of recovery keep people from seeking care. As new programs emerge that address SUD, more individuals can feel better about the anonymity that is offered by statewide programs. Twelve-step programs that have been around for decades have offered direct support and anonymous drug counseling, but are all created equal?
In an effort to increase access to recovery resources, addiction treatment specialists have sought to combine evidence-based research with technology to provide people with addiction treatment and recovery resources wherever they go. New technology like online addiction counseling provides 24/7 access to support. Through these avenues, more families can find recovery and long-term sobriety and reduce the risks of exposure that in-person treatment facilities often carry.
Why Do AA and NA Work Well?
One of the main reasons that Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) have worked well for so many years is they have rigorous guidelines that protect participants from risking exposure. According to the 12 Traditions currently in place with these programs, the intention is to keep the internal and external negativity from destroying the group. As it states:
“Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.”
At a personal level, anonymity protects all members from identification as alcoholics or addicts, both terms carrying an extremely negative connotation. Furthermore, those labeled as addicts often face judgment and ridicule, both of which are counterproductive to long-term recovery. Because of the stigma that surrounds drug abuse, anonymity is likely one of the most important factors in the beginning stages of addiction rehabilitation. Shame and guilt often override most feelings and, therefore, many newcomers into programs like AA and NA require the stability of anonymity to keep them coming back.
For the recovering addict, anonymity allows for a safe space to open up to others and address issues they wouldn’t feel as comfortable discussing in a more public setting. A 2012 study found that men and women benefit from AA in different ways. While men benefitted from the supportive network of friends and finding socially-based ways to stay away from alcohol, women benefited from AA meetings because the environment helped them to embrace uncomfortable emotions, like depression and anxiety.
Confidential Information in Rehab
Anonymous drug counseling is a major factor in long-term success for individuals overcoming the disease of addiction. Everything about entering a treatment center must stay confidential for many people. The fact that they are entering rehab at all may be something that they must keep private so that their employer, clients, or colleagues will not find out. Most rehab centers will keep a person’s stay confidential so that only they can choose who they decide to tell about their treatment and when.
Confidentiality is important not only for the patient’s work situation and their relationships but also for their own well-being. If a breach of privacy were to occur and their coworkers, loved ones, or employers find out they are in rehab then they could experience intense shame and fear, possibly triggering a relapse.
In order to keep patients feeling safe and protected, treatment centers allow their stay to remain anonymous. When patients don’t have to worry about others finding out about their addiction, they can relax and focus on their recovery. Constantly being anxious about their privacy can become a problem and interfere with the work that they do in treatment.
In addition to the stay itself remaining private, all of the information that patients share during treatment is considered confidential. Individual and group therapy are places where people need to feel the freedom to be vulnerable and open up about their personal feelings and experiences. Knowing that everything they share is completely private can help them feel more comfortable in being honest and telling their own stories.
Knowing Your Patient Rights
Not only is keeping patient information private better for their rehab experience but it is also required by law. In the U.S. substance, abuse-related patient information must remain confidential by legal requirement as long as the treatment center is considered “federally assisted”. Any treatment program that accepts federal insurance programs or is tax-exempt in any way is considered federally assisted, so this applies to most rehab facilities.
According to the law, while a patient is in treatment and even after they have completed the program the treatment center cannot release any treatment records without the patient’s consent. Only in certain cases is it possible for this information to be released such as issues related to law enforcement, medical research, or being transferred to another treatment center. Essentially, all the information and records about your stay must remain confidential throughout treatment and even after you leave.
If you are entering a treatment center and have any concerns about your anonymity you can ask to see a copy of their confidentiality rules and policies. Each program will have specific rules regarding patient privacy and they must show patients these policies upon request. Once you see the rules in writing you might feel safer about your privacy and ability to remain anonymous throughout treatment.
Online Addiction Treatment & Anonymous Drug Counseling
Take control of your fear of recovery. AspenRidge REACH is a dual diagnosis online program offering various treatment options tailored to individual clients. Our licensed therapists and certified staff members are knowledgeable and supportive. The methodologies deployed through our programs often involve various approaches that can alleviate strong, negative emotions. Rest assured that our programs protect your privacy and strictly adhere to HIPAA policy.
For more information on our online treatment programs and approach for alcohol and drug recovery, contact us today directly at 720-650-8055. If you or a loved one is concerned with privacy and is not getting help because of the concerns, it is understandable, but don’t let it hold you back. Contact a qualified treatment provider today for more information on accommodations, treatments, privacy, and financial plans available. Start your healing journey today by reaching out to someone who can help you take control of your addiction.