If you’re thinking about attending a rehab program, most likely one of your concerns is the confidentiality of a rehab program. During rehab, you will be discussing things of a highly personal nature, and in fact, the very act of seeking treatment is often something that people would prefer to keep confidential.
In this blog, we will explore the answer to this question. You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that the majority of information you share with people in addiction rehab programs is, indeed, confidential.
Why Would I Want Rehab to Remain Confidential?
There are a lot of reasons that you might be interested in ensuring that your rehab information stays confidential.
- For the sake of protecting yourself from physician bias
- For the sake of protecting your employment
- To keep your social life in good standing
Laws that Protect Your Privacy
One of the first things that you’ll want to know is that there are laws designed to protect your privacy—at least in the United States. Because addiction treatment is considered private, that means that several regulations have been put in place to help protect the privacy of people who are seeking treatment.
These federal laws have been enacted and applied to any sort of program that receives assistance at the federal, state, or local level. This includes medical programs and anything that can be insured with something like Medicaid or Medicare.
As a patient of a rehab facility, you will have to give your consent for the facility to disclose any information about you. In accordance with existing laws, you must provide written consent that includes the following information.
- You must specify the individual or group who will be the recipient of the information provided.
- You are going to need to explain why the information is needed.
- You will have to clarify the exact information that is going to be provided.
- You will need to clarify your understanding that you can revoke this consent whenever you so choose.
- You will have to put a date indicating when the consent will expire. You can choose to revoke your consent before this date if you choose.
- You will have to sign and, if you are underage, have the signature of your guardian as well.
After you have given your consent, you may choose to revoke it at any time.
Is Information Exchanged Before Signing Up For Rehab Also Confidential?
Laws protect people who have already registered and signed up for a rehab program. However, you may be curious as to whether or not they apply before joining the rehab program.
Even during the intake phase and the initial phone calls, you may be exchanging personal information with the facility. Is this information also protected?
What Sort of Information Is Exchanged Before Rehab?
When you first contact a rehab center, you probably won’t need to tell them much more than the fact that you are addicted to some sort of substance. However, prior to your enrollment, you’ll most likely be asked several questions that relate to your substance abuse and your personal history.
Some of the most common questions include:
- The type of drug that you’re addicted to and how long you’ve been addicted to it
- How serious you believe your addiction is
- Whether or not you have attended a rehab program in the past
- If you have some form of social support network available to you
- If you or anyone in your family has had problems with addiction or mental health in the past
You may also be asked to provide your contact information during these preliminary calls.
Is This Information Confidential?
The privacy laws described above don’t technically apply before you’ve been successfully enrolled in a rehab program. And, while most rehab centers have no reason to share your information with anyone else, they are technically allowed to up until the point where you enroll in a treatment program.
Unless, of course, they specify that all communications are 100% confidential. In the case of most well-known rehab companies, you will be able to see a confidentiality statement somewhere near the phone number. This ensures that these companies agree not to share your information with anyone else.
If you don’t see a disclaimer or you’re not sure about confidentiality, it doesn’t hurt to double-check with the person you’re speaking to on the phone.
Employment and Addiction Treatment
One of the main reasons that people are concerned about the confidentiality of rehab is that they want to ensure that they can keep their jobs.
Fortunately, addiction is widely recognized as a disease. This means that many places of employment will allow their employees to take medical leave to seek addiction treatment. In this case, however, your employer is allowed to ask for medical information about your treatment.
If they ask your general practitioner to provide them with information about your specific treatment plan, then you’ll still have to provide them with written consent.
Tips on Ensuring Confidentiality
These are some tips and tricks that you can employ to help ensure that your addiction and recovery remain as confidential as possible.
- Seek treatment as early as possible. It’s much easier to treat an addiction confidentially before it spirals out of control and becomes difficult to manage. The sooner you treat it, the less likely coworkers and family members are to find out about your struggle.
- You may want to consider seeking treatment at a facility that isn’t located close to your work, home, or school. This is especially true if you will be attending an outpatient program, which you will be coming and going from several times a week.
- Make sure that you are cautious with who you choose to discuss your addiction. Make sure not to open up with anyone prone to gossiping. Remember, if someone likes to talk to you about other people, they are most likely talking about you to them.
- If you live with children, you can explain to them that you’re struggling with a complex disease. Emphasize that you need to take time and space to recover. This way they won’t be able to tell other people that you’re struggling with addiction.
- Double-check to ensure that the rehab center you are considering does not allow cameras on the premises.
Maintain Confidentiality—and Heal
There are lots of reasons that you might be interested in keeping your recovery and rehabilitation confidential. Confidentiality helps to ensure your security in your workplace and school. It can also help prevent you from being faced with unwanted stigma.
Fortunately, most rehab programs have a strict confidentiality policy. On top of that, any medically sanctioned rehabilitation program is bound by federal law to keep any information strictly confidential.
If you have any doubts about the confidentiality of your rehab program, don’t hesitate to ask one of the facilitators or administrators about their policy and the laws that they’re bound by. Call us today at 888.292.9652 and get on the road to recovery.