Paying for Rehab in Australia
Australia’s public health system, Medicare, covers most Australian residents for health care services, including drug and alcohol treatment. Although it helps with the cost of most services, Medicare does not cover everything, so residents often take out private health insurance as supplement. Private insurance can help cover some of the out-of-pocket expenses of rehab in Australia that are not covered by Medicare.
Both the federal and state governments fund public support services which offer drug and alcohol treatment, helping subsidize their costs. Since they are publicly funded, these services must adhere to standards established by a National Commission and get assessed regularly by external evaluators. Private services can be run by private hospitals, health practitioners, and organizations. All support services for rehab in Australia are accessible through an intake and assessment service, unless otherwise state. Intake services work in assessing your needs and helping you find the most effective treatment and support. Referrals for alcohol and drug services can be provided by a General Practitioner, other organizations, or via self-referral.
Drug and Alcohol Treatment Programs in Australia:
Outpatient services are community-based. Outpatient services include counseling, non-residential withdrawal, and therapeutic day rehabilitation. You can be referred to these services by your doctor or local drug action team. Non-residential services are best for those with strong social support, stable housing, and considered low-risk.
Inpatient services can provide a supportive environment where people can safely withdraw from alcohol and other drug dependencies in a supervised facility or hospital. Many of these facilities also offer individual or group counseling and peer support. You can access most inpatient services through a self-referral or a referral from a General Practitioner, specialist, or community service.
Detoxification (detox) involves completely stopping or reducing your alcohol or drug use. Due to physical or psychological dependence, many will experience a variety of withdrawal symptoms while detoxing. Detox can be done at both outpatient and inpatient facilities and often provide medication that help reduce withdrawal symptoms. It is important to combine detox with other treatments in order to avoid relapsing. Complementary treatments such as counseling, peer support, or residential rehabilitation can support you during or after detox.
Substitution pharmacotherapy, also known as medicated assisted treatment, involves prescribing medication that helps reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Pharmacotherapy is only available for substituting certain drugs. Opioid dependence can be treated by buprenorphine, methadone, or naltrexone. Withdrawal symptoms from alcohol detox can be treated with naltrexone, disulfiram, and acamprosate. Pharmacotherapy should be used in combination with other treatments and under supervision.
Residential Rehab in Australia takes the long-term approach to treatment and aims for an alcohol or drug free lifestyle. Residential programs provide live-in accommodations as well as a schedule and steady care plan. Withdrawal treatment is not usually provided at residential centers, so it is recommended that you complete detox before admission. Residential rehabilitation may last anywhere from a few weeks to several years. Residential services can also benefit those with specialized needs such as:
- homeless or in a dangerous living situation
- court-mandated rehab
- social or psychological crisis
- complex or dual diagnosis
Dual diagnosis services in Australia are available for people experiencing both substance and mental health issues. Having a dual diagnosis is common and most people benefit from treatment that addresses both issues. You can receive dual-diagnosis services for rehab in Australia through your local community intake centers, primary care services, or self-referral.
The most common kind of treatment for both substance and mental health issues is counseling. You can see a professional counselor, therapist, or psychologist to talk about your problems, change attitudes or behaviors, and learn to cope with stress. Counseling is available one-on-one, with a friend or family member, or in a group setting. Counseling can be short-term or ongoing and is offered in person, over the phone, and online.
Peer support groups and programs are facilitated by individuals who have personal experience dealing with alcohol or drug addiction. Peer support programs provide mutual support to those struggling with current or previous substance use disorders, some examples include Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.
Social support services can help with housing, financial, legal, health, dental, and other assistance programs. Substance abuse can affect many aspects of your life and social support can help you keep a healthy balance when going to rehab in Australia. Talk to your local community health service or alcohol and drug treatment provider about social services available in your area.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Rehab in Australia
The Australian government has found through surveys and studies that alcohol and drug dependency disproportionately affects and harms the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Substance use-related harm may not only affect a person’s social and emotional wellbeing, but also weaken connections to the family and community. The range of harms can include mental health problems, violence, incarceration, blood-borne virus spread, and domestic breakdown. In order to address harmful substance use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, it is important to see community well-being as an essential part of healing the individual.
Aboriginal health means not just the physical wellbeing of an individual but refers to the social, emotional and cultural wellbeing of the whole community in which each individual is able to achieve their full potential as a human being, thereby bringing about the total wellbeing of their community. It is a whole-of-life view and includes the cyclical concept of life–death–life… Health care services should strive to achieve the state where every individual is able to achieve their full potential as a human being and thus bring about the total wellbeing of their community
Social and emotional wellbeing in this context recognizes the importance of connection to land, culture, spirituality, ancestry, family, and community. Numerous centers in Australia are specialized in or partnered with an organization that provide competent and efficient addiction treatment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. In order to effectively treat substance abuse among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, treatment must be:
- Evidence-based and evidence-informed: Evidence-based refers to treatments that have been proven to be effective. Evidence-informed treatment integrates existing evidence with professional expertise to develop innovative approaches when needed.
- Culturally competent, safe, and secure: Cultural competency involves recognizing and respecting the importance of culture and identity to Aboriginal and Torre Strait Islander people and communities. Safety refers to an environment free from assault, challenge, or denial of a person’s identity of who they are and what they need. According to the Australian Human Rights Commission, cultural security imposes a strong obligation on those who work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to actively ensure that cultural needs are met for individuals. This shifts the emphasis from attitudes to behavior, focusing on practice, skills, and efficacy.
- Involved with the family and community: Family and community relationships play an important role in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Often times, involving family or community members can increase the effectiveness of treatment for alcohol and drug addiction. Family and community involvement should be discussed during initial assessment and, depending on everyone’s wishes and needs, incorporated into future treatment planning.
Choosing Rehab in Australia
Addiction is one of Australia’s greatest social and public health concerns. Unfortunately, it continues to affect millions of people and their families each year. In an effort to combat alcohol and drug addiction, the government has funded numerous local treatment centers and prevention programs to help end substance use. If you or a loved one struggles with alcohol or drug dependency, reach out for help in finding the right treatment.