How Much Does Rehab Treatment Cost in the UK?
Addiction rehab falls into two categories: outpatient, where you continue to live at home and attend a variety of appointments each week, usually over a long period of time, and inpatient, where you temporarily move into a residential facility and follow a set routine and structured treatment plan.
While studies have found that some intensive outpatient programmes can be just as effective as inpatient treatments1, in some cases it is necessary to seek treatment as an inpatient.
Outpatient and inpatient rehab have very different price points, with many outpatient treatments being fully funded by the NHS. These can have long waiting lists, but once your GP is aware that you are seeking treatment, they will try to get you started as soon as possible.
Inpatient treatment is usually accessed privately, which is why it can seem prohibitively expensive, but many facilities offer flexible funding options, and you might be able to move in immediately.
The inpatient rehabs that celebrities attend are usually high-end, luxurious facilities that offer a range of added benefits such as spas, personal chefs, more expensive treatments, and added security. These deluxe centres can cost up to $100,000 for a 30-day stay (approximately £73,000)2.
Comparatively, the average cost per day at a private UK inpatient facility is £495, or around £14,000 for a 28-day stay. However, some private centres charge as little as £1,000 a week or as much as £10,000 per week, so it is important to do your research.
Is Rehab Available on the NHS?
Access to residential rehab is rarely given through the NHS, but that is not the only addiction treatment out there.
There are many forms of outpatient counselling and addiction support available via the NHS, and you will typically need to try these before your GP can refer you for a place in a residential facility anyway.
Some people find that the outpatient treatment has everything they need and end up not pursuing inpatient treatment.
Most people who do attend inpatient treatment in the UK end up paying privately, with help from insurance providers or structured payment plans. Getting a place at an inpatient facility via the NHS is not impossible, but as spaces are limited, you should be prepared to be asked to pay out of pocket.
Given that there is financial support available, it is often not worth putting your treatment on hold to wait for an NHS referral.
What Does the Cost Cover?
Seeing the figures can be off-putting, but it’s important to consider how much your addiction is currently costing you. Addiction affects health, employment, and personal relationships.
On top of the cost of purchasing alcohol or drugs, prolonged addiction can have a devastating financial impact due to missed work, increased debts, and added medical expenses.
This cost not only affects you but also has a wider impact on government and corporate spending.
A 2011 study conducted by the Home Office found that drug use costs the UK economy £10.7bn per year3, with 36% of that cost being due to health service use and deaths. Ultimately, whatever you spend on rehab will save you in the long run.
As only inpatient treatment tends to involve private costs, people want to know exactly what they’re paying for. Generally, the costs for inpatient treatment cover:
- Residence for 7 – 90 days
- Rent and utilities
- Therapy and medication
- Food, with balanced meals prepared by chefs
- Facility maintenance, including repairs and landscaping
- Staff training, including some vocational qualifications
The process of overcoming addiction is the same whether you are treated as an inpatient or outpatient, with the main difference being the level of hands-on care you receive.
You will typically begin with a medication-assisted detox, before moving on to talking therapies, and then you receive aftercare, which you may choose to continue for months or years.
- Detox: As an inpatient, the cost of medications you may need during detox is included in the amount you pay for the programme. Outpatients who are being treated via the NHS will usually need to pay the standard amount for prescriptions unless you have a pre-existing condition that makes you exempt from these charges
- Therapy: Outpatients typically do not need to pay for talking therapies, as a vast range of counselling services are available via the NHS. However, the waitlists for addiction-specific treatments can be lengthy. Additionally, newer and more specialised therapies are not always available for free, so if you are after a particular type of therapy, you might have to pay out of pocket. Those who opt to join an inpatient programme can see which therapies different rehab centres offer, and can often have free consultations to discuss potential treatment plans before enrolling. Paying to stay as an inpatient can therefore ensure that your treatment plan is in place before you arrive, and you don’t have to pay extra to be seen by specialists. Outpatients might not start talking therapy until they have finished the chemical detox, whereas inpatients usually begin some light therapy during detox, given that their time in the rehab centre is limited
- Aftercare: Once you’re through detox and therapy is going well, inpatients will have an aftercare plan put together to ensure that you remain supported once you’re back in your own home. This might include the continuation of some medications, and some additional therapy. These will typically last a set amount of time, and the cost is all included in the price you pay for the programme
Outpatients, on the other hand, tend to have much longer and less intensive treatment plans, lasting months or even years, and the aftercare isn’t always its own separate step. In fact, the entirety of an outpatient treatment plan can look very similar to an inpatient’s aftercare.
Both inpatients and outpatients are usually encouraged to attend mutual support groups after their treatments officially end, as recovery requires maintenance.
These are usually run by volunteers or supported by a local council, and so there is no obligatory cost for attending, but members will occasionally give donations.
Why are Some Rehabs More Expensive?
The cost of inpatient centres depends on a number of factors. The length of stay typically has the biggest impact on price, but at some centres, you might be able to get a 28-day stay for cheaper than a 7-day stay somewhere else, due to the extras that the latter has offered.
Factors that can have a significant impact on cost include:
- Treatment options: some treatments are only offered by a select few centres, and the specialists typically charge a higher cost due to their scarcity, additional training, and experience
- Luxury: to make the rehabilitation process more enjoyable, some centres offer deluxe add-ons. Even the basic packages at such rehabs tend to be more expensive than others, as there is an overall emphasis on luxury so that there isn’t too much of a disparity between their guests’ experiences
- Location: rehab centres in densely populated areas may be more expensive due to the higher demand for spaces
During the COVID-19 pandemic, residential centres had to adapt their inpatient treatment in order to work with social distancing. This has meant that many centres now offer digital counselling and treatment options, either instead of, or as a complement to, traditional treatment plans.
These have become increasingly popular as part of “quasi-residential” rehab, which is a more affordable, but less popular, alternative to fully residential rehab.
Quasi-residential rehabs operate during standard business hours, usually, 8 am until 5 pm, during which patients will remain at the centre. Outside of these hours, they will live in shared accommodation with other people who are currently undergoing addiction treatment, known as sober living housing.
This gives attendees some of the independence they would enjoy as an outpatient but provides some of the structure and additional support of an inpatient centre at a reduced cost.
There aren’t many rehabilitation centres in the UK that offer quasi-residential rehab, but practices have changed as a result of COVID-19, and more and more flexible options are becoming available.
While the cost of rehab covers all of your needs during your stay, you should also consider any additional expenses you might be paying for, particularly regarding your current residence.
If you are attending rehab for a week, the rent, mortgage or utility payments on your current home won’t make much of a difference, but if you are planning to attend rehab for 28 days or more, you should factor in the costs of running your home for the full stay.
Additionally, while some rehab centres may allow you to take a dog or cat with you for emotional support, if you have multiple animals, you may have to pay to house them with family or in kennels while you are away.