What are the Differences Between Private and Free Rehab?

Aside from the obvious difference in cost, is there a difference between private drug rehab centers and free rehab centers? As a matter of fact, a lot of differences exist between the two. Free rehab certainly provides a necessary and even lifesaving function within society. It provides an option for people who can’t afford to participate in private rehab but still want to recover from a drug or alcohol use disorder. However, private rehabs provide many services that free rehabs don’t. Often, private rehabs provide higher quality care than public rehabs.

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Where Does the Money Come From?

Private drug rehab centers are generally for-profit entities. As such, they get their money from the participants who pay for their stay-in rehab. Public rehab facilities, on the other hand, require little to no payment from the participants themselves. Instead, these rehabs receive their funding from the state government and tax money. As a result, you’ll find inconsistencies among public rehab facilities.


Just like with public schools, states that have more money will have better facilities because they’ll experience fewer budget cuts. This fact means that some state facilities may be nearly as good as private facilities while others will have little more than a place to detox. Florida rehab centers, for example, have some very good facilities. Other states with less funding may not be able to offer quite the same amenities.


Because public rehab facilities get their funding at the state level, they are only available to those who live in that particular state.

They often exist in major cities, although some have more rural settings. Private drug rehab centers offer  programs, on the other hand, that can accept people from any state. They often exist in somewhat secluded environments to give participants a sense of privacy while they recover. These locations include beaches, mountains, and wooded areas. The location change can help with the recovery process. Often, a new location provides a “fresh start” mentality, and the recovering individual gets the chance to live away from old temptations and triggers.

Care and Activity

Both private drug rehab centers and well-funded public rehab facilities will have a lot of the same therapeutic activities, including detox, individual therapy, and group therapy. However, private facilities tend to have more options for recreational activities. Many private rehab programs have a swimming pool on site. Depending on the location and type of rehab facility, patients can participate in a range of activities like the ones listed below:


  • Art
  • Exercise programs
  • Trauma-informed yoga
  • Outdoor programs
  • Nutrition programs

Furthermore, because private rehabs tend to have a lower patient to staff ratio, participants receive more one-on-one attention and more individualized care than those who attend government-funded rehab.


Here is How You Can Get Drug Rehab Help

Other Options

Public rehab facilities tend to offer the same type of care to everyone who participates in their programs. Budget constraints don’t allow for much change. Those who go to private rehab, on the other hand, might seek a program that caters to their specific needs and demographics. For example, one can find rehab facilities that cater specifically to the following groups:


  • Religious and spiritual people
  • LGBTQIA people
  • People with families
  • Women
  • Men
  • Young adults

No matter your demographic, if you’re struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, we’re here to help.

Size and Waiting List

One of the downfalls of public rehab is that it often comes with a long waiting list. However, those who seek help for substance abuse disorders such as a codeine addiction or morphine abuse really can’t afford to wait for help. Like many other diseases, drug addiction can be life-threatening, and those who recognize their problem should get treatment as soon as possible. Furthermore, few things are more disheartening than wanting to quit drugs but having to wait for help to do so. Sometimes recovery can’t wait and that is one reason why private rehab could be the better option.

In 2011, less than 11% of people who needed rehab actually received treatment.

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Get in Quicker

Private rehab facilities can also have waiting lists, but participants don’t usually have to wait as long as they would have if they had attended public rehab. Furthermore, those who can only attend government-funded rehab have no choice but to wait until a spot opens up in their state’s rehab facilities. Since state rehab centers are only available to those who live in that state, people who need these facilities don’t have the option to “shop around.” Those who can go to a private facility have an advantage because they can always check into a different center if their first option has a waiting list.

Affording Private Rehab

Clearly, private rehab generally provides a better overall experience than public rehab. What if one wants to go to private rehab but can’t afford the cost? Privately-owned rehab can cost thousands of dollars for participants. Luxury rehab stays can cost even more. If you’re struggling with your finances, you may still be able to participate in a private rehab program.

Below are some of the options you can take if you want to stay in a private rehab facility:


  • Find out if your health insurance covers rehab.
  • Ask about a sliding scale payment.
  • Ask about a gradual payment plan.
  • Find out if your chosen rehab facility has a scholarship or grant program.

Do You Need Help?

If you need help with a substance abuse disorder, or if somebody you love needs help, you may have found a lot of the above information disheartening. At Rehab Info, we understand the difficulties of finding the right treatment plan. That’s why we’re here to help you sort through your options.


Call us today. Recovery starts with a first step. 1-800-492-QUIT

Call 800-492-QUIT to speak to one of our caring staff members today.

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