Why do so many go abroad for addiction treatment

It appears an increasing number of UK and other English speaking nations citizens are travelling abroad for medical treatment and Addiction treatment centres certainly contribute to medical tourism.

On Spains Costa del Sol nestled amongst the Tejeda mountains and within 10 minutes of the Sea is Camino Recovery Centre – an English speaking treatment centre in the Sun and caters for the needs of expats visiting specifically for this reason.

Aside from the often financial implications of going abroad, there can be many other reasons for choosing to leave the ‘comfort’ of your own environment when dealing with addiction.

  1. Often there is a feeling-perceived or otherwise- of anonymity when travelling abroad and whilst any professionally run institution will meticulously protect a clients confidentiality this feeling often encourages an open environment.
  2. Removing oneself from their familiar environment often allows the overwhelming nature of their circumstances and consequences to be given perspective. Almost like an opportunity to breathe under the weight of their addiction.
  3. Pleasant and comfortable surroundings can assist in the therapeutic process. An opportunity to discover new and  exciting places and hobbies also provides an opportunity for healthy ‘downtime’ and expand interests.
  4. Often treatment is instigated by the family and in trying to encourage a loved one into getting the help they so desperately need an international environment with great weather and attractive scenery can make it easier for someone to take the Brave first step.
  5. Initially, there can be shame and guilt associated with entering into rehab. Going abroad allows one to honestly tell all that they are taking some timeout without having to worry about who they may meet and what to tell them. Removing such anxieties can again add to the therapeutic process.
  6. Typically whilst the international centres retain their professional integrity (many are run by UK nationals familiar with a UK environment) they tend to be smaller allowing for a much more personalised approach and a bespoke program.

Don Lavender – program director at Camino and with over 40 years of experience in the industry in the US and overseas said

“If a person commits to treatment, a fresh start, in the sun, on the Mediterranean, it often makes this courageous step not only a little less painful but begins a new pattern of self-care.”

In talking about their experiences abroad many have found that a certain detachment from real life has proved invaluable but always be careful to make sure that any centre provides a comprehensive reintegration into ‘normal life’ to include support networks such as AA, NA, etc and individual therapy where required.

In addition, the more reputable Centres will provide a comprehensive aftercare option as part of the package.

At Camino, all ex-clients are asked to intend once weekly if appropriate and are always on the end of the phone. There is always great delight in seeing a client return to Camino to share their experiences with our current incumbents.

It is vital to emphasise that whilst all these factors may contribute to the selection process don’t let this dictate where to go. Ultimately the goal of any recovery centre should be to provide the best service to the client in getting well.

With this in mind, it is always important to establish the professional qualifications and personal attributes of the clinical team.

Always ask to speak to the clinical or program director before making your decision.


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