Cheap Rehab in Thailand Does It Get the Job Done?

As society comes to better accept and understand of the realities of addiction, the variety of available addiction treatment centres has likewise increased. Many of the newer facilities advertise their additional services and added comforts, but these bonuses inevitably come with a higher price tag. If you are on a limited budget, a different approach to treatment may be best for you. Cheap rehab in Thailand tends to be far more affordable than similar services in countries like the UK, USA, or Australia, while nevertheless maintaining a primary focus on the essential task of addiction recovery.
In this article, we explore the possibilities for cheap inpatient rehab, examine why Thailand is routinely included as a top rehab destination, look closer at cost factors alongside overall value, and describe the overall experience that you should expect. Cheap rehab facilities are not for everyone, but for those with tight financial restrictions, they may just be an effective budget alternative.

Cheap Rehab Centres: Understanding the Basics

Leaving aside luxury rehab centres entirely, even the cost of standard treatment can be prohibitive for many people suffering from substance addiction. Indeed, research conducted by the United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has concluded that financial considerations are the most common reason why people with substance abuse issues do not obtain assistance.

The simple reality is that the bill for basic inpatient rehab in Western countries can come to tens of thousands of dollars, particularly for extended treatment. Going overseas for rehab can lower this bill considerably, even after factoring in the cost of travel and other expenses.
A change of scenery may also be a wise decision even for non-financial reasons, as a new environment can put some distance between addicts and their most potent triggers. A new region to explore, together with its new culture, cuisine, history, and traditions, can also provide enough novelty and mental stimulation to partially distract addicts from their cravings.

Thailand: A Pleasant and Affordable Destination for Recovery

For its warm climate, welcoming spirit, beautiful landscapes and affordable costs, Thailand has long been a favoured country for medical tourism. The country’s ability to offer better value for money has also become a guiding philosophy within its network of rehab centres.
Facilities at the budget end of the spectrum typically ignore the extra personal luxuries that are a selling point for higher-end treatment centres. Instead, cheap rehab in Thailand is all about providing a single-minded focus on client recovery. This no-frills approach has its appeal, particularly for those with financial limitations, but the old adage nevertheless applies: You get what you pay for.

What Cheap Rehab in Thailand is Like

If you decide to stay at a budget rehab in Thailand, you will find that it is less likely to be in a picturesque location, or offer much in the way of recreational activities. Indeed, the facility itself may be located in a standard house that has been lightly converted for its new purpose. It may also focus its operations on secondary treatment rather than primary care.
In essence, this means that such a facility will do little to help you with your initial detox period and your important first few weeks of sobriety, and instead devote its resources to offering more general advice and guidance on helping you re-settle into a productive life.
(As a side note, it is worth mentioning that you may also find cheap rehab centres located in primary treatment facilities, but there is a very real possibility that their ability to offer a good location at very low prices comes from a decision to skimp on treatment quality. The money, quite simply, has to come out of somewhere – and in our view, quality treatment should be the highest priority for all those in need of addiction recovery assistance.)
Cheap rehab in Thailand tend to offer basic room
In terms of the properties themselves, most cheap rehab centres in Thailand tend to share the following qualities:

A unique exception can be found at Tham Krabok, a Buddhist monastery in Thailand which provides free addiction recovery services (although food must be paid for, and an additional donation is welcomed). The catch is that the monastery’s methods are highly unorthodox and unappealing to many people.

What cheap Inpatient rehab entails

Treatment centres are able to cut costs by eliminating extras – but it is important to understand that beyond a certain price point, they must begin cutting corners even on core services. Cheap rehab options in Thailand tend to reduce hiring costs (thereby lowering the quality of services), provide fewer and less experienced foreign staff, and eliminate onsite medical support. They may also employ staff who are not professionally licensed or lack adequate experience in the field of addiction treatment.

Whereas more well-rounded addiction treatment centres provide experienced counsellors and clinicians who deliver a wide variety of tailored treatment options with modern equipment, cheaper facilities are considerably less flexible in their offerings.

These include the following:
No onsite detox facility or medical support
Not generally provided, as a reduced hiring budget translates to a lack of multidisciplinary professionals on staff

Highly related to the facility’s staff-to-client ratio. Most cheap rehab facilities only offer a handful of counsellors and therapists. More staff means higher prices, due to salary expenses

Although the cost will be higher, you will be better off choosing a primary inpatient rehab option if you are in need of medical support or intensive care. Similarly, if you suffer from co-occurring mental health issues or severe addiction issues, cheap rehab options may not be right for you. Co-occurring disorders add complexity to assessment, diagnosis, treatment and recovery – and a high level of clinical support and targeted intervention are necessary to tackle these specific needs.

It is worth stressing the danger of letting higher cost dissuade you from seeking appropriate treatment you need. Each year, many people choose the cheapest rehab option without really understanding that “cheap” doesn’t mean “best” when it comes to drug and alcohol rehabilitation. So we always recommend finding out more about any rehab centre – especially those that focus on how cheap their prices are – before committing to it.

cheap rehab Thailand

pros and cons of CHEAP REHAB FACILITIES IN THAILAND

Pros

  • Highly affordable, with rates of less than US$5,000 per month. Some have a sponsorship programme and/or require small donations
  • Cheaper costs mean you can stay longer, which often translates to a higher chance of recovery
  • Basic services are provided, including daily meals, laundry and cleaning, letting you focus on recovery without any additional practical worries
  • A fascinating country for visitors, Thailand offers plenty of opportunity for exploration outside of the rehab experience

Cons

  • No onsite medical detox facilities to assist with drug and alcohol withdrawal
  • Inability to provide the full continuum of care
  • Basic accommodation and minimal amenities may be uncomfortable for some
  • Healthy food options may be limited; good Western food may be difficult to find 
  • Minimal or no access to complementary holistic therapies 
  • Clients may be required to do communal chores or service work
  • No opportunities for adventure trips or cultural excursions

Should You Seek Treatment at a Cheap Rehab?

Rehab at any price level brings no guarantee of success, although the lack of key treatment services such as medically-supervised detox, psychological support and continuum of care, can make the addiction recovery process more difficult for clients at cheap rehab facilities.
With that said, cheap rehab can be a viable alternative option if you:
  • Have low income
  • Have a mild addiction that does not require detox
  • Do not require “as needed” medication or overnight support
  • Are comfortable with basic accommodation
  • Have general mental health issues that do not require intensive/psychological care
  • Do not have complex dual disorders
  • Have completed primary treatment and/or gone through detox, and are looking for something less intensive

If you would like to learn more about cheap rehab centres in Thailand or addiction treatment options in general, feel free to contact us. We can help you find the most affordable rehab option that meets your needs. This is a no-cost consultation, so call us now or fill out the contact form below.

Author
Cameron Brown
Psychologist
    1. Department of Health & Human Services. “Dual Diagnosis.” State Government of Victoria, Department of Health & Human Services, 29 May 2015, https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/mental-health/practice-and-service-quality/specialist-responses/dual-diagnosis.
    2. “Laws and Regulations.” SAMHSA, 7 May 2019, https://www.samhsa.gov/about-us/who-we-are/laws-regulations.

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