Anonymity in Recovery

One of the main reasons people don’t seek help for their addictions is the fear of being labeled an ‘addict’ or an ‘alcoholic,’ terms which hold great stigma in today’s society. And their fears are not unfounded. People who don’t suffer from addiction or have never had experience with those that suffer from this disorder often think that addicts are simply weak, lazy or unmotivated, and this attitude can cause friends and family to turn their backs on people in their time of greatest need. Being labeled an ‘addict’ can also affect a person’s job prospects, ability to receive aid and even ability to find a place to live. It’s no wonder, then, that so many people seeking treatment wish to do so anonymously. So how can you or someone you love stay anonymous during treatment? What protections are there to keep your identity safe and keep your public image clean?


Staying anonymous while attending rehab is actually quite a bit easier than most would think. Rehab treatment centers are considered medical facility and as such, they are protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) which provides privacy and protection to client’s medical records. This law means that future employers, landlords, friends and family can’t simply call a treatment facility and ask for your information. And in fact, these treatment facilities are further bound by The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Patient Records Privacy Law, which restricts communications between the treatment facility and anyone other than the client more thoroughly than even doctor-client or attorney-client privilege laws. So it’s actually quite easy for a client to keep their records safe.


However, many clients worry about their identities being revealed not through their medical records, but through their interactions with other clients in the facility. Treatment involves open, honest sharing between clients, doctors and each other, and this level of openness can be uncomfortable for those worrying about their identity being revealed. But treatment centers are a safe space, and it is understood by all attendees that what is said or shared in treatment sessions is not to be discussed outside of that session. Patients need to trust one another with their most private, sensitive information to completely heal, and they take the responsibility to keep what they hear secret extremely seriously. Aside from being constantly reminded of this privacy principle in sessions, most participants understand the issues and struggles that their fellow addicts are facing and respect the needs of their fellow client’s need for privacy.
While occasionally confidential information is leaked from a treatment center or therapy session, it is very rare as everyone in the treatment center understands and respects each other’s needs. And laws provide further protection for clients, particularly in regards to their medical records while recovering. It is completely possible for a person to remain anonymous while in and after attending rehab, and it should not serve as a deterrent for anyone wishing to get clean. Call and speak to our experienced intake coordinators at Right Path Drug Rehab today. Our addiction recovery programs are designed to maintain the anonymity of our clients.

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