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Can You Check Yourself Out of Rehab, and What Happens If You Do?

Patients trying to kick drug and alcohol habits often want to check themselves out of rehab. Remaining in facilities can be challenging as substances make their way out of the body. 

However, understanding the implications of leaving rehab prematurely is critical. Leaving early could put your recovery at risk and worsen your mental health. It could also impact insurance coverage and affect your ability to receive care at a future date. Most importantly, rehab facilities are there to provide the help and support you need during these difficult times. 

Goals of Rehab

The purpose of a rehab program is to provide you with the space you need to recover from an addiction by offering medical supervision to break the cycle of dependence and deliver support. 

The goal of rehab is to develop your support system and help you learn new skills so you don’t feel the need to use drugs again in the future. Once substances are out of your system, treatment aims to prevent future cravings from overwhelming your defenses. 

Various types of treatments and therapies are available in rehab clinics. These are often complementary as they work to enhance your chances of recovery. Options may include:

  • Family therapy: Involving your close relationships and showing them how they can help you kick drug or alcohol habits
  • Individual talk therapy: Including cognitive behavioral therapy and psychotherapy to get to the root causes of addictions
  • Drug therapy: May be necessary in some cases where withdrawal symptoms are severe

Completing a treatment program matters for long-term recovery because it provides you with the best chance of overcoming addiction. It reduces relapse risk and enhances overall well-being, ensuring you only reenter the community when ready. 

Patient Rights and Responsibilities

Even though professionals recommend completing rehab programs, there is usually no legal requirement to do so. You have the right to decide on your treatment, including when you leave rehab facilities. 

When admitted, you will go through the “informed consent” process. Here, medical professionals explain your diagnosis (the addiction you may have), the treatment options available, and the risks involved. 

During this process, staff will also explain your right to refuse treatment and ask you to sign a consent form stating that you’ve permitted care from doctors, nurses, and other practitioners. 

Always consider the consequences of refusing treatment against medical advice (AMA). AMAs could jeopardize your health, put you under financial strain (by going against your insurer’s wishes), and leave you without the support you need. 

Reasons People Leave Rehab Early

People leave rehab early for all sorts of reasons, including: 

  • Challenges of dealing with distressing withdrawal symptoms
  • Cost and financial issues
  • Dislike of the program structure, including meal and bedtimes
  • Fears of what is happening to your body
  • Issues surrounding missing loved ones or being in a familiar environment

These reasons for leaving are understandable. However, discharging yourself can result in unpleasant consequences that worsen your situation.

Before you leave rehab, consider talking to a counselor. Tell them how you feel and see if alternative treatment options are available. 

If you decide to leave, tell your counselor and complete the relevant paperwork. You may need to sign documents indicating self-discharge.

Consequences of Leaving Rehab Early

As discussed, leaving rehab early can hurt recovery progress and long-term outcomes. 

Possible physical and mental health issues include: 

  • An increased risk of depression and anxiety
  • Greater chance of relapsing and having to go through the withdrawal process again
  • Medical complications due to coming off substances abruptly without proper supervision

Leaving rehab early could also have various financial risks, including: 

  • No insurance coverage for treatment costs if you leave early (you may have to pay out of pocket)
  • Difficulty getting treatment for addiction in the future due to AMAs

Alternatives to Discharging Early

Fortunately, there are some alternatives to discharging early. One option is to tell your care team about your experiences, including withdrawal symptoms, difficulty following the rehab program, and issues with your finances. Communicating with them clearly about your needs and concerns can put your mind at ease and improve your situation. 

If you are experiencing overwhelming emotions, speak to a counselor or on-site support group. Tell them about the problems you are going through. Rehab clinics may alter your program or recommend that you transition to a different level of care. For example, practices may offer outpatient options or take you to a sober living facility. 

Aftercare Planning

Planning your aftercare post-rehab is essential. You want a team of people around you who can ensure you don’t slip back into old habits before you leave. 

Post-rehab support usually involves regular check-ins to discuss progress and supportive housing. It can also include education on mindfulness and self-care, increasing your ability to recover successfully. 

Many former clients utilize external support services such as Jackson House’s alumni group

How to Manage the Possibility of Relapse

Even with the best support systems in place, relapse remains a possibility. Therefore, it is essential to recognize the signs and seek help immediately. 

Possible indicators may include:

  • Increasingly bad mood swings
  • Isolation from friends and family
  • Rationalizing drug use (such as telling yourself it helps you concentrate or be a better person)
  • Return to places where drug-taking or alcohol abuse occurred in the past
  • Thinking obsessively about drugs or alcohol
  • Viewing past substance abuse with a sense of nostalgia or longing

Fortunately, you can use various relapse prevention strategies, like avoiding triggers, focusing on self-care, and reaching out whenever you need support. These significantly reduce the risk of returning to substance abuse.

Even if you have a setback, it can still be an opportunity for growth. Many people living with substance abuse learn from their mistakes, motivating them to succeed long-term. 


In summary, checking out of rehab early is not recommended. Doing so could invalidate insurance and put you at a higher risk of relapse. 

If you want to leave rehab before the end of your program, reach out for support. Counselors and therapists can help you stay the course and get back on track. 

Remember, recovery is a journey. Some days will be good, and others will be hard. Help and hope are always available at Jackson House Recovery Centers. Contact us today to learn more about our recovery programs.

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