Is It Safe to Go to Rehab During COVID-19?

COVID-19 and the global pandemic have shaken up how rehabs operate, but it's not a sufficient reason to put off potentially life-saving care.

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The COVID-19 pandemic affected many industries around the globe, including the addiction treatment industry. Many who are considering rehab treatment may be worried about their safety in a rehab during the pandemic. Luckily, there are precautions that many rehab centers have adopted in order to make addiction treatment a safe and effective experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. Required vaccinations and masking, regular sanitization of facilities, and extensive testing are just some of the newly adopted policies that rehabs are using to make sure you can achieve recovery in a safe and healthy place. Whether you’re considering rehab or committed to treatment, it’s important to remember that you shouldn’t put of critical care due to the pandemic, and to understand the ways to make you stay at rehab safe.

Are Rehabs Still Open During COVID-19?

Many addiction treatment facilities remain open and committed to providing critical care during the COVID-19 pandemic. While some rehabs experienced temporary closures at the beginning of the pandemic, many were quick to adopt enhanced testing and safety precautions. As a result, rehab facilities have managed to remain open as part of the nation’s essential health infrastructure.10 As the pandemic evolved, so too did the responses of rehab centers and the tools they had to ensure a safe facility. It’s worth noting that, due to the different regulations in different states, some facilities may have different requirements for attendance. For example, one facility may require patients to be vaccinated against COVID-19, while others may not. Overall, it’s important to reach out to any prospective rehab facility and discuss what safety precautions they are taking.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19, also known as coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2, is a viral disease that is highly contagious and affects the respiratory system. COVID-19 has affected nearly every country around the world and continues to spread.4 Recent numbers show over 500 million confirmed cases worldwide and over 6 million deaths directly due to COVID-19, with numbers increasing daily.4 In the United States alone, there are more than 80 million confirmed cases and more than 980,000 deaths.5 In the United States, each state is taking measures to slow the spread.

Symptoms of COVID-19

COVID-19 has many variants that are circulating around the globe at time of writing, and each COVID-19 variant may cause different symptoms. The intensity of COVID-19 symptoms can range from mild to severe and possibly fatal. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) lists several common symptoms of COVID-19 (generally appearing 2-14 days after initial exposure):1

  • Fever or chills.
  • Cough.
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
  • Fatigue.
  • Muscle or body aches.
  • Headache.
  • New loss of taste or smell.
  • Sore throat.
  • Congestion or runny nose.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.

The CDC lists severe symptoms as:1

  • Trouble breathing.
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest.
  • New confusion.
  • Inability to wake or stay awake.
  • Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds (depending on one’s skin tone).

 It’s important to note that these may not encompass all the symptoms of COVID-19. Symptoms can vary depending on the variant.1 COVID-19 tests remain a strong option to determine if you have the virus.2

How Has COVID-19 Impacted Addiction?

The COVID-19 pandemic brought with it new and unique stressors that seem to have elevated rates of drinking and drug use.12 Studies suggest that increasing alcohol use during the pandemic could pose significant physical and mental health risks.12 In particular, the prevalence of mental health disorders like anxiety and depression are increasing during the pandemic, and may be worsened by excessive alcohol or drug consumption.12, 13 Isolation imposed by measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 can also contribute to stress and loneliness, and some may use substances as a way to self-medicate. Overall, the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be causing an increase in the misuse of substances and a worsening of mental health around the globe, emphasizing the need for comprehensive behavioral health care.

Finding Drug and Alcohol Rehab During COVID-19

American Addiction Centers is one of the largest treatment providers in the United States, offering effective and high-quality treatment for substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health disorders. With facilities located across the country, there is always a local option available for you even with travel restrictions in place. American Addiction Centers offers a continuum of care, starting with a safe medical detox that can help you manage the symptoms of withdrawal that many people are experiencing as a result of COVID-19. Ongoing treatment is also available, which can help you reach your recovery goals.

Rehab at American Addiction Centers

Our mission at American Addiction Centers (AAC) is to help people access effective treatment for substance use disorders.14 This mission is not limited to our facilities. If you have any questions or concerns, you can call our confidential rehab hotline, which is free and available 24/7. This will connect you to one of our Admissions Navigators, who are passionate, understanding, and knowledgeable. They can help you start treatment at one of our facilities, answer questions you may have, or provide the resources you need to find treatment at another facility. When you are ready, we will be too. You can reach us at or by texting us.