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Why Are People Scared To Go To Detox & Rehab?

Why Are People Scared To Go To Detox?

Scared Man

Every new aspect of life is scary: moving to a new city, getting a new job, or losing someone you love. Perhaps these things don’t have much in common, but the similarity is that they all cause stress and require adjustments in your day-to-day life. Change causes stress, and that’s a fact. With this being said, it is not uncommon for an addict to be scared to go to detox or rehab in general. Even family members may have their hesitations with their loved ones going to rehab. Sometimes simply understanding where this fear is coming from can help with overcoming it and being able to see what is truly best for everyone.

Here are a few common reasons why addicts are afraid of going to detox, how to recognize these signs, and how to handle that fear in the best possible way.

1. Fear of the unknown

New paths cause fear and stress, even when it comes to positive changes such as going to a detox center. The addicted person is afraid that he/she won’t be able to go through detox and get sober, that detox won’t work, that they’ll disappoint those who love them, etc… All of these reasons have something in common—the unknown factor— which is quite intimidating.

The human brain has a tendency to define its world and the way the world is supposed to work. We like certain things to stay the same; An addict has his/her daily habits and rituals, and whenever something disrupts this personal world—including the new and own desire to get sober—the brain tries to prevent change.

  • How long will detox last?
  • Am I going to be able to go through it?
  • Will I relapse?
  • What will people think of me if I fail?
  • What if I do not like my new life?

Numerous questions and doubts go through an addict’s head. Change brings things that we don’t know anything about. If you’re an addict, or you have one close to you thinking about going to a detox facility but are too afraid, let them know that the fear of change is normal and all people have it.

2. Fear of failure

We try things and fail at them EVERY DAY. We’re always trying to eliminate things from our lives, whether it’s fatty foods, gluten, bad relationships, or opiates.

Failure to quit abusing drug or drinking is scarier than all of the others simply because not being able to control the urge for the addictive substances makes a person “weak” in their own eyes and the eyes of others, and destines them for another struggle. Don’t let the fear of failure make you too scared to go to rehab.

3. My life will become boring

Are you afraid you won’t have things to do on weekends because you usually went clubbing and got high with your friends? Believe us, a life that revolves around drugs and alcohol is not even near fun as the life spent traveling the world, reading, exercising, or trying new things… The possibilities are endless, especially with all the money you’re about to save by not buying drugs.

4. People will talk

Some are afraid to better their own life for fear of what other people will think or say about them. This is quite a common fear. It’s important to understand that trying to improve your own life is only for YOU, not others. If something is going to make your life better, there’s no need to care what others are saying…

Not everyone will understand or approve that you can’t have “just one drink”, but you’re probably lucky enough to have a few dear, supportive people that will understand. Others will always find something to pass judgment on. It’s up to you to overcome being scared to go to rehab so you can improve your life.

5. I won’t have any friends

The social circle of an addict involves more or less the same people—addicts. When asked about why are they afraid of quitting, most addicts will answer that they are afraid of not having any friends when they get out of the rehab.

Of course, you’ll have to give up some of your old friends for obvious reasons. The risks of relapsing is enormous if you find yourself near old habits, but many people get through addiction, rehab, and everything that goes with it, and still have acquaintances. Good people are everywhere; you’ll have new friends sooner than you think.

Remember: You won’t lose everyone, and not everyone you will lose is a loss. Not everyone necessarily loses their friends, but all relationships will likely change if you decide to get sober. If people in your life are not fond of your new life choices, then they’re probably not in your life for the right reasons and their absence likely won’t hurt. Sobriety may take you to crossing paths with some amazing (and not so amazing) people.


Having fears and doubts is human. We all do and we always will, in every single aspect of life— especially when deciding to try something new. These fears may be particularly heightened by the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. Know that overcoming this fear to go to rehab can be the difference between life and death. Don’t be scared of going to rehab, be excited at the possibility of a better life. Compass Detox is a state of the art detox facility designed to promote health, wellness, and sobriety. This is the safest and most beneficial place for an addict to start the journey to recovery. Start the journey today. Contact Compass Detox!

Brooks V.
Brooks V.
Brooks has been a freelance journalist for the better part of two decades, as well as spending a decade as a crisis intervention counselor. Through his own work and researching the work of others throughout the many facets of the detox, crisis intervention, and mental health worlds he has been able to tell the stories of those worlds in an effort to help addicts and those with mental illnesses understand and navigate them.