If you are considering addiction recovery, you may have a few questions. Some of them may pertain to confidentiality and privacy aspects. This guide will go over the seven things you’ll want to be aware of.
Ocean Recovery supports their patients going through recovery. They will hold themselves accountable for their policy regarding privacy and confidentiality. That is one reason why you should trust them as your treatment facility.
Let’s dive right in and consider the following aspects you need to know about confidentiality in the addiction recovery process.
- Treatment centers must follow confidentiality laws
- Telling your family (and anyone relevant) is most important
- Confidentiality will ease fears regarding your future
- It’s OK to keep things a secret
- They may fear there may be a record against them
- Telling your story doesn’t breach confidentiality
- Make a list of people you trust
Treatment centers must follow confidentiality laws
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (or HIPAA) is designed to protect any health information that is considered sensitive. Treatment centers must follow these laws and must never share such information without the consent of the patient.
This should give you peace of mind knowing that any kind of health information can be protected. Treatment facilities can be severely punished if HIPAA was violated. However, this may not be enough in terms of keeping things private.
We’ll explain why in the next point. However, it’s important to consider your options for a treatment facility. Doing your due diligence and coming across multiple issues about confidentiality violations might turn you away from a facility.
That’s why you want your treatment done at a facility that will be serious about privacy and confidentiality (and really mean it).
Telling your family (and anyone relevant) is most important
It’s important to be aware of who you need to disclose your intent to get treatment to. Your immediate family (including your spouse, children, or parents) will need to know. It’s also a good idea to make sure that they are able to keep things to themselves.
This means explicitly telling them that they should not disclose such information to anyone that doesn’t need to know. This means bringing it up in conversations with friends, co-workers, or other people.
If you are working, you’ll want to discuss your addiction treatment with your employer. They too will need to keep things confidential. There may be confidential rules they need to follow (even if it’s tied to HIPAA).
As for whether or not you should tell friends or anyone else, they don’t need to know. You can share your story about addiction and recovery after your treatment. Since you are in the process of starting, it may be wise to disclose your intent to family and if needed, your employer.
Confidentiality will ease fears regarding your future
As you live a life free from addiction, you’re rebuilding it from the ground up. This includes finding new job opportunities. You may want to keep your treatment confidential because you may fear that your treatment can hurt your chances.
Needless to say, addiction itself is not a crime. You may have been criminally charged for something that may be linked to addiction (such as theft). Keep in mind that not everyone is obligated to know about your addiction treatment.
You have every right to decide who needs to know about your addiction treatment. Not everyone has to know and you can choose who you can share it with. It comes down to a matter of trust and comfort.
Use your best judgment and know that there is no shame in questioning whether sharing your addiction treatment with someone is a good idea or not.
It’s OK to keep things a secret
It’s understandable that someone might feel a sense of shame or guilt due to their addiction. They might also feel that people might judge them for that reason. As unfortunate as it sounds, this happens.
That’s why you don’t need to disclose any information about your addiction treatment with anyone other than the people you trust. People who criticize or stigmatize addiction have little or no understanding of what people will go through.
Unfortunately, we cannot control how they think or feel about addiction. That’s why it is important for someone to set the example of learning about addiction and what life may be like for someone dealing with the struggle. Talking to someone about addiction or a family member of someone they may have lost to it is possible.
They may fear there may be a record against them
While there is information that will be kept on file by the treatment facility, it will not be disclosed to anyone. In a sense, it’s not some kind of record (like a criminal record). An employer screening like a background check may not even mention a stint in rehab.
If you have committed criminal acts, that will be on a record. You may have made mistakes that have resulted in criminal charges. But don’t let that dampen your hopes of a second chance.
Telling your story doesn’t breach confidentiality
If you are comfortable sharing your story about addiction, you are free to do so. You won’t be breaching any confidentiality laws nor will someone be at fault for it. You gave yourself consent to disclose any information regarding your treatment.
It would be a good idea to share your story after you have undergone the treatment itself. Who you tell it to is up to you. You can visit the facility and meet with recovering addicts during a group meeting and share your story.
Inspire them. Let them know that they made the right decision to get help.
Make a list of people you trust
Ask yourself who you can actually trust? This may be difficult, but this will require some time and thought. It’s always a good idea to take a look at each family member that is closest to you.
Ask yourself if they are the kind of person who can keep a secret if you tell them something. If they have lived up to their end of the bargain, you can add them to the list. Otherwise, you can leave people out if you are not comfortable sharing anything with them.