Dr. Cali Estes - The Addictions Academy ®

Top 5 Reasons Clients Leave Treatment Against Medical Advice

Top 5 Reasons Clients Leave Treatment AMA

AMAA common problem for Drug and Alcohol Treatment Centers is high AMA rates, or leaving against medical advice. This means that after clients are admitted into treatment, they decide to leave the program before completion. This is when relapse and overdose rates are at their highest. A lot of times, people will find an excuse to leave treatment early that may sound reasonable, however, they likely just want to use. Most AMA’s happen because the client convinces a loved one that they are somehow victim of a disservice. The key is to quickly establish a rapport with the family in order to prevent an AMA before it even happens. Calling the family and reporting pre-signs of AMA, and putting the client into a position that takes away their resources to leave treatment will prevent an AMA. Here are the top five reasons that someone may leave treatment AMA.

1. “The food is terrible!” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this. Even with a chef in-charge of the food, clients will use this excuse to convince their parents or loved ones to let them leave treatment early. Being able to discuss with the family that this is a common excuse that the clients may use can help to prevent them from allowing their loved one to pick them up from treatment.

2. “I need to get back to work!” A lot of times, clients will be in a complete financial mess when they first begin treatment. After a few days, these clients think that they need to start working right away in order to start fixing their lives. More often than not, when these clients leave treatment, they relapse within the first 24 hours. Creating a strong rapport with the family and creating healthy expectations from the family can help to prevent this excuse from becoming the reason the client leaves treatment.

3. “I miss my children!” This is a sad reality. When people are using, they aren’t completely attentive to their children in the first place. Helping to redirect the client and show them that they can use the treatment time to help build them up for a life-long relationship with their children is very important. Helping the client to schedule a family visit so that they can see their children or allowing them to talk to them on the phone may help to relieve the shame and guilt associated with this. Often, the client just wants to be heard. Listening to them and creating a space that encourages them to find recovery for themselves will help them to feel as though they are making progress.

4. “I don’t like it here!” Clients will use this excuse when they want to use, but don’t want to say that they want to use. Helping them to find honesty and their true intentions will prevent this AMA from happening. Again, family plays a huge role in preventing AMA. Having the family create boundaries and limiting the resources that they allow the client to have can prevent them from leaving treatment.

5. “I want to get high!” Often, a client will just want to use. Intervention is required from staff to attempt to help the client to see how a life of recovery outweighs the life of using. This is the most difficult AMA to block. Family involvement is key, and sometimes letting the client walk is the right move. More often than not, the client will return because they have nowhere else to go.

Training your staff effective ways to block an AMA is paramount in the treatment experience. Clients will attempt to use any excuse they can come up with to get out of treatment, if they want to use. Drug addiction is difficult however it can be treated with appropriate training. The Addictions Academy offers a modern approach training to help treatment centers better prepare to combat potential AMA risks. Lowering the overall AMA rate for a program will increase completion rates, increase the reputation of the program, and most importantly, increase the chances of sobriety for the client.

Ready to get your team trained?  Call us at 1.800.706.0318 ext 2

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