What Are Addiction Treatment Boot Camps?

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What Are Addiction Treatment Boot Camps?

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

January 18, 2018

Overcoming drug addiction is a difficult process that many people struggle with. A growing movement is now offering people a harsher way to find sobriety. Drug rehab boot camp.

What Happens At A Drug Rehab Boot Camp?

Boot camp drug treatment centers are designed to be more physically strenuous for attendants. In fact, they are actually based on the boot camps that military recruits have to endure when they first join up. Boot camp rehab centers require strict adherence to rules, inspections, copious amounts of physical exercise, living in very sparse conditions, and eating very little food.

To many people, this kind of treatment may seem harsh. However, it is designed to shock a person who is suffering from addiction. There’s a good chance they’ve never experienced these types of conditions in their life. Being thrown into a tough environment challenges them mentally, physically, and emotionally.

It also creates a more humble state of mind. In a drug rehab boot camp, a person can’t talk back to the people running the camp nor can they break rules. Instead, they have to exist in a simple environment and learn how to take orders. In a sense, this aligns boot camp rehab with 12-step programs: both force you to let go of your ego, admit you have a problem and put your fate in the hands of a stronger force.

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Are They Expensive?

Many people turn to boot camp rehabs because of their incredibly low price. While more comfortable inpatient rehab centers can cost upwards of $700 per day, boot camps often cost a tenth of that price. In fact, some boot camps can cost as little as $25 per day to attend. This low price of attendance is partially offset by private and public funding endeavors.

For somebody who either lacks the cash or insurance to fund drug rehabilitation, boot camp rehabs are often their only alternative. Even if they feel they lack the emotional or physical abilities to handle such an experience, it may be the healthiest alternative to living a life of perpetual addiction.

Do Boot Camps Actually Work?

As you can imagine, boot camp drug rehabs are somewhat controversial. However, there are many people that believe that they are incredibly effective. A young writer named Vicki wrote an article in “XoJane” about her experiences in a drug rehab boot camp. She had been an addict for years and struggled to find a solution that worked for her.

After attending a drug rehab boot camp, she found that she had no desire to use any more. The experience of cleaning toilets, being yelled at, and following strict guidelines humbled her. It showed her that she could no longer live such a personally damaging lifestyle because she would likely end up either in prison or dead.

Another article, by the New York Daily News, went into great detail discussing the pros and cons of boot camps. They believed that boot camps could be effective for people who didn’t respond well to more comfortable or “posh” rehab centers. While they don’t deny the effectiveness of these more expensive and comfortable centers, they acknowledge that boot camps may be the only option that works for hard cases.

What Kind Of Criticisms Surrounds Boot Camps?

Critics of boot camp rehabs claim that they only reinforce the false notion that “tough love” is the best treatment for addiction treatment. They point out that severe treatment in boot camps can traumatize many people and can even drive them to either relapse or begin using drugs at an even higher level. They also criticize some of the harsher elements of the treatment, such as forced fitness routines, forced labor, denial of food, and sleep deprivation.

Other critics point out that people who are suffering from addiction are often in rough physical shape and that this kind of treatment will only make it worse. There are few amenities in a boot camp rehab and people must share sleeping quarters. This is true even if the person begins to experience symptoms of detoxification. While there are medical facilities on-site in boot camp rehabs, they are generally only used for emergency situations.

Making A Difficult Decision

Clearly, there are people who may benefit from living through a boot camp rehab treatment. However, there are those who will react negatively to the treatment and who may either relapse or suffer from emotional and physical problems caused by their treatment. If you are interested in boot camp rehabilitation and want to learn more, please contact us at Rehabcenter.net.

View 23 Responses to “What Are Addiction Treatment Boot Camps?”

I’m looking for somewhere for my son who has been in rehab 2 times. This is a now or never must

Lisa, we are here to help! A treatment specialist will reach out to you via the email address you provided ASAP. If you would prefer to contact us by phone, please call 800-570-3670.

Looking for boot camp rehab center in NY for my brother. Please send me a list.

Hans, we will have a treatment specialist contact you via the email address you provided as soon as possible to discuss options for your brother!

I am looking for a military style, boot camp rehab for my friend to go to. Her Mother has run out of other options and regular rehab just isn’t doing it for her. She has relapsed and has over dosed many times but still, nothing is working. We are all very concerned now and want to try a different approach to help her! Please give me information on boot camp based rehab centers. It doesn’t even matter where it is, we will take her!

Thank you for reaching out to us regarding your friend! We will have a treatment specialist contact you ASAP via the email address you’ve provided.

Hi my daughter needs help and I think at this point a boot camp type of rehab is what’s needed since she’s been dealing with re-occurring relapses that the average type of rehab hasn’t helped her. Can you please send me a list of all the boot camp type of rehabs that this country has? We are from the NJ area but will travel anywhere to get her the proper help that she needs, and wants! Thank you!


We will have a treatment specialist contact you via email ASAP to get your daughter into the right treatment center!

Thank you

Please call 773 501 9457

Bernie, we will have one of our treatment specialists contact you as soon as possible!

I’m contacting you for my daughter. She has been battling alcohol and opiate addiction for almost two years. She has been to rehab and a few sober living houses and even lived on her own recently with no success. I think a boot camp style program would be a good option for her at this point. We can travel anywhere I just want my daughter back. Please send me any information on your program thanks.

Mr. Kruger, thank you for reaching out to us. You are doing the right thing. We want to help in anyway possible, and want to help find the right treatment for your daughter. We have multiple options available. Please give us a call and we can discuss these options further. Thank you again.

need a list of bootcamp rehabs for mu daughters boyfriend

We have a number of available resources and facilities across the country. Our treatment specialists would be more than happy to discuss further details over the phone, please give us a call. Thank you for reaching out.

I have a close friend whose son is heroin addicted. He started out in college on Vicodin, progressed to heroin. Has been to several rehabs and physicians. He’s on Sabaxon now and is a total zombie. Can’t even drive without wrecking the car. Any boot camps near Dallas, Tx?

Thank you for reaching out to RehabCenter.net! We have treatment options and resources available across the country, including in Texas! We want to help your friend’s son in any way we possibly can. Please have your friend give us a call as soon as they can and we can discuss the details and treatment options further!

I need help and would like a boot camp style rehab for myself.. can you tell me where to go?

Absolutely! Thank you for reaching out! There are a vast number of options available out there and the best way to for us to get you to the rehab that best suits your needs would be to discuss details over the phone. Please give us a call as soon as possible and we can help you get to where you need to go! Thank you again!

Please contact me with info on Boot Camp Recovery for my son who is 34 years old.

Absolutely. The number you will want to call is (877)683-2152. They will be able to get you more information and help you with any further questions you may have. Thank you for reaching out.

I am looking for a military/boot camp style rehab center for my nephew. Can someone please call me/email me to discuss options?

Thank you for reaching out. One of our Treatment Specialist will be contacting you shortly.

I am wondering about the less food at a boot camp. My daughter who is an addict will pass out if she doesn’t get enough calories. It happened while she was in jail. Her blood sugar and blood pressure dropped. We are just getting her healthily from jail and she just relapsed.

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