What To Know About Traveling To Greece For Rehab

Greece, located in Southeast Europe, has a long and rich history filled with ideas that still influence the world today. Because the Mediterranean peninsula developed democracy, western art and theatre, and major scientific principles, it is considered by many historians to be the “cradle of western civilization.” Roughly 80% of Greece’s landscape is covered with mountains. These mountains and the country’s almost 9,000 miles of coastline provide breathtaking views of the sapphire-blue Mediterranean Sea. There are 227 inhabited islands off the coast of the mainland. For those struggling with a substance use disorder (SUD), Greece’s scenic environment and history of academia may make it an ideal location for destination rehab. Those traveling to Greece for rehab should consider their insurance options, ensure that their passport is up to date, and become aware of the country’s laws.

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What Is Destination Rehab? 

Destination rehab is a form of medical tourism in which a person travels to another country to receive medical care. Those seeking medical care in another country may do so based on cost, culture, or a specific offered procedure. When seeking treatment for a SUD, traveling to another country fully removes patients from their usual environment. This allows for a complete focus on recovery by limiting bad influences and external triggers (like negative people and places) that might cause a relapse. For those who want discretion, like celebrities, going abroad for treatment can offer that desired privacy.

Patients considering traveling to other countries for drug and alcohol rehabilitation open the door to treatment approaches that might not be available locally. Countries like Greece have different landscapes than the US, which may make adventure therapy more exciting for patients. Adventure therapy is a type of experiential therapy that uses activities to aid in the therapeutic process. The activities used in adventure therapy help patients cope with and overcome cognitive, behavioral, and social disorders. In this method, patients align outdoor activities like hiking or rock climbing with their treatment goals.

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Healthcare In Greece

The healthcare system in Greece is funded by the government and does not cover non-citizen visitors. Prior to traveling to Greece for treatment, patients should ensure that their medical insurance covers healthcare in other countries. The US Embassy And Consulate in Greece states that the US government does not cover medical expenses with Medicare or Medicaid for travelers to Greece. It is strongly recommended that those traveling to Greece purchase traveler’s health insurance if their current policy does not cover Greece. Traveler’s health insurance typically includes medical evacuation insurance, which may be necessary in the case of an emergency.

KETHEA is the largest rehabilitation and social reintegration network in Greece. This network offers treatment free of charge in both residential and non-residential facilities, prisons, and even provides street-work programs for the homeless population in recovery. The goal of KETHEA is to offer services to help vulnerable individuals recover from addiction and build new lives. Along with these non-profit services, Greece has many luxury rehab centers. Athena Passages, in Athens, Greece, focuses on developing honesty, discipline, and sober fun in the pursuit of long-term recovery. Patients stay in private suites and have the opportunity to explore the beautiful sights of Greece during treatment.

Preparing To Travel To Greece For Rehab

Preparations for traveling to Greece for treatment should begin with ensuring that the traveler has a passport. In order to get a US passport, the individual seeking treatment must be a US citizen by birth or by naturalization. The passport process involves filling out the application form that can be found on travel.state.gov. This form can be filled out online and printed or filled out by hand. The applicant needs to take the completed form to a passport acceptance facility, such as a post office, where an official will assist them. The application, processing, and mailing of a passport routinely takes about 18 weeks. If expedited, it could take 12 weeks. Those who have a passport already should make sure that it doesn’t need to be renewed.

Those traveling to Greece for rehab should have a pre-travel consultation with their primary physician. During this consultation, patients should discuss general healthy travel information and any health risks involved with their SUD. This is also an opportunity for patients to obtain copies of their medical records and prescriptions to bring with them to the destination facility. If patients need to travel with prescriptions, they should keep medications in their original packaging with their original prescription. It is also important to do research prior to traveling to determine if prescribed medications are legal in Greece.

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Other Important Greece Travel Information

Greece has very strict drug laws. Marijuana is illegal, and anyone found with even small amounts can face imprisonment. Mace and pepper spray are also illegal. If a US citizen is arrested in Greece, it is important that the US Embassy or consulate be notified. They can assist by providing a list of English speaking attorneys and contacting the citizen’s family.

Those seeking treatment in Greece should also be aware of their surroundings when traveling around the country. Like in most tourist destinations, pickpocketing and purse-snatching can occur, especially on public transportation. Those committing theft will often have 1 person cause a commotion to distract the traveler while another person steals their belongings. To avoid this, travelers should never leave bags unattended and avoid standing near the metro doors; this crime often occurs as the doors open.

Traveling to Greece for rehab is an opportunity to treat an SUD amongst the beauty of Greece. For more information on traveling to Greece for rehab, luxury rehab, or SUDs, contact a treatment provider today.

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Emily Murray

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  • Emily Murray is a Digital Content Writer at Addiction Center. She earned a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies with Behavioral/Social Sciences and Art concentrations along with a Journalism minor from the University of Central Florida. Dedicated to creativity and conciseness, Emily hopes her words can be of service to those affected by addiction.

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Reviewed by Certified Addiction Professional:

Theresa Parisi

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  • Theresa Parisi is a Certified Addiction Professional (CAP), Certified Behavioral Health Case Manager (CBHCM), and International Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ICADC) with over 12 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.

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