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Funding Treatment (Without Insurance)


I’m almost certain I have ADD, but I don’t have insurance and I can’t afford going to the doctor for help. This is straining my relationship with my family and my boyfriend. I honestly think that I need help. What should I do?


p> I have been taking Zoloft for over six months and all is good with it. Unfortunately, I was laid off recently and because of that, I no longer have my health insurance. Hence, no money to pay for full price medication. I’ve been off the meds for about a month, feel OK but wondering what I should do about this situation? Continue to hope that I’ll do OK (which, in the past has not went too well) or sell my body to pay for the meds (which does not appeal to me at all)!Help

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  • Dr. Dombeck responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
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There is a real crisis happening in America these days with regard to people having access to health care they can afford. The problem is that much worse in the mental health area, as mental health has historically been regarded as the bastard of the medical profession. Those who have insurance are, in general, not as well covered for mental health problems as they are for physical ones. People without insurance (particularly those with low income) used to be able to reply somewhat on publicly funded community mental health centers. These centers are still around, and still serving the most needy, but there is less money than every before…

All of the above being true, I’d say that it is not a good idea to not seek treatment solely because you can’t easily pay for it out of pocket. If you have ADD and medications might help you to better concentrate, you may be putting your employment or social functioning at unnecessary risk to not seek that treatment. Think about it like this. If you had a painful throbbing toothache, but didn’t have insurance, wouldn’t you be motivated to go to a dentist anyway? You’d find a way to fund it so that at least minimally you could get the pain you’re experiencing adequately addressed. You have to decide whether your ADD is ‘painful’ or motivating enough to you to put you into action mode. You can probably scrounge the the several hundred or so dollars it will cost to see a psychiatrist and get a prescription filled if you want to enough.


p> You can’t safely bypass the step of getting diagnosed, or the step of regular (but hopefully well spaced) visits to the doctor for checkups, but you may be able to find some assistance with purchasing medications. There are several programs out there which help people see if they qualify for drug discounts. Visit Mental Help Net’s Medication Services link page for more information.

More "Ask Dr. Dombeck" View Columnists

  • Clark

    I have been using Adderall (actually, a generic version, which is MUCH more affordable) for about 18 months. My ADHD symptoms are very severe so I require about 400mg in a days time. This runs me $220 every month. Because our Gov't insists on placing Adderall on a higher schedule, I must get a new prescription EVERY MONTH. This is another $75. So, in order for me to take Amphetamine Salts, I must fork out $300 a month!!! That's a car or rent payment in itself. I reacently started attending a clinic for the poor where my Dr visits are $25. OK, so now my monthly output is $245, IF I can get the Dr to prescribe it for me. I had to stop taking Adderall two months ago for lack of money. Life is hell now. Non of this includes the anti-depressents I have been trying in an attempt to regulate the chronic depression I also suffer from, and have been since I was 7 yrs old. I've heard many claims that ADD/ADHD is not neurological. Explain to me how I can take 60mg of mixed Amphetamine Salts and go to sleep or how it stimulates my formerly sluggish appetite or how I've gained weight (something I had problems with for my whole life, a living bean pole) since I started taking it. Everyone else gets hyper on stimulants. I get calm on them. Obviously there is something different in my physiology than the average person. Many unanswered questions remain and I am still searching for that balance that is so necessary to a healthy life. Wish me luck!

  • tim


  • Anonymous-1

    its sad that the answer to someone not being able to afford healthcare is .. find a way to scrounge the money. with bills, groceries and gas.. most people cant throw around an extra 20 dollars let alone a couple hundred.

    Editor's Note: It is indeed sad.

  • LL

    This is terrible advice on mental healthcare "to find a way to scrounge the money".

  • coco

    I agree, terrible advise that could possibly put an already at risk person in harms way. Desparate people will ,if left without sound advise take desparate messures to get help for themselves. Some drug companies will give medications to people who cannot afford them, so contacting a drug company might be more sound advice as opposed to "scrounging."

  • Anonymous-2

    If you don't have a good answer to the question why are you offering advice? scrounge the money? wow thats going to take loads off of someones mind. ill make sure to remember Dombecks name even if im ever having a "pychotic break"

  • Anonymous-3

    This is a terrible article. Mark Dombeck is clearly out of touch with the general public. Don't you think if people could scrape together the money for medical expenses, they would? This is what the health care industry really need to get through their heads. PEOPLE DO NOT HAVE THE MONEY!!! If it was simply a matter of scraping together the money, many people would be doing it. So many people I know are living paycheck to paycheck as it is, and worse, there just isn't the work out there to get a second job for those so inclined. Oi...

    Dr. Dombeck's Note: Agreed that there are many (far too many) people out there who are so in survival mode that any thought of setting aside money for purpose of mental health treatment is more or less impossible. But there are also people out there who think they have no ability to set aside money to take care of themselves but actually do if only they would rethink their priorities. The article should be read as addressed to that latter group, more than to the former group.

    At this moment in time, the USA is simply not set up to provide adequate healthcare services to the former group of people who are literally scraping by. This is why we so very much need universal healthcare here, or in the absence of that meaningful healthcare reforms intended to bring the cost of accessing healthcare (including mental health care) within their reach.

  • marilee

    I make $214 a week on unemployment and have already had to borrow money from friends and family just to make rent and eat.

    Where exactly, sir, do you expect me to "scrounge up a few hundred dollars" when I make LESS than what my rent costs a month? Shall I pull it out of thin air? Maybe I should become a prostitute.

    This was mighty unhelpful advice. You don't even have suggestions of suicide hotlines or other services that are online that she should be looking into. Your only answer is "come up with the money" -- when she asked you how to get help when she HAS NO MONEY.

    Terrible, terrible.

  • Michael OReilly

    I guess I have to keep this short. In Az. They just cut financial assistance for anyone taking "Seroquel" a very expensive drug. My late Wife was mentally ill and I know the Nightmare the Patient and the Family go through when Meds are cut back or not available. As soon as I read this I got the Company I am with to find a solution for the ever increasing number of uninsured or underinsured people who earn a little to much for Medicaid but not enough to afford some Medications. My Company has set up a system for these and other people. A short online form needs to be completed, you click the submitt button and if you are excepted into the Program ANY Medication you need, that is available, will cost you no more then $20.00. We do this by doing all the paperwork for you and finding the righ Pharma. Company who will give us the Drug.

    I am trying very hard to spread the word about this Program so any help would be great. If you want details like financial limits, which most people meet, and more PLEASE, ANYONE, Email me at or call me at 480-206-6590. If I do not answer please leave a message and I promise to get back to you.

    Hope this helps.

    Michael OReilly

    Dr. Dombeck's Note: Hopefully Mr. OReilly's service is legitimate, but we have no way of knowing. Please proceed cautiously if you contact him (or other people you do not know promising things that may be too good to be true). There are (or were at one point) several programs set up to provide discounted pharmaceutical assistance which you may also want to contact.

  • eric

    I'm 22 live alone have ruin 2 of my families marragies because most people can't stand to be around me for long periods of times my family has basicly made me go away and I haven't paid rent in a year my bills idk how they or paid or who is paying them I need help and I know know one cares at all but there has to he assistance for me somehow somewhere if there true is not any help maybe I'm better dead than shirt and annoying and bothering everyone I come in contact with. Email me if you know what I should do


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