7 Rehab Niches You’ve Never Even Heard Of

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Addiction treatment is becoming a very crowded place to try to do business.

Although the number of people needing treatment is rising, the percentage of people who actually make it into treatment still hovers somewhere between 10% and 12% in the United States, depending on the year.

Nevertheless, we have 14,000 treatment centers in America and counting.

New centers mean more competition. As smaller centers are bought up or crowded out by corporate conglomerates, it’s more important to specialize than ever before. It goes without saying that finding a viable addiction treatment niche is a vitally important first step for those interested in entering this arena.

Finding your Addiction Treatment Niche

Marketing your services to everyone means that you are marketing them to no one.

Niching down into a too-broad niche is also a mistake. Some so-called “niches”—like addiction treatment for families or rehab for men—are so common that they aren’t really workable anymore, either. These arenas are too crowded for a startup to be able to stand out against the competition.

You’ve heard of Christian rehabs, treatment centers for women, and executive treatment centers for the uber rich, but have you looked into lesser known niches, like rehab for Pagans or centers for elderly patients only?

Today, we’ll look at 7 addiction treatment niches you’ve never heard of. Some of them are wide open for development and some of them have a few players already enjoying their “big fish, small pond” status—either way, they are worth your attention if you’re looking for the perfect niche to explore.  

Niche #1: Rehab for Nurses and Other Medical Professionals

This niche is pretty well-developed, as medical professionals face rates of addiction well above the rest of the population. Over 100,000 medical professionals are abusing prescription drugs in any given year. The elevated rate of addiction among doctors and nurses is largely due to the high-stress nature of their jobs, the long hours they’re are required to work, and the easy access they have to prescription drugs.

Medical professionals enjoy a higher degree of awareness about how to medically address their problem than folks in other professions, so programs designed for them need to be ready to talk to patients as equals in terms of clinical details.

Medical professionals are generally anxious about losing their credentials as a result of their disease, so programs where they are only treated with other medical professionals ensure the degree of comfort and privacy that they seek.

Niche #2: Rehab for couples

Typically, if a couple is facing addiction, they have to be separated for the time that they are in rehab. This required break is actually a huge factor that stops many couples from seeking treatment. Although treating couples is tricky, some centers are taking the plunge and allowing couples’ rooms and suites in treatment, enticing people to take their better half with them to rehab and even offering couples counseling in addition to individual counseling.

Niche #3: Treatment for the LGBTQ Community

Like medical professionals, LGBTQ folks also face much higher rates of addiction than the general population. In addition to addiction, LGBTQ patients also frequently struggle with homophobia, rejection from family of origin, homelessness due to lack of supportive family and friends, and a history of estrangement from traditional supports like religious groups. Programs that focus on serving this population don’t rely on simple acceptance to lift these patients up. Instead, they celebrate the patient’s identity with an affirming environment. These centers boast a team of professionals with the cultural competence needed to best serve the LGBTQ community.

Niche #4: Recovery For Mature Adults

Addiction for older or elderly patients can be very complicated to treat. Because of the increase in health concerns as we age, this population is especially vulnerable to addictions around pain medications.

Frequently, other health problems take center stage while the patient’s addiction is allowed to progress unchecked for fear of making the patient “uncomfortable.” Rehabs that specialize in this niche need to be knowledgeable about how to treat addiction as well as manage chronic pain. Depending on their condition, these patients sometimes need assistance with daily tasks.

Clinics that focus on serving this niche usually have extensive medical staff with a good understanding of the needs of older adults. Recovery centers for mature adults need to nurture strong relationships with referring physicians and assisted living centers in their area to best connect with patients who might need their help.

Niche #5: Rehab for Wiccans

Although there is no formal center for this niche—yet!—there is a growing awareness of addiction and recovery within the Wiccan or Pagan Community. Many festivals around the country have set up sober camping areas and hold community meetings based on the 12 steps specifically for Pagans. The Spiral Steps, a 13 step program for Pagans modeled off of the 12 steps, is popular with this niche. One woman even wrote her dissertation on research she did for the Pagans In Recovery Experience Project.

Although this is a small population, nature-based spirituality may be of interest to organized religion-rejecting Millennials, who tend to shy away from traditional 12 step programs because of their historic association with Christianity.

Niche #6: Addiction Treatment For Athletes

Rehabs that focus on athletes embrace the importance of physical activity in recovery. Athletes are under a lot of pressure to perform whether they are pros, college students on scholarship, or high school students competing for a spot in university. The stress leads some to turn to drugs or alcohol, jeopardizing their sports careers in the process. Others rely on performance enhancing drugs to get the edge on the competition, again endangering their standing in their chosen sport. Programs with a focus on nutrition and fitness with easy access to trainers and gym equipment can be a good fit for this population.

Niche #7: “Recovery” for Scientologists (NOT RECOMMENDED)

Although I would not recommend this niche to anyone, the sheer weirdness of it was enough for Narconon, the Church of Scientology’s take on addiction rehab, to make this list. In these programs, “patients” undergo strange treatments for addiction including long spells in saunas where they supposedly sweat out toxins stored in their fatty cells. They are also prescribed a cocktail of vitamins which has not been demonstrated to be effective in the treatment of addiction. Because of the lack of evidence-based treatment and the absence of medical professionals on-site, several deaths have unfortunately occurred at Narconon facilities.  Avoid this niche—the Church of Scientology (unfortunately) already has it covered.

Your Perfect Niche is Out There

As the addiction industry continues to evolve, we’ll see new niche opportunities continue to present themselves. Keeping an eye on current trends and identifying holes in the market is the only way to come up with new niches. If you are already in the field, listen to your patients and leads when they describe what they are looking for in a treatment center. The best ideas will come from interacting with people in need of recovery and looking for what's missing from their treatment experience.

It’s hard to be the best rehab on the planet, but it’s very easy to be the only rehab that, say, specializes in recovery for female veterans with children.

And without that laser focus, it’s easy to scatter your marketing efforts to the wind and never see any results.

Having a tight niche makes marketing your center a snap. When you are operating in a niche, you know exactly who your ideal patient is. That makes it easy to build a meaningful relationship with specialized content that appears in places that they hang out in—online or off.

When you find that perfect niche, you'll know it because patients will be magically drawn to your services.


Because it was designed just for them.

Erin Gilday