Important considerations and questions to ask when choosing an addiction treatment center.
No two people are the same and no two addictions are the same. Therefore when it comes to rehab there should be no one size fits all solution to treatment. As a result different treatments and facilities will work better for some than others.
It is therefore incredibly important to assess your own particular situation, preferences and needs before narrowing down your selection.
Thankfully when it comes to rehab programs there are a wide range of options available to you. With an estimated 23.5 million people aged 12 and older suffering from a substance use disorder the treatment of addiction is a huge industry and there are many treatment options and paths to recovery from which to choose.
With this in mind this guide has been compiled to help you with the task of finding a quality rehab for you or your loved one.
Please note: Whilst you will want to get into the best treatment program for your needs sometimes done is better than perfect! With over 59,000 people dying from drug overdoses and 88,000 deaths attributed to alcohol misuse each year in the USA it’s important to just get started somewhere.
Step 1: Define Your Rehab Requirements
As a first step it is important to sit down and honestly assess your starting point to best determine your needs. It is best to involve those closest to you in this process as all decisions will likely impact them and it is important to also have their 100% support and commitment.
1. How severe is your addiction?
Severity of addiction will dictate many factors in your selection of a rehab program. For instance, if your addiction is critical then you will need to commit to a longer term inpatient facility. The detox process may be very tough so you will need 24 hour medical supervision on hand.
2. Do you have a strong support network?
If you have family and friends with whom you are very close then it is important that they too are involved in the recovery process via family therapy sessions. On the other hand if you have many negative influences around you then perhaps a rehab facility in another State will provide the psychological space and privacy required. If you have no support system upon which you can rely then your recovery plan will need to address this and provide for a strong aftercare support.
3. Do you have Insurance or access to finance to cover the cost of rehab?
This is perhaps the most important factor that will impact your selection of rehab program. Unfortunately rehab isn’t cheap but the alternative is much worse. It is no different to having a life threatening illness that requires immediate treatment. If you don’t have insurance you may need to approach your family and friends for help or find a facility that will provide financial support or a payment plan. Click here to find out what exactly your insurance will cover.
4. Do you have a family or other responsibilities which may impact your choice of treatment program?
Perhaps you are a business owner or in an important role from which you cannot be away from for an extended period of time. Or you may be the sole carer for your family.
5. Do you have any underlying mental health issues or co-occurring disorders which will need to be addressed during treatment?
If so it will be important to select facilities with the capabilities to treat both your addiction and underlying disorders.
At this stage you should be in a position to broadly define your treatment requirements;
Step 2: Refine Your Rehab Search
Once you have determined your needs you can begin to search for a rehab that fulfils these requirements.
With over 14,000 specialized addiction treatment facilities in the USA if location is not an issue then your options increase significantly. So based on your defined requirements how important is it to find a facility within a close radius of your city or within your state? Or are you free and willing to travel further afield to find a rehab which ticks all the boxes for you? Perhaps you want to put some distance between yourself and any negative influences or environments.
2. Inpatient or Outpatient?
Depending upon your financial situation an outpatient treatment program might be your only option in the short to medium term. And whilst they do have their benefits and place in the recovery process, as a first step in recovery outpatient treatment programs have a much lower success rate than longer term inpatient programs. With a lack of 24 hour care and easy access to substances there is a much higher risk of relapse. Generally outpatient programs are better served as an aftercare support system or a relapse prevention mechanism.
Inpatient treatment programs provide a much greater chance of sustained recovery. However length of stay is key – and it is generally accepted that a minimum 90 day stay is required to properly immerse oneself in the detox and recovery process. It takes this time to overcome dependence, to explore any underlying causes of dependency and to develop the life skills to continue with a successful recovery once the rehab process ends.
A comprehensive aftercare program is also vital.
3. Personal preferences
Depending on how far you are willing to travel you may also wish to add some of the following criteria to your search for a rehab program, if they are important to you;
4. Christian or faith based rehab
If your faith is incredibly important to you then attending a facility that emphasizes recovery through strengthened faith may provide you with a greater advantage in beating addiction. Also being surrounded by like-minded individuals will make your time in rehab easier.
5. Holistic based rehab
Holistic rehab focuses on treating the person as a whole focusing on the connection between the mind, body and spirit. Holistic rehabs will typically be opposed to using any medications to support the detox process instead focusing on an organic all natural approach through nourishment, fitness, meditation and acupuncture. Psychotherapy at a holistic center might include the use of music or dance or animals.
6. Luxury or executive level rehabs
A luxury rehab facility will provide privacy and 5 star accommodation if cost isn’t a factor. If you are accustomed to a certain standard of living then it is important that you find a rehab center which meets these standards.
7. Male or female only
Some people may have a preference for attending a male or female only facility, especially if conflict with the opposite sex has been an issue and perhaps a contributing factor in their addiction.
8. Rehab with pets
Facilities which allow you to bring your pets along are becoming more and more popular. Our pets are a very important part of our life. They are a constant, non-judgmental companion. If feasible, bringing your pet to rehab can provide comfort and help ensure your time there is a little easier.
Step 3: Finding Rehab Programs Near You
1. Ask your physician for a recommendation or referral
2. Family & friends
Talk with family members, friends or colleagues who themselves may have experience with addiction and may be able to point you in the right direction.
3. Search Online
At this stage you will have a fairly certain idea of your criteria so Google is a great place to research programs which fulfill these criteria. If location is an issue a search for ‘rehab centers near me’ will help you research and select between the best facilities in your area. Google search is also a great way to discreetly assess the reputation of each program before reaching out for more information.
Step 4: Narrowing Your Search
Once you have narrowed down your search to your preferred facilities then it’s time to reach out to each of them and ask some important questions.
If you feel comfortable with the facility you’ve chosen, you’re more likely to stick with the program and see it through to its end — increasing your chances of long-term health and sobriety.
1. How much does it cost?
Will your insurance cover the cost? Or do they offer financial support or payment options?
2. Do they provide a research based approach to addiction treatment?
A research based approach is one which has been observed over a significant number of cases to produce positive long term results and those results are considered reliable enough to depend on.
3. Are they fully accredited?
If they are fully accredited they have gone through a series of evaluations by an industry appointed accrediting body with a strong focus on standards of excellence in client care.
4. Do they offer flexible treatment plans?
Programs which are highly individualized and which address any underlying mental health or social issues are preferable. Daily psycho therapy sessions are optimal.
5. What are their success rates?
Be wary of rehab centers that do not track or provide their long-term success rates. Unfortunately some treatment centers make a business of repeat clients and are quite literally banking on your long term failure.
6. Do they follow a 12 step process?
12 step programs are typically free and widely available outside of inpatient rehab programs – so seek a program which offers more.
7. What level of medical support do they offer?
Is 24 hour care provided or is there a medical doctor available, if required, 24 hours a day.
8. How qualified are their staff?
Don’t be shy about asking about the skills and qualifications of the team that will be involved in your treatment. Are staff members fully medically trained? Do they have experience and qualified counsellors available?
9. Do they substitute one drug for another?
Many programs will offer methadone, buprenorphine or Suboxone as a substitute to heroin or prescription painkillers. .Also many rehab programs may rely on benzodiazepine class drugs such as Valium or Xanax to assist those going through detox and recovery. Whilst these drugs may be absolutely necessary for a small number of addicts experiencing acute withdrawal symptoms in most cases all that they are doing is replacing one drug with another (potentially addictive) drug.
If your goal is complete sobriety, then a program that employs substitute drugs in their treatment will fall short of your goal. And there are many treatment programs available which utilise natural health including diet, fitness and natural therapies as a method to deal with withdrawal, detox, and recovery.
10. Quality of facilities?
Are the standard of living and meal plans within your expectations according to what you are accustomed to? Will you be required to share a room? Is there a nutritional and healthy living component to recovery? What extracurricular activities are available?
11. Is family therapy catered for and encouraged?
How the family is involved in rehab will vary from treatment center to treatment center. Family members are often those who are most deeply affected by their loved one’s addiction and they are an important component of the recovery process for that person.
Also addiction can be a sign of underlying issues within a family. Returning to the same family system after rehab without these issues having been addressed dramatically increases the odds of a relapse.
12. What is the level of restriction and access whilst in treatment?
Will you have access to telephone and the internet? Will you be allowed visits from loved ones? Will you be expected to participate in chores? Some facilities may be overly regiment and restrictive in their approach. Make sure you are comfortable with any restrictions in place.
13. What level of aftercare support do they provide?
Whilst recovery is never easy it is always a little simpler when you don’t have to deal with the trials and tribulations of everyday life. Whilst in rehab you will learn many tactics and skills which will make you stronger in your everyday life and ensure longer term success towards sobriety. But challenges will present themselves. And you will need a support mechanism in place. Does the rehab center allow for you to return for short term or weekend stays when necessary? What outpatient supports have then in place?
14. What does your gut say?
Is there anything that unsettles you about their attitude or approach to rehab? Ask your family and friends about what they think if you are uncertain or your own judgement. Do they promise quick fixes or focus on short term results? There are many facilities that rely on the failure of their patients. They promise results in 30 days and are happy to see patients coming back for 30 day stints at every relapse. This is not recovery.
A rehab center should provide a warm, caring environment with professionals who genuinely care about your recovery.
15. Is there a place available or is there a wait list?
Many of the top treatment facilities will sometimes have a wait list. It is important to be able to get into treatment right away – whilst the wish to do so is there. Addiction is deadly and a wait of a few weeks could be critical.
Finally please remember that whilst rehab can be emotionally and physically tough, waking up every day in a safe, comfortable room and in a supportive environment will most likely feel like a relief. Especially when compared to the everyday struggles of an addict.