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December 9, 2015

12 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Treatment Center

When faced with addiction, the treatment facility you choose may be one of the most important decisions you make. However, with so many options available today, it can be a very confusing process. Not all rehabilitation centers are created equal; choosing the one that best fits your loved one’s needs is essential for success.

As you start your search, keep in mind some of the most important factors to consider: the type of addiction, how long the person has been addicted and the individual’s general health and life commitments (their job, whether or not they have children, etc.).

To help you navigate the process, here are important questions to ask when choosing an addiction treatment rehab center:

Is your facility licensed and accredited?

Licensed and accredited recovery centers abide by strict requirements and offer the best quality treatment. The most common and highly respected accreditation for treatment centers is by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Health Care Organization.

What should we expect?

Ask the center about the general schedule of the program. Most start with a psychological and physical evaluation. Inquire about the stages of treatment and how the center addresses each one of them.

How do you handle detox?

For severe and long-term drug and alcohol addictions, the first phase of treatment involves detox. During detox, the patient slowly weans off the substance. Detox involves withdrawal symptoms that can be severe and life-threatening, so appropriate medical supervision is critical. Ask if the facility provides 24-hour medical staffing on site. Also, inquire about the qualifications of the medical director. Psychiatrists with extensive experience in addiction are able to provide high-quality care in a detox environment.

Do you address dual diagnosis?

This is one of the most important questions you can ask a recovery center. Research shows more than half of people with addictions also suffer from mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety or personality disorders. Centers that treat dual diagnoses address both the mental health disorder and the addiction, giving patients the best possible chance of complete recovery.

What is your philosophy?

Recovery centers vary in their approaches to treating addiction. Holistic programs use a whole-body approach and incorporate natural and alternative remedies such as acupuncture, massage, fitness and nutrition. Religious programs involve various spiritual philosophies. Gender-specific programs focus on men or women only. Think about whether or not one of these specialized programs may be a good fit.

How long is the program?

Most inpatient centers offer a 28- or 35-day program, while some also offer 60-day and 90-day extended care programs, depending on a person’s addiction and specific needs. Research shows that the longer an individual remains in supportive care, the better their chances of achieving long-term recovery. Programs with the best track records usually last longer than 30 days.

Do you offer inpatient care, outpatient care, or both?

With inpatient programs, patients stay at the facility 24 hours a day and go through counseling sessions, group therapy, life skills instruction and complementary activities. With outpatient programs, they attend the facility during the day and go home at night. Outpatient programs vary—some intensive outpatient programs are six to eight hours per day five days per week, and others only last for three weeks—five hours per day, three days per week. They often involve many of the same practices as inpatient programs, including support groups, individual therapy, and workshops. Most require weekly drug or alcohol tests. Keep in mind that for people with multiple addictions, dual diagnosis or history of relapse following outpatient treatment, inpatient programs are best.

What is the atmosphere of the center?

Some recovery centers have a clinical feel and others offer a tranquil retreat-like setting. Depending on the addict’s individual needs and personality, the setting of a recovery center can be as important as the treatment itself, so you’ll want to choose carefully.

How do you cater treatment to the individual patient?

The best inpatient recovery programs cater to individual patients, addressing their unique physical and psychological needs and adjusting treatment throughout the process as necessary. Good programs also address not only alcohol or drug abuse, but also the emotional pain and the everyday toll addiction takes on addicts and their families.

Do you use a 12-step program?

The 12 steps are “a set of principles, spiritual in nature, when practiced as a way of life, which can expel the obsession to drink or do drugs and enable the sufferer to become happily and usefully whole.” Many treatment centers use a 12-step program, formally or informally, to help guide patients to sobriety.

Do you offer extended care?

Some recovery centers offer aftercare programs to prevent relapse and to help recovering addicts adjust to life free from dependence. These programs come in many forms, from ongoing support groups to extended care treatment facilities where patients live.

What are my payment options?

Some insurance policies cover some or all of an addiction recovery program. In cases where insurance doesn’t pay, many treatment centers offer a range of financing options and payment plans.

If you think you or someone you may know has a drinking problem that needs professional treatment, take our “Could I be an Alcoholic?” questionnaire, today.

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