The addiction treatment industry is growing rapidly, giving individuals with substance use disorders a wide range of rehab options.
Unfortunately, some of these options include facilities that are focused more on generating a profit than providing quality care.
The best way to protect yourself is to thoroughly investigate a rehab’s reputation and services before making a commitment to receive treatment. These nine questions can help you evaluate a facility’s level of quality and approach to treatment to better decide if it may be a good fit for you or your loved one.
1. Does the rehab promise a cure for addiction?
Unfortunately, there is no magic cure for addiction. Someone with a substance use disorder has a chronic illness that will need ongoing care to be managed, much like how you’d implement a number of lifestyle changes to promote wellness in someone recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. This care needs to be personalized to fit specific individual needs and setbacks can occur despite the care team’s best efforts. Be wary of any facility that makes promises that are impossible to keep.
2. Is the facility licensed and accredited?
Licensing and accreditation means that a rehab facility must follow strict guidelines in terms of what treatments are offered, using evidence-based practices for drug and alcohol addiction care.
The most common accreditation for treatment centers is by the Joint Commission, formerly known as the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and sometimes referred to by the acronym JCAHO.
3. What is the facility’s philosophy?
Licensing and accreditation assures that key standards are met, but there are still many differences in the approaches facilities use to help clients. For example:
- Gender-specific rehab
- Programs oriented towards a specific religious faith
- Holistic treatment relying heavily on acupuncture, massage, and other forms of alternative medicine
Asking the facility about their overall treatment philosophy can help you better understand what to expect from this step in the recovery process.
4. Can they handle special needs?
No two people struggling with drug or alcohol addiction are exactly alike, which is why it’s hard to recommend a facility to provide treatment without knowing what the needs of the client entail.
If any of the following apply to your situation, you should specifically ask about a facility’s experience in treating clients with similar issues:
- Abusing multiple substances, such as alcohol and opioids
- A chronic health condition such as diabetes or arthritis causing chronic pain
- Mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression
- Past exposure to trauma, including sexual abuse
- Process addictions such as sex addiction or an eating disorder
- A history of past relapse after treatment
5. Does the program have a nutritional component?
Substance abuse can take a toll on one’s physical health, but eating a balanced diet can help repair some of that damage. Working with a nutritionist can address any specific deficiencies as well as offer suggestions for natural ways to cope with the symptoms of withdrawal, such as increasing fluid intake to prevent dehydration and eating lots of whole grains to get the fiber necessary to prevent constipation.
6. Does the program teach the skills necessary to support a sober life?
Being in recovery is about more than just not using drugs or alcohol. Someone in recovery needs to master the life skills many of us take for granted. This includes:
- Manage stress without addictive substances
- Regulate emotions, including anger and frustration
- Communicate appropriately with others
- Stick to a daily schedule
- Work towards specific goals, such as getting a job or going back to school
These skills can be developed through counseling as well as holistic treatments such as music, art, or equine therapy.
7. Do they offer family counseling?
Drug and alcohol addiction affects the entire family, so it’s wise to involve family members in the recovery process. Counseling can help rebuild trust, develop healthy communication patterns, and provide education on the nature of addiction.
8. Is there a continuum of care?
Leaving residential treatment shouldn’t mean the end of care. Someone with a substance use disorder needs extensive support, which might include intensive outpatient treatment, sober living, 12-Step programs, or participating in specific faculty alumni events. Ask about how a continuum of care plan will be developed.
9. How is payment handled?
Many facilities will work with a client’s insurance company to obtain approval for treatment. If the client does not have suitable health insurance, there may be self-pay discounts, financing options, or payment plans that can be used to make treatment more affordable.