If your loved one needs treatment for a substance use disorder, the prospect of finding a suitable rehab facility may seem a bit overwhelming.
However, knowing what questions to ask can help you evaluate your options with confidence.
1. What is the facility’s philosophy?
Different facilities take different approaches to treatment, such as using gender-specific rehab or programs geared towards people of a specific religious faith. Holistic treatments such as yoga, meditation, and art or music therapy are becoming more common as well. Asking the treatment center you are considering about their care philosophy can help you better understand what to expect before you commit to the program.
2. Does treatment teach the skills necessary to support a sober life?
Detox is just the first step in the recovery process. Once drugs or alcohol are out of a person’s system, he or she needs to learn how to build the foundation for a sober lifestyle. Treatment should work on:
- Healthy communication
- Building strong relationships
- Stress management
- Regulating emotions such as anger and frustration
- Creating a daily routine that promotes healthy sleep, nutrition, and exercise habits
- Reaching specific goals, such as going back to school or getting a job
3. Are they equipped to handle client with special needs?
Addiction doesn’t discriminate, which means people of all backgrounds can suffer from a substance use disorder. Some treatment centers specialize in specific types of care, so you should ask about any of the following that may apply to your situation:
- Addiction to multiple substances
- Chronic pain
- Anxiety, depression, or other mental health disorders
- A history of trauma or abuse, including domestic violence
- Eating disorders or other process addictions
- Past relapse after treatment
4. Do they use both individual and group therapy?
Group therapy shows patients that they aren’t alone in their struggles and lets them learn from the experiences of others in recovery, but having time to address issues one-on-one is also important. A mix of both group and individual sessions is ideal, especially if your loved one is more introverted and finds it harder to open up in a group environment.
5. Do they provide family counseling?
Addiction doesn’t just affect the person who is abusing drugs or alcohol. Parents, spouses, children, and other loved ones also suffer. Family counseling helps heal these fractured relationships and provides guidelines for how to move forward after treatment.
Family programs can also offer education into the nature of addiction, tips for setting boundaries with a loved one who has a substance use disorder, and explain what to do when you see relapse warning signs.
6. Is there a continuum of care?
The phrase “continuum of care” is used to refer to the idea that people with substance use disorders need ongoing support. After residential treatment, this might mean an intensive outpatient program, sober living, 12-Step support groups, or participation in facility alumni events. The continuum of care plan should be developed to fit each client’s individual needs.
7. Will they work with you to make treatment affordable?
In most cases, drug and alcohol treatment centers will work with your insurance company to obtain approval for treatment. If you are uninsured or underinsured, they may be able to offer financing options, self-pay discounts, or payment plans to make treatment more affordable.
8. Are they fully licensed and accredited?
Licensing and accreditation means that a treatment center uses evidence-based practices and employs trained and experienced staff. The most common accreditation for drug and alcohol treatment centers is by the Joint Commission, formerly known as the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and referred to by the acronym JCAHO.
Facilities without licensing or accreditation may be placing your loved one at risk by not providing proper monitoring during detox or using treatments that do little to build the skills necessary for long term sobriety.
9. Is the facility making promises that are impossible to keep?
Everyone wants a quick fix, but there is no magic cure for addiction. A substance use disorder is a chronic illness that will need ongoing care to prevent relapse. Treatment needs to be personalized to fit each person’s unique needs—considering pre-existing medical conditions, co-occurring mental health disorders, and the effectiveness of any past recovery efforts.
Any facility that promises your loved one will be “cured” in just a few weeks or that their program is “guaranteed” to work should give you pause. These types of promises are unrealistic.