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What to Ask Before Choosing a Treatment Facility

When most people decide to commit to drug and alcohol treatment, especially if it is their first time, most do not really know what they are looking for. Sure, they know they need a place that treats addiction, but there is such wide variation in the quality of treatment from location to location that it behooves the individual to research each facility to ensure they choose one that truly suits their needs. There are a number of things one can look for when researching a facility to ensure they will get the quality of care they truly deserve – read on to learn some of the most common features of quality programs so you can search and choose a treatment center with confidence.

1. What do I want from treatment?

The first and most question to ask should be directed at yourself: what are you looking to get from your spell in treatment? Are you strictly looking to get your physically sober? Do you want to receive counseling for mental health issues? Will you need to address family issues or past trauma in therapy? Are there specific specialty treatment modalities that you require? Does your physical condition necessitate medical or logistical accommodations? A good place to start is to make a list of the things a treatment center must provide for you, as well as those aspects of a program that are unacceptable for you. This will allow you to filter programs by their offerings at-a-glance, limiting the further research you must do to centers that you know can accommodate your treatment needs.

2. What are the qualifications of the staff?

Depending on the locality of the facility, staff may be required to maintain certain certifications to be legally able to work in the program. For instance, in California, all employees must retain at least an RADT-I certification from CCAPP in order to serve in a rehabilitation program. This is just a minimum requirement, however; quality programs will also employ advanced counseling staff, including psychologists, psychiatrists and licensed marriage and family counselors to provide a higher level of one-on-one counseling than is possible with minimally-certified personnel. Standout programs will also employ medical staff such as licensed vocational nurses or medical assistants; some even maintain an M.D. or D.O. on-staff to serve patients directly.

3. How does the facility approach treatment?

One may think that all treatment facilities approach addiction in the same fashion, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. There are a broad variety of approaches to treatment that vary in efficacy depending on the individual and their particular situation. Many facilities still espouse the 12-Step model of treatment, which has been in use for decades; while its effectiveness has recently come into question, it still works well for many, especially those who thrive in a disciplined and accountable environment. Dual-diagnosis facilities may incorporate aspects of 12-Step treatment, but are generally focused on a more comprehensive approach to treatment, addressing underlying psychological issues including mental illness and prior trauma to treat the underlying causes of addiction. Still others believe in a holistic model of treatment, eschewing medications and focusing on natural remedies and experiential modalities such as equine therapy. All of these approaches can be effective, but it depends heavily on the individual’s personality and desires; carefully consider your willingness to adapt to each center’s particular philosophy before committing to one.

4. Do you meet the admission criteria for the facility?

Each facility will have different specifications you must meet before you are able to be admitted for treatment. If you are a chronic user of alcohol, opiates or benzodiazepines, many centers will not admit you until you have undergone a detox program to get physically sober, as they may not be equipped to deal with the medical complications that can arise during detoxification. Some facilities are gender-specific, so be sure the program is tailored to you before making any decisions. If you have physical disabilities or medical needs, some facilities cannot accommodate you – be sure to disclose any of these needs with your admissions advisor before arriving at treatment.

5. Does the facility accept my insurance? Can I afford this facility?

Inevitably, finances will be part of your conversation with any treatment facility. If you have insurance, be sure to share that information early in the admissions process so the facility can verify your benefits and confirm how much of your treatment will be covered. If you have a strong HMO or PPO policy, your treatment may be covered up to 100% by your insurer. If your insurance won’t cover everything or you are not insured, most treatment centers will work out a financial agreement with you depending on your needs and ability to pay. If a particular center ends up being too expensive for you, you may consider others with a similar philosophy that are not as well-appointed or one that does not offer specialty therapies, as these facilities tend to be more expensive.

6. How’s the food?

This may seem like a trivial question to ask, but if you have particular dietary needs, you will want to be sure the center can meet them before you arrive. If, for example, you maintain a vegan or kosher diet, some centers either cannot or will not accommodate your needs within their program; be sure to choose a location that fits with your requirements on that front, too. Remember: you’ll be at treatment for at least 30 days, so what you eat is an important consideration!

7. How will you get there?

Travel is a key piece of coordinating treatment, especially if you choose a facility that is not local to you. Be sure to work with your admissions advisor to get any information you need to coordinate your arrival. If you are flying to your treatment destination, be sure to have airport pickup arranged before you fly.

8. What kind of aftercare support does the program provide?

Treatment doesn’t end when you leave your residential treatment center. You will want to continue your care with outpatient counseling, peer support and, if you prefer, group meetings once you return to your usual life. Be sure to ask about coordination of aftercare with your admissions advisor – having an understanding of what support is available, whether it’s restricted to the center’s locality, and how your insurance may cover it will help you choose a facility that ensures you remain supported as you adjust to life after treatment.

There’s certainly a lot of factors to consider when choosing a treatment provider. Know that the most important factor at the end of the day is what you want to do – choosing a center that meets your desires and needs is vital to ensuring your commitment to treatment and ultimately will impact your long-term success and sobriety. If a program cannot illustrate their treatment philosophy clearly and succinctly, it’s probably not the right program for you. In the end, the best approach is to do your research and make the decision for yourself based on the information you’re able to collect. Taking the first step by committing to treatment is the most important piece of treatment – with commitment, all things are possible.

If you know detox will be part of your treatment regimen, or if you think you may need it, give Inland Detox a call at (888) 739-8296. We’ll help you determine whether you need detox and help you coordinate the care you need.