California drug rehab is big business—the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration recognizes well over 1,000 rehab centers in California. If you’re among the millions of Californians needing detox treatment, that number may sound more overwhelming than encouraging. With so many options available, how will you ever find the right place for you?
It helps to know yourself. It also helps to know what indicates a good detox center in general. (California rehab is largely unregulated, which is partly responsible for the enormous number of options and also means just about anyone can set up a “treatment center”—with or without much understanding of addiction and effective detox.) Here are our top tips for finding your ideal detox center:
1. Get referrals from professionals.
Your own doctor is usually the best bet—he or she already knows your health history and personality, important points of consideration when choosing your best treatment option. If you don’t have a regular doctor of your own, ask friends or family members to recommend medical professionals they’ve used for several years and who have proved understanding and empathetic. Try not to pick a doctor completely at random—some do take “kickbacks” for recommending specific treatment centers without concern for the patient’s individual needs.
Ask your health insurance company about detox center recommendations as well—you’ll need to consider which centers are covered under your plan’s network in any case. And if you can connect with a religious community, social-work organization or nonprofit that has a good record of helping people with addiction, these are excellent sources of contact information for detox treatment centers.
2. Get referrals from others who have detoxed successfully.
Also contact the local chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous or other sobriety support group—they’re sure to be familiar with local drug rehab centers and their track records. Consider attending a large-group support-network meeting (don’t worry: they won’t pressure you to join on the spot) and asking established members what detox centers they used. Sometimes “small talk” provides better information than any formal interview.
Formal or informal, here are some important questions to bring up when discussing possible rehab centers in California or anywhere else:
- How many of the center’s staff have formal medical and counseling credentials?
- Has this center been in business for at least a year? Does it have a good reputation in its own neighborhood? Have there been any formal complaints filed against it?
- How does the center deal with medical emergencies?
- Do former patients have a good record of staying “clean”? Have there been many repeat patients, or patients who stayed longer than four months at a time? (Three months is the standard recommendation. A high percentage of patients staying much longer could indicate the center is encouraging additional “treatment” simply to maximize profits.)
- Does the center (or a closely affiliated hospital) provide up to 90 days of post-withdrawal inpatient care? (Too short a treatment period is as bad as too long. Successful detox means more than losing the immediate physical cravings; it entails a long-term period of removal from temptation, plus therapy and counseling to ensure the detoxee is prepared to stay sober in the “real world.”)
- What do former patients—and employees—actually say about the center?
3. Consider how the recommended options compare with your personal philosophy, comfort zone and manner of relating to others.
Although a certain amount of stepping outside your comfort zone is always necessary in detox (or breaking any other toxic-but-ingrained habit), you don’t want to add to your stress levels and set up additional resistance to sobriety by landing at a treatment center that is all wrong for your personality. No matter how good a center is by objective standards, it may not suit your needs as a unique individual. So however enthusiastic your information source, think twice about considering any detox center if the description of their religious philosophy, counseling approach, physical location or clientele raises an uneasy feeling in your gut.
Besides discussing options with people who are familiar with various treatment centers, scan the centers’ websites and article posts to get a feel for what they focus on. (Most established health centers are eager to share useful information on their specialties and philosophies with the general public.)
4. Always try to visit prospective detox centers in person before committing to one.
Website reviews and telephone interviews are fine as far as they go, but the only way to get a really solid idea of a place is to see it in all its dimensions. (One good reason to look primarily at southern California rehab centers if you’re a southern California resident: the closer to home you stay, the easier it is to arrange advance visits.) After the initial review of recommended centers, their websites and any press they’ve gotten, call each one you’re seriously considering and request a tour of the facilities—including a chance to meet the counselors and medical providers who’d be working with you.
When you visit the center, ask lots of questions and make lots of observations. Your final choice should pass on all the following points:
- It is clean and well kept up.
- It provides comfortable bedrooms with low light, quiet and privacy.
- It has quick access to medical treatment in case of emergency, after as well as during acute withdrawal.
- It has an emergency plan in case of wildfire, earthquake or any other emergency that may require evacuation.
- Its long-term-care facilities include active communal areas, indoors and out.
- It provides a healthy menu, including options for special-diet needs, easy 24/7 access to drinking water, and an understanding of healthy weight-gain principles for those with addiction-related malnutrition.
- Staff members are understanding and empathetic, take time to listen carefully to you, take your questions and doubts seriously and treat you with respect. (Having an addiction doesn’t make anyone any more stupid or morally deficient than the average person. Run the other way if anyone implies you have little future beyond becoming minimally functional in society.)
- You have an overall good feeling about the place. (Expect to be nervous about the whole detox idea, but do listen to your deep gut. Again, a center can have an excellent reputation and still be all wrong for you.)
If all this sounds like a lot of trouble, remember that continuing in addiction will mean far worse trouble. So will going to the wrong detox center or detoxing by the wrong method. As the saying goes, if you don’t have time to do it right, when will you find time to do it over?
Inland Detox, a star provider of southern California drug rehab, is located in the Temecula Valley. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, please call (888) 739-8296 to arrange a visit.