Once you’ve made the decision to seek treatment for a problem with alcohol or drugs, you’ll need to choose a rehab program that will meet your needs and circumstances. There are lots of different treatment options, but how do you find the best alcohol or drug rehab center for you? Here are some key things to consider.

Get an assessment by a physician or other substance use disorder professional

Typically, a doctor or therapist trained in treating addiction will recommend inpatient treatment when the patient is unable to stabilize in his or her recovery and can’t perform the activities of daily living, such as going to work and fulfilling family obligations, says Anita Gadhia-Smith, a psychotherapist who practices in the District of Columbia and suburban Maryland. Some patients may need in-patient treatment for help managing difficult withdrawal symptoms, she says. “Also, if the person has already tried 12-step meetings, individual therapy and intensive outpatient treatment and has been unable to get sober, in-patient treatment is needed,” Gadhia-Smith says. Generally, if a therapist or doctor determines in-patient treatment is the best course, he or she will recommend a 30-day stay that could be extended if necessary. If a patient has previously been to a 30-day treatment program, he or she may need a longer stay, Gadhia-Smith says. If someone has been drinking or using drugs to the extent that loved ones conducted an intervention, they should go directly to a 90-day in-patient program, says Howard Samuels, owner and chief executive officer of The Hills Treatment Center, an alcohol and drug treatment facility in Los Angeles.

Research whether the facilities you’re considering provide the resources you need

Many people with a substance use disorder have other clinical conditions, such as depression or anxiety, Kane-Davidson says. Check the website of any rehab center you’re considering to see if they have resources, such as counselors, to deal specifically with a dual-diagnosis, she says. Call the facility and ask them about each of the resources listed on the website; some facilities list services they don’t have, she says.

Check whether the treatment center uses medication

If you or your loved one is seeking treatment for opioid addiction and want the option of taking prescription medication to treat the drug dependency, check whether treatment centers you’re considering offer such medication, adds Michael P. Botticelli, executive director of the Grayken Center for Addiction Medicine at Boston Medical Center. Some treatment centers follow the abstinence model to treat opioid addiction, and others offer medication, he says. For example, prescription medications such as naltrexone and methadone have been useful in increasing retention in treatment programs for heroin addicts, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Be aware that some facilities offer detoxification services – helping people medically as their bloodstream becomes free of toxic substances, often shortly after the patient has been using drugs or drinking – and some don’t.

Look for a facility with longevity

Shy away from rehab centers that haven’t been in business for at least five years, advises Samuels. Some of these facilities may be fine, but others could be opportunistic, trying to take advantage of the high demand for such services. “Shady treatment centers aren’t in business for long; they end up failing because of unethical or unlawful business practices,” Samuels says. “Look for a track record of more than five years. The ones that have been open longer than that tend to remain open because they do good work.”

Don’t necessarily equate luxury with quality

Stays in rehab centers typically range from a few thousand dollars per month to more than tens of thousands of dollars for every 30 days. A 30-day stay at one luxury rehab in Malibu, California, for example, runs $64,500, according to drugabuse.com. In terms of cost, there are three tiers of rehab facilities, says Harry Nelson, chairman of the board of the American Addiction Treatment Association: There are high-end programs that typically cost $50,000 to $75,000 a month; a middle market in the $25,000 to $35,000 a month range; and most traditional inpatient programs, which range from a few thousand dollars to $20,000 monthly.

Ask these questions

  • What types of treatment therapies are offered?
  • Can the program offer medication?
  • Are staff members qualified to treat both mental health issues and addiction?
  • Is treatment tailored for each patient?
  • What will I have to do during rehab?
  • What can and should my family do while I’m in treatment?
  • Can you provide patient rights and responsibilities in writing?

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