There are many types of addiction treatment programs. Methods and therapies differ as do treatment philosophies. In a research-based guide to effective addiction treatment, the National Institute on Drug Abuse notes that no one treatment program is the right choice for every patient. They stress the importance of matching treatment to each individual’s unique needs.[i]
Things to Learn about an Addiction Treatment Program
Before beginning treatment, it can be a wise time investment to call various rehab centers to find the one that seems to be the best fit. Questions to ask include the following:
- Is the program licensed and accredited? There are various national and international accreditation agencies, such as the National Committee for Quality Assurance, the All-States program, the Joint Commission and the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. State governments also license programs, and the requirements vary between them.
- Does the program offer outpatient or residential services? Residential programs offer meals and lodging in addition to treatment. Outpatient programs offer treatment only, and patients live elsewhere.
- If the program is an outpatient facility, what are the hours of service? Some programs are offered during the evenings and on weekends so that people can maintain employment and other responsibilities. Some programs meet during the day. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration notes that programs designated as intensive outpatient programs last for at least 90 days and offer services from between six and 30 hours per week.[ii]
- Who is on the staff and what are their qualifications and credentials? A program’s staff will vary depending on the services they offer. In addition to addiction counselors, there may be physicians, nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, chaplains, family therapists and nutritionists. Counselors may have a variety of certifications, including LPC (licensed professional counselor), CAC (certified addictions counselor). LADC (licensed alcohol and drug counselor) and CCDP (certified co-occurring disorders counselor).
- What types of addictions does the program treat? Sometimes programs specialize in the treatment of specific addictions and do not treat other types.
- Does the program provide detox services? Detoxification, or detox, is the first stage of addiction treatment. It involves undergoing withdrawal under medical supervision. Some programs include detox as part of their services while others expect patients to undergo detox before beginning treatment.
- Does the program address co-occurring disorders? It is very common for mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder to co-exist with addiction. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that more than half of all drug abusers report experiencing a mental illness.[iii] The best treatment outcomes are seen when disorders are treated in a coordinated and integrated way, preferably within the same treatment facility.
- Does the program offer specialized tracks for specific populations? Sometimes people prefer to receive treatment with others who share certain characteristics. There may be programs specifically for adolescents, women or veterans, for example.
- What is the typical treatment length? Ideally, treatment length is determined by patient needs, but is often determined by financial considerations. Some programs, however, have a minimum stay or offer a program that lasts a predetermined amount of time that is standard for a typical patient.
- What is the patient to staff ratio? Generally, patients will receive more individualized services when the ratio is low.
- Is there a specific type of counseling that is offered? Counseling is the mainstay of addiction treatment, but there are many counseling approaches. Cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy are common. Family therapy may be part of the program, especially for adolescent patients.
- Does the program use medications? Medications have been approved to treat certain addictions. For opioids and opiates, methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone may be used. Medications to treat alcohol addiction include naltrexone, acamprosate and disulfiram.
- Does the program offer any non-traditional therapies? These may include things like art, music, drama or animal therapies. Programs may also offer certain types of bodywork, such as massage, acupuncture, hydrotherapy or sauna treatment.
- Is the program covered by your health insurance? If you are covered by a preferred provider or exclusive provider policy, it is important to verify that the program is within your network.
- What are the provisions for aftercare? It is important to transition from active treatment and not to simply stop services abruptly.
We Can Help
If you would like help evaluating and identifying your addiction treatment options, give us a call. Our helpline is toll-free and available 24 hours a day. We can answer your questions and can even check your insurance coverage for you if you wish, at no cost or obligation. Why not begin your recovery journey now?
[i] “Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition),” National Institute on Drug Abuse, http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/principles-effective-treatment (November 28, 2015).
[ii] “Quick Guide for Clinicians Based on TIP 47, Substance Abuse: Clinical Issues in Intensive Outpatient Treatment, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2006, http://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content/SMA07-4233/SMA07-4233.pdf (November 28, 2015).
[iii] “Dual Diagnosis,” National Alliance on Mental Illness, https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Related-Conditions/Dual-Diagnosis (November 28, 2015).