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What to Look for When Choosing a Rehab Facility

Addiction treatment facilities aren’t built the same. They provide different types and levels of care. Some rehab centers provide a higher quality of care than others. Learn how to find a facility that provides the type and quality of treatment that you need.
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The type of rehab that you require depends on the severity of your addiction, the type of substances that you’re addicted to and your personal circumstances. If you have a severe addiction, sometimes referred to as a full-blown addiction, you need more intensive treatment than a person with minor alcohol problems.

Personal circumstances such as your support system, ability to pay for treatment, living environment and employment status affect your decision. Many facilities tout great amenities and beautiful locations, but those comforts are insignificant if the center doesn’t provide the type of treatment that you need.

Services Offered

The first thing you should do when considering a rehab center is determine if it treats the type of addiction that you have. If you’re addicted to alcohol and multiple drugs, an alcohol-only facility isn’t equipped to provide the care that you need. Make sure the center treats addictions to your primary drug of abuse and that it’s equipped to address any secondary drugs of abuse.

Co-Occurring Disorders

Many people with substance use disorders also experience co-occurring mental health problems. If you have problems with anxiety, depression or other mental health problems, ensure the center provides care for both substance use disorders and co-occurring disorders.

Inpatient vs. Outpatient

You also have to determine whether you need inpatient or outpatient treatment. Inpatient facilities usually provide residential treatment for 30 days, but some extended-care facilities offer rehab for multiple months. If outpatient therapy or short stints in rehab haven’t worked in the past, you may require a longer stay at an inpatient facility.

Outpatient rehab may work if this is your first attempt at rehab or if you believe you can continue working while in rehab. It’s often helpful to ask for the opinions of others. If your friends, family members or health care providers tell you that you need inpatient, then outpatient probably isn’t appropriate.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Some types of addiction can be partially treated with medication. These medications are complements to other forms of therapy. If you’re recovering from alcohol, opioid or nicotine addiction, make sure that the rehab provider offers a medication-assisted treatment that’s appropriate for you.

Family Programs

A strong support system increases a person’s likelihood of staying sober after rehab. Family is the most powerful support system for most people, but some families don’t know how to support one another. Rehab facilities that provide family-based therapy teach family members how to communicate and function. Family therapy is especially beneficial for adolescents receiving treatment, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Insurance Coverage

Most people rely on insurance plans to pay for rehab treatment. Unless you can pay for rehab out of pocket, you should make sure that your treatment is covered by your insurance company.

You can find out whether a rehab center is covered by looking at the center’s website or by using your insurance company’s online provider finder tool.

You can also call the rehab center and provide your policy number to see if you’re covered, or you can call your insurance provider and ask for a list of in-network treatment providers.

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Location

You should consider multiple factors when choosing a location to receive treatment. If it’s an outpatient facility, is it near a high-risk neighborhood? Will you be motivated to spend time commuting to the facility for the full length of treatment? Is it far away from people, places or things that may tempt you to drink or use?

If you’re attending an inpatient facility, think about how it’ll affect access to family. If you need family therapy, will they be able to travel? After discharge, will you be able access aftercare resources or alumni support?

Some people travel to find a center with an open bed. They may go to different counties or states to find a city that has room for them. You may need to think about whether you should travel for rehab or sign up on a waiting list. Talk to friends, family members, therapists, sponsors or other people that you trust about whether you should travel or wait for a spot to open closer to home.

Credentials

Many people look for two things when choosing a rehab: a facility that has an open bed and a facility that accepts their insurance plan. Unfortunately, getting quick access to a rehab that provides poor-quality care can make things worse.

If you have a bad experience because the quality of care is poor, it can disenchant you into thinking that addiction treatment can’t help you. Or it may be a waste of time and money. It’s helpful to do some research on the facility to ensure that it provides quality care.

All facilities must be licensed by their state to provide addiction treatment. Higher quality facilities usually have accreditations from independent organizations that evaluate quality of care.

Reputable accreditation organizations include:

  • Commission on Accreditation and Rehabilitation Facilities
  • Council on Accreditation
  • Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program
  • The Joint Commission
  • National Committee for Quality Assurance

Accreditation doesn’t mean a facility is perfect, and absence of accreditation doesn’t mean a facility provides poor care. But accreditation is a good sign. Another good sign is an experienced and certified staff.

Top facilities employ therapists with master’s degrees or higher, certified nurses, certified substance abuse counselors and a physician with a doctorate degree in addiction medicine. All employees should have appropriate educational backgrounds and experience in addiction treatment.

Aftercare

Aftercare may be as important to recovery from addiction as medical treatment. If you’re unable to locate recovery resources, find a job or connect with your community, your chances of relapse increase.

Rehab centers don’t necessarily have to provide aftercare, but they should connect you with resources to help you after discharge. You should look for a facility that will help you develop a plan for recovery after treatment.

Facilities that are associated with sober living homes can help you find safe, substance-free housing after treatment. They may also help you transition from inpatient care to sober living and outpatient care.

Treatment centers with robust aftercare and alumni programs can help you connect with other people in recovery in your community. They can also refer you to educational institutions, vocational training programs and employment resources in the community.

Amenities

Amenities aren’t the most important factor that you should consider when searching for rehab, but they can help. Yoga studios, recreational areas and spacious rooms can make the treatment experience more comfortable.

Some luxury facilities have spas, massage therapists and hot tubs. Centers may offer art, music and exercise classes. These amenities can boost the treatment experience, but they aren’t as important as making sure that high quality health care is being provided by trained specialists.

At the end of the day, you should choose a rehab facility that provides the types of services that you need. The facility should be located in an appropriate place, be covered by your insurance and offer connections to aftercare services. Any additional amenities are icing on the cake.

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