How to Select a Treatment Program
You need addiction treatment. And you may need help selecting an addiction treatment program. So where do you start? First, treatment programs are not one-size-fits-all. Treatments will vary depending on your addiction, age, background, and any co-occurring illness you may have.
So before you begin your search, look at some things to consider before selecting a treatment program.
Types of Programs
When you begin your search for treatment programs, you’ll notice the many different programs. Some are non-profit; some are for profit; state and local governments run others. Then there are programs with different intensities, designed for patients with varying addiction levels and various social situations.
Residential program: If your addiction has completely overtaken you, look for a residential program. These last from 21-30 days, and are very intensive. Residential programs are good for those whose home environment is not stable and supportive because they take you out of that environment.
Outpatient programs are ideal for addicts who have more supportive home situations. The programs usually run 2 to 5 days a week, 2 to 8 hours a day. Some even allow patients to continue working while attending the program.
If you have a dual diagnosis (mental illness and addiction), does the treatment program offer an integrated approach? This type of plan addresses both the mental illness and addiction simultaneously under one roof.
Options within the Programs
All programs offer individual and group counseling. And the good ones offer a combination of therapies to address specific patient issues. These include 12-step programs, cognitive behavioral therapy, and contingency management, anger management, relapse prevention and trauma-related counseling.
Other programs will offer patients help with employment, legal problems, parenting and marital relationships, and HIV education.
Most will offer discharge planning and continuing care—support, counseling and therapy after a patient has completed a program.
Some patients require a different approach. Holistic treatment—body, mind, and spirit—is an approach that combines both traditional methods (cognitive behavioral therapy, counseling, etc.) with non-traditional therapies like yoga, massage, acupuncture and nutrition.
Evaluating the Staff
Part of the process of selecting a treatment program should be evaluating the facility’s staff.
For example, what percentage of the staff is licensed and certified? Review their bios on their website.
The medical director should be a physician or psychiatrist with certification from the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) or American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry. These professionals will be trained on the latest use of medications for addiction treatment and for depression and anxiety.
What is the staff-to-resident ratio? How many one-on-one sessions will you have during the week. This is an important part of a faster recovery.
Are counselors certified for chemical dependency treatment?
Evaluating a Program
Ask the program leaders about the success of their programs. For example, what percentage of patients suffers relapses within the first 6 to 12 months after leaving the program? What percentage of patients return to a healthy, productive life?
What specific scientific studies does the program use as a basis for their programs? In other words, the programs need to be based on some measured model of success. If you’re using “XYZ” approach, then why?
Finally, ask for success stories. A treatment center should be able to give you testimonials from past clients.
Other Program Considerations
Does the facility offer on-site detox? This is an important first step in the healing process.
Will the center personalize your care? As everyone’s body, mind, and personality are different, each person will require flexibility in approach and care from the staff.
Is dual-diagnosis treatment available? Many addicts arrive at treatment with psychological disorders that should be addressed and treated with the addiction. If they’re left untreated chances for sobriety success are diminished.
Do they allow and encourage family involvement? Family plays an important role in the effectiveness and speed of recovery for patients.
Facilities & Amenities
Visit the center. Does it feel like an environment conducive to healing? Is it cheerful?
Is there adequate privacy?
Are you permitted to smoke?
Does the center (chemical dependency) hold Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) accreditation? This is a rigorous national standard.
Are they accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF)? Are they licensed as a hospital by the state?
There should be a lot of thought when selecting an addiction treatment program. Make sure you or the one you love is serious about getting help. It’s not only a costly undertaking; it’s an emotional one for all involved.
With a little planning, you can find a place that sets you up for success. First, use Recoverycorps.org’s database of treatment centers. Then do the research, ask the questions and get the answers. It’s your life. Make this count.