Once you’ve decided to enter a rehab program, you’re going to have a lot of options to sort through. All drug rehab centers tout their treatments as the best of the best, and trying to separate the great facilities from the rest of the pack can be a challenge. Most of us are not medical experts. We aren’t going to know exactly what makes one program better than another off the top of our heads, and some less credible drug rehab centers might try to take advantage of that.
Instead of just taking their word for it that they’re one of the best drug treatment centers out there, we’ve broken down all the qualities you need to look for. We’ll also point out any red flags you might encounter along the way. By the end, you can be confident in your choice, and you’ll know exactly what questions to ask.
1. Is Accredited
This one is probably the most obvious. If the accreditations the center has are not abundantly clear, definitely ask about them. You’re looking for an accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) or an organization called the Joint Commission.
Drug rehab centers have to undergo a strict process to convince either of these organizations that they meet their high standards of care. It takes months of preparation, visits, and evaluations to get accredited. Their standards are often higher than the state licensing requirements drug treatment centers are required to meet. Since this process can be so arduous and expensive for drug rehab centers, one that’s gone through it signals that they’re committed to providing the highest quality care.
2. Employs Qualified Professionals
You should know what kind of healthcare workers are going to be treating you before you decide on a rehab program. They should have the right credentials and backgrounds to provide high-quality treatment. That doesn’t mean you should hold out until you find a center that only employs doctors, but you should feel confident that the staff has received the proper training to treat their clients well.
You’ll also want to know what kind of leadership the center has. What kind of qualifications do they have, and where are their priorities? The right culture is set from the top down. You should feel comfortable asking all these questions to make sure the center is the right fit for you.
3. Offers Individualized Care
All of the criteria we’re highlighting are important, but this one is probably one of the top most vital things to look for. Drug rehab centers should be invested in finding the right solutions for each individual who comes through their doors. If they’re not paying attention to other issues going on in your life, that’s a bad sign.
The best drug treatment centers will want to look at your whole health, mental and physical. They’ll address co-occurring disorders and underlying issues. They should be looking at your family situation, how they can help there, and how that affects your substance use. They should also be helping you with other aspects of your overall health, like exercise and good nutrition.
Needs for all of these aspects of wellbeing are going to differ greatly from person to person, and drug rehab centers should be focused on designing treatment to fit those specific needs each and every time. There is no one-size-fits-all approach.
4. Gives Vocational Support
This type of support dovetails nicely with what we were discussing in the previous point. Part of being cared for as a whole individual is getting back on your feet into a fulfilling profession. Some drug rehab centers have vocational support as part of their offerings. Not everybody needs this type of support, though — some people might currently hold a job that they’ll be looking to maintain while in treatment, and if that’s the case, they’ll probably be looking for an outpatient program.
5. Has Program Options
Again, this one goes along with our previous point about individualized care. Drug treatment centers should offer the right kinds of programs for their clients’ specific needs. Some facilities might be great for some people, but if that kind of care is not the right fit for you, then it’s not going to be as effective. There are a wide variety of therapies and treatments available (you can read our blog post about some of them here), and you should look into drug rehab centers that offer modes of treatment that appeal to you.
6. Treatment Programs Are Long Enough
Just like there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment program, there’s no instantaneous way to treat a substance use disorder. All effective programs at drug treatment centers are going to take some time. Longer treatments tend to be more effective, so if a rehab facility is pushing you into a shorter stay than you’re comfortable with, find a different one.
For an inpatient treatment, 30, 60, or 90 day stays are all common. There are also even longer types of inpatient treatment, but those tend to be more specialized. Outpatient treatment programs can be a little more varied, but you should be assured that you’re going to receive treatment for as long as you need it. Which brings us to the next point…
7. Offers Ongoing Support Options
Any drug treatment centers worth your time are going to have options for care after you complete your initial treatment. What that first treatment is will depend a lot on your individual situation, taking into account factors like your level of addiction, how much support you have at home, if you need to keep working while receiving treatment, and your current living situation.
No matter what type of treatment program you complete, though, there should be ongoing maintenance or aftercare steps available to you. For some people, that’s a support group. Other people will complete an inpatient program and then transition to an outpatient one. Some drug rehab centers offer sober living facilities, which serve as a transitional period between inpatient care and living on your own.
The course your treatment takes will be uniquely yours, but no matter what, you should have ongoing support options available to you.
8. Begins with a Thorough Evaluation
When you enter a drug rehab program, you should have to go through an evaluation before receiving treatment. That way, the healthcare professionals can be fully aware of your specific situation and therefore offer the best treatment. We already discussed how important it is for your care to be tailored to your needs. There’s no way for drug rehab centers to do that without knowing what your needs are first. That’s only accomplished through this evaluation process. If they are ready to treat you without learning all about you first, that’s definitely a red flag that they’re not trying to customize your care.
9. Answers Your Questions
Don’t settle for a program that’s not interested in making sure all your questions are answered. Of course, drug rehab centers are busy places, and they don’t have all day to talk about every little detail of their facility. However, none of the questions we’re laying out here are frivolous, and if you feel dismissed or get a lot of pushback on them, that’s a red flag.
There should be plenty of opportunities to get your questions answered during the intake process. The specific steps of that process will vary between different drug treatment centers, and it will likely depend on the type of treatment you’re getting. There should still be enough time for questions, though, no matter what the intake process is like. If you feel like you’re not getting straight answers, consider looking into different drug rehab centers.
10. Doesn’t Overpromise
Like we said earlier, there’s no quick fix for addiction. Drug treatment centers shouldn’t offer you that. If the facilities you talk to promise big results with minimal time and effort, that should make you a little suspicious. You want to be sure you’re having realistic conversations.
On the flip side, drug treatment centers should be confident in their services. Showing you good results and high success rates (which we’ll go into more in a little bit) is not overpromising — if they have data to back it up, it’s just the truth.
11. Has the Right Amenities
Now, it’s important not to take this one the wrong way. We don’t mean to say that only the super fancy, super expensive drug treatment centers are worth it. There are plenty of effective drug rehab centers that have more basic amenities. The key is to make sure what’s on offer is right for you, and that it’s clean and safe.
This can be especially important if you’re interested in inpatient drug treatment centers, since you’ll be spending the night at the facility, likely for a month or more. You’ll want to be sure it’s a place you’ll be reasonably comfortable in for that amount of time.
Of course, making sure you’re receiving high-quality care is the most important consideration. You don’t need to be in the lap of luxury for that. Still, though, you want to be comfortable, and checking out the amenities ahead of time can help make sure of that.
12. Uses Evidence and Science-Based Methods
This is a big one. Of course, if you’re only looking at CARF or Joint Commission-certified programs, you’ll be sure that they’re using proper methods. But over 50 percent of drug treatment centers aren’t certified by either of those organizations, so how do you know that the treatments they offer are scientifically sound?
Ask if they stay up-to-date on the latest research, and make sure you know what kinds of therapies they offer. You can do your own research into many different modes of treatment to see if they’re backed up by solid evidence or not.
This bit of advice does need a big disclaimer, though. Unless you’re a scientist specializing in addiction, you’re probably not going to know better than the qualified health professionals at drug treatment centers, even with some research. It’s good to know what you’re getting into, but if you trust the accreditation of the facility and the credentials of the people who work there, then you should also trust the types of care they offer.
13. Specializes in Your Addiction
Maybe this piece of advice is too obvious, but it deserved a mention all the same. You don’t want to waste your time on drug rehab centers that don’t specialize in the type of substance use disorder you have. Ask about what kinds of addictions they treat most often. Many drug treatment centers offer care for a variety of addictions, but they may only specialize in one type. It’s worth looking into.
14. Has a Good Success Rate
This is another criterion that needs a bit of a disclaimer. Different types of programs are going to have wildly different success rates, and what a “good” success rate means for each type of program is going to differ just as much. For example, an outpatient program for moderate alcohol addiction is going to see a much higher success rate than a facility that focuses on very severe opioid addiction.
Know how the drug rehab centers you’re looking into define success, and do some research to see if their numbers match up with other well-regarded facilities. They might use different metrics to determine success — common numbers include the percent of clients who complete the program and percent of clients who stay sober for a designated amount of time. Make sure you know which rate you’re looking at so you can compare apples to apples.
Find the best drug rehab centers.
So, now that you’ve looked at the main aspects of drug treatment centers that you need to look into, you should be ready to gather some information and make a decision. See which of these criteria are addressed on the websites of the drug rehab centers you’re looking into, and if you can’t find something, reach out and ask. They should be happy to answer your questions. And as always, if you need a place to start, you can contact us here.