Deciding to seek addiction treatment is one of the most important decisions an individual will make. Once they are ready to get sober, it is important for them to connect with a rehab program that will help them achieve their short- and long-term goals. A program with inadequate certifications, untrained staff and limited treatment options can be discouraging and counterproductive for clients. Knowing what to look for in a quality addiction treatment program can help the individual channel their resolve more effectively and improve their rehab success rate.
How to Find an Alcohol Rehab Program
Consider the Individual’s Needs and Goals
The first step to finding an addiction rehab program is to consider the individual’s needs and goals. Every rehab program has different specialties, and it’s helpful to choose one that has clinicians with experience in treating the person’s specific addictions as well as any underlying or co-occurring conditions.
Next, the individual needs to determine what a successful outcome means to them, whether its making it through the detox period, learning how to live without using drugs or alcohol, or finding healthier ways to manage conditions such as chronic pain or depression. Discussing these goals with an admission counselor can help them evaluate how well a program suits their needs.
Consider the Individual’s Prior Experience with Addiction Treatment
Unless this is the individual’s first experience with pursuing sobriety, they likely have a general idea of what strategies have worked for them in the past. Just as importantly, they may know what strategies have not worked. Many addiction treatment programs rely heavily on recreational therapy but have limited experience in other modalities such as psychotherapy, EMDR therapy and medical interventions. While this approach works for some individuals, it may not cultivate the skills necessary for long-term sobriety. Recognizing what has and hasn’t worked in the past should guide the individual’s decision in choosing a program.
Be Willing to Try Something New
Every person has a comfort zone when it comes to addiction recovery. Comfort zones include emotional, behavior, and psychological habits built to decrease discomfort. During rehab, these habits can cause relapses, making it important to step outside of them. Success in rehab is often dependent on the individual’s willingness to work outside of what’s comfortable to them and be open to new experiences. For some, this may mean opting for residential care instead of weekly group therapy. For others, trying different therapies may be necessary for success.
When finding a quality rehab program, it can be helpful to get an idea of all the treatment options they offer. Even if those treatments are not necessarily something the individual can see themselves participating in when they first enroll, they may end up being key to the individual’s success.
What to Look for in an Alcohol Rehab Program
There is an abundance of inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment options, and finding an alcohol rehab program can be overwhelming. Once an individual or family has come up with a shortlist based on the individual’s unique needs, goals, and prior experience, it’s helpful to compare options based on factors such as credentials and services.
Surprisingly, rehab programs aren’t required to be accredited, and deceptive marketing tactics can make it difficult for someone to know exactly what they’re getting into. The accreditation process ensures that a facility meets minimum standards related to therapy practices and client care. There are two major accrediting bodies in the United States, including the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities and The Joint Commission. A seal from either of these organizations indicates the facility has undergone and passed a rigorous evaluation process.
Marketing tactics and clever wordplay can make it difficult to assess whether a program’s staff members have relevant training and credentials to provide quality care. Any mental health practitioner can call themself a therapist, counselor, or clinician; these aren’t protected titles and don’t legally require licensing or certifications. However, research has shown that certified mental health professionals are more likely to use evidence-based therapies, which generally provide better outcomes.
Rehab facilities typically provide their staff credentials upfront, so it shouldn’t take much digging to determine if the therapists have relevant certifications. The National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals has three foundational credentials for addiction counselors, including National Certified Addiction Counselor, Level I; National Certified Addiction Counselor, Level II and Master Addiction Counselor. Specialization credentials and endorsements include Nicotine Dependence Specialist, National Certified Adolescent Addiction Counselor, National Peer Recovery Support Specialist, and National Clinical Supervision Endorsement.
Another hallmark of a quality rehab program is that the facility is willing to work with clients to help them get the care they need despite financial limitations. Treatment centers should be able to help prospective clients understand their payment obligations upfront. They should also make an effort to outline what clients can expect their health insurance to cover, as well as other financing options such as sliding scale payments, payment plans, or scholarships.
Flexible Treatment Plans
Every individual’s situation is a unique combination of physical, environmental, genetic, behavioral and personality factors. A one-size-fits-all addiction treatment plan may work for a handful of clients, but it will not meet the needs of everyone. Effective addiction treatment is individualized based on the substances the person uses and their characteristics.
Access to Medical Care
Substance use affects and alters the brain and body in profound ways. In some cases, these effects are not evident until the individual stops using the substance. In other cases, the individual is using a controlled substance to self-treat conditions such as chronic pain. For these reasons, it is wise to ensure medical help is readily available to address issues that arise as the individual goes through the early days of addiction treatment. Medical integration is especially important for clients withdrawing from alcohol and opioids, which have an increased risk of medical complications such as seizures.
Addiction affects the entire family, especially in cases where family members unintentionally support their loved one’s chemical use by minimizing the effects of addictions. Family counseling is a key aspect to addiction treatment. During these sessions, families get professional help for working through conflicts, identifying family dynamics and environmental factors that support the addiction, and establishing new habits and ways to interact with the individual seeking treatment.
Life Skills Training
Addiction is all-consuming and can take over the individual’s life, dramatically shifting their priorities and preventing them from cultivating healthy habits and necessary skills. Life skills training that covers important issues such as money management, how to find a job, expressing feelings, self-awareness, literacy classes, and social skills is often a key part of recovery.
The recovery process doesn’t end when the treatment program concludes. Going right back to normal life after treatment without any further engagement is generally a recipe for relapse. Those in longer treatment plans with aftercare generally experience better outcomes and are less likely to revert back to old habits.
Aftercare planning typically includes ongoing group and individual therapy, a step-down program and recovery support groups.
Taking the Next Step to Find a Good Alcohol Rehab Program
Once the individual has found the best alcohol rehab program, it’s time to take the next step and enroll. Each treatment facility has its own enrollment process. At FHE, enrollment begins with a phone call to the helpline, which provides callers with information on treatment plans and answers to any questions they have about licensing, payment options, and ongoing care.