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Drug and Alcohol Rehab: Designing the Right Plan for You

For many people, admitting they have an addiction is a significant first step on the path to recovery. It’s important to do research, just like you would with any other major investment. But surprisingly, many people don’t. A good starting point is a treatment directory, a source of information for people seeking addiction and/or mental health treatment.

Many studies have been conducted on the efficacy of treatment for substance use disorders, alcohol, co-occurring disorders and psychiatric disorders. Rather than looking for a proverbial needle in a research haystack, here are a few important things to look for when considering drug and alcohol rehab programs.

Individualized Treatment

Every person’s path to recovery is somewhat unique, so treatment and supportive services for mental and substance use disorders must be tailored to fit individualized needs. For many people with behavioral disorders, a combination of counseling and medication is effective. Substance use disorders and prescription drug addiction are more complex because many people who abuse drugs or alcohol suffer from co-occurring disorders. Furthermore, in many instances, there may be a risk of serious withdrawal symptoms.

To be effective, treatment must address not only an individual’s drug abuse, but also associated medical, psychological, social, vocational and legal problems. Treatment should also be customized based on an individual’s age, gender, ethnicity and culture. A facility must be able to provide a continuum of care reflecting the changing needs of a client as they progress through the rehab process. When considering a rehab facility, you should inquire about their full range of services — from medically-assisted detox to aftercare programs.

Inpatient or Outpatient Treatment?

A major part of the process is deciding whether you need inpatient or outpatient treatment. Inpatient programs offer safe, 24/7 medically monitored detox and supervision provided by a board-certified addiction medicine physician, nurses and therapists. If drug cessation has the potential for eliciting serious withdrawal symptoms, prompt intervention can prevent serious complications. An inpatient setting also provides an environment free of potential triggers. The primary drawback of inpatient treatment is cost.

Outpatient treatment enables clients to function relatively normally and maintain employment, as well as family and social relationships. Of course, this also means the same life stressors that may have contributed to addiction are ever-present. Outpatient treatment may be a viable option for those with drug dependence rather than full-blown addiction.

Important Considerations

It’s important to select a facility that is state-licensed and highly rated. One of the key considerations is cost and whether they accept your insurance. Look for facilities that offer or facilitate outpatient and/or aftercare treatment upon discharge.

If you are considering traveling to an out-of-state facility, weigh the benefits and drawbacks. It helps to prepare a list of questions before you make inquiries. Here are 10 questions to help you get started.

  1. What’s the goal of your drug addiction treatment program and is it evidence-based?
  2. What licenses and certifications do the facility and staff have?
  3. How long do you recommend staying in inpatient treatment and are their different options?
  4. Can family and friends contact or visit me while I’m at your facility and if so, is family counseling mandatory or optional?
  5. Do you provide medically-supervised detox or pain management for opioid withdrawal?
  6. What activities are included in the fee? (e.g. individual counseling, group counseling, 12-step programs, exercise programs or art therapy)
  7. Do you have non-religious options?
  8. Which therapeutic model or theories form the core of your treatment programs? (e.g. 12-step, cognitive behavioral therapy or motivational enhancement therapy)
  9. Does anyone on staff specialize in treating my addiction? (e.g. prescription opioids or alcohol)
  10. What is included in the facility discharge plan? (e.g. facilitating transition into community 12-step programs and aftercare)

Designing the right plan helps ensure it will meet your unique needs and doing so can also reduce the risk of relapse.


Posted on April 2nd, 2018 in Blog


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