So your loved one is finally ready to get help for a drug or alcohol addiction; They’ve admitted that addiction has taken control of their life and made the difficult choice to seek help for a better life. While this decision alone is tough, choosing the right drug rehab facility can be a challenge. Unfortunately, there are some rehab centers that make false claims that they are the “cure all” for all types of drug addiction. Others fall short on their claims of offering proven treatment modalities. Remember, not all rehabs are created equally. Alcoholism and drug addiction are fatal, life-altering and life-destroying diseases – and it is crucial to treat them as such. When you are considering rehab for yourself or your loved one, arm yourself with the right questions to ask. Trust the facility that can answer the following questions with honesty: Ask: “What type of detox does your addiction treatment program offer?” Detoxification is often the first step in healing from heroin, alcohol and opiate addictions. Facilities across the country offer various types of detox to help your loved one cleanse the toxins and chemicals that have attached themselves to the brain and internal organs and systems due to substance use. Substance use severely alters normal brain function. When withdrawing from these substances, the body struggles to regain normal chemical functioning – often producing severe physical and emotional responses. For these reasons, detox should always take place under medical care. You should know the different types of detox:
- “Alternative” Detox – Sauna Detox, Natural Detox, Herbal Detox, etc.: These types of detox methods rely on the individual removing drugs or alcohol toxins from their system by sweating them out. These types of detoxification do not always have medical staff on hand in case of an emergency.
- Medically Assisted or Medically Monitored Detox: These types of detox programs monitor blood pressure, heart rate and other vitals while a person is in withdrawal. While the staff understands what symptoms to look for, they often do not have the capability to treat a heart attack or seizure – only the capability to call for help.
- Medical Detox: Throughout the medical detox process, clients are monitored around-the-clock by trained medical teams. Detox nurses and/or physicians can also administer safe medications intended to ease the withdrawal symptoms according to their length of use, type of drug used, and other important factors.
In almost all cases, detoxing the body from drugs and alcohol will provoke intensely uncomfortable symptoms – and many times they can be life threatening. It is best for your loved one to never to face a detox alone as drug withdrawal or alcohol withdrawal can induce symptoms such as tremors, fevers, stroke, heart attack, seizures. This is why it is crucial to ask what type of detox is offered at the treatment facility. The right answer is a facility that provides medical detox. Ask: “What type of treatment modality is provided? Different rehabs offer different treatment modalities – you should know what kind of help your loved one is going to receive. Modalities such as dual diagnosis, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), faith-based rehab, adventure therapy, and trauma-based therapy all have proven results in treatment substance use. Dual Diagnosis: If your loved one deals with underlying mental or behavioral health issues, they may need to be treated for dual diagnosis. Many facilities advertise that they treat co-occurring disorders, but fall short of their claims. Make sure to ask:
- Is there a psychiatrist on staff? – Be sure that a psychiatric consultant is active in treatment recovery.
- Does the facility have the capability to make a diagnosis for co-occurring disorders – and treat them medically? – A dual-diagnosis facility should be able to recognize and treat the underlying symptoms by making a recommendation for the proper medication for your loved one.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy: One of the cognitive therapies that is proven to be one of the most effective addiction treatment programs out there today – is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) – which is used to treat substance addiction and it also effectively addresses self-destructive behaviors, aggression and depression. Unfortunately, many treatment centers advertise that they offer DBT, but do not offer the full program – as it is more expensive to provide intensive and ongoing training and team consultation. In order to determine if they truly provide full DBT, ask:
- Do you follow the full DBT model including skills training, and Recovery DBT coaching? – A treatment facility should follow the full model – not just the parts that are convenient to them. A TRUE full DBT program integrates all components of the DBT model including:
- Individual therapy
- Group Therapy Skills training
- Recovery Skills Coaching
- Diary Cards
- DBT Team Consultation
- Is there an ongoing DBT program evaluation? The answer needs to be yes for it to be a true DBT program.
- Is there ongoing Team Consultation? As well, the answer needs to be yes in order for it to be considered a true DBT program.
- Are all of the clinical staff DBT trained or just some of them? – All clinical staff should be trained and integrate and utilize all the components.
Faith-Based Rehab: There are very few biblical-based drug rehab programs in the country. Clients often become confused about the difference between a paid Christian Drug Rehab program and free counseling services offered at churches. There is a clear difference – and given the fact that pastoral-based addiction treatment often has a positive, long term outcome, it’s important to know what that is before signing up.Here’s what you need to ask:
- What kind of methodology is used? – Biblical teachings should be combined with a specific methodology that focuses on healing through addiction. Look for faith-based programs that focus on healing the heart, the mind and the body.
- Are there campus pastors on staff? – Individual pastoral counseling should be available to help your loved one on their personal road to healing in recovery.
- Is there residential treatment? – Residential recovery is a proven method that allows the patient a safe haven from what could be the harmful environment contributing to their lifestyle.
- Is there outpatient treatment? – Outpatient treatment is necessary and should be offered to reinforce and encourage the practice of the new habits, behaviors and coping skills that your loved one learned in residential treatment.
- Is there individual and group therapy? – A critical part of the long term recovery process is therapy, which provides the environment to identify and address the issues, behaviors and environmental factors that have contributed to substance use. Make sure that this is a true rehab – not a church basement. Ask the same questions you’d ask a traditional facility.
- What kind of sober or transitional living services are provided? – Transitional living should also be offered as it adds freedom and responsibility, along with counseling and guidance for times of stress, frustration, sadness and even boredom wherein your loved one practices his new life management skills that he’s learned in treatment.
- Can you attend if you’re not a Christian? – A reputable Christian rehab welcomes everyone with the explanation that treatment will be biblically-based.
Adventure Therapy: Adventure therapy uses experiences to improve mental health and should include activities that are therapeutic, but also physically, emotionally, and mentally challenging for your loved one. Adventure therapy is NOT wilderness survival. You should ask:
- How will adventure therapy mirror real-life instances that occur outside the therapy session? – Your loved one should be learning skills that will help them cope with mental health issues and past traumas.
- Will the physical activities be monitored by experts? – They shouldn’t just toss people on the zip line and leave.
- What if my loved one can’t do the physical activity? – Addiction steals from the body. A good treatment center will work with your loved one to achieve success – not force them into something.
When looking at an addiction treatment facility, make sure to take note of the treatment modality offered and ask why andhow that modality will help your loved one. Ask: “Who are the professionals on staff?” It’s important to know who will be taking care of your loved one while they are undergoing a major life transformation. A rehab program is about as good as their staff. While peer-to-peer therapy can be effective for moral support, it’s crucial to have professionals treating your loved one. Ask about the staff’s level of education and experience: Therapists should at least have a Master’s level degree in Behavioral Science and Social Work and doctors should be board certified in Addiction Medicine. Social workers should also be licensed Masters Social Workers (MSW). In addition to the staff’s background, the ratio of patients to therapists should be low so that each therapist has the time and energy to provide quality counseling. Ask: “What kind of after-care does the facility provide?” Addiction recovery goes beyond the time spent in drug rehab – it also includes aftercare. Ongoing care is essential to a successful recovery – and you need to know what will be provided for your loved one. Ask what will happen when your loved one graduates from the program: Is there a case manager? Will the facility help them find sober or transitional living? Will they help them locate a licensed and professional therapist at home? What kind of follow-up or accountability will be provided once your loved one finishes treatment? You should understand how each of these needs will be met. These questions shouldn’t be left as an afterthought. Don’t cross the bridge when you get there – ask about aftercare up front. Choose the right facility. In the world of addiction treatment, there is a vast range in the level of quality and care – and it can be difficult to determine one from another. Look for research online and over the phone with a specialist. The process of finding the right rehab requires a combination of knowledge, research, and determination. The best facilities provide individualized treatment plans, strong modalities, counseling, and activities – with qualified and professional staff. Use this checklist and be armed with the right questions to ask and know the answers you need to hear to get the right treatment program for you or your loved one.