Substance abuse rehabilitation centers can vary widely in their approaches to detox, recovery, and other support services.
Even centers that offer similar programs can be vastly different in effectivity depending on the experience and skill of the staff members.
It is important when you’ve identified that you or your loved one have a substance abuse problem, you spend at least a little bit of time researching the treatment centers in your area to find the one that is the best fit for you.
We’re here to help you navigate the addiction recovery world and learn what to look for in a treatment center and its’ staff.
It is essential to understand the basics of effective treatment to assess whether a particular rehabilitation center offers them.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), there are three main things addiction treatment must help patients do: Stop using drugs or alcohol, stay clean and sober, and be a productive family member, employee, and member of society at large.
NIDA goes further to offer thirteen key principles as the basis of any effective treatment program.
These principles emphasize that:
Notably, there are several different types of effective treatment plans commonly used in drug and alcohol addiction recovery.
All treatment centers should offer detox and withdrawal treatments, which is the first step in the recovery process.
It is common for medications to be used to ease withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings.
Some treatment centers also have medical devices and applications that also aid with detox and withdrawal.
Behavioral therapy, treatments for co-occurring mental illness such as anxiety and depression, and 12-step or other support groups should be offered.
Some centers provide nutritional counseling, yoga, and a vast array of other programs and amenities to support total mind-body-spirit wellness.
Choosing the right center for you can depend on a variety of factors including cost, medical insurance coverage, if treatment is individualized, desired amenities, in-patient vs. out-patient programs offered, what types of support groups offered (strictly spiritual, secular, or both), experienced staff members, and overall patient success rate.
Other factors to consider are the size of the treatment groups and the patient-to-counselor ratio.
Dealing with an addiction can be overwhelming both for the addict and their loved ones. It may seem daunting to try and figure out where to go for help.
We’ve put together a list of twelve questions you may want to ask any addiction rehabilitation center you are considering for treatment to make things as easy for you as possible:
#1: What kind of treatment programs do they offer? The most common are Evidence-Based Treatment and 12-step programs. You may want to choose a treatment center that provides both so that you have more options during your treatment.
#2: Do they offer any type of specialized programs? These might include specializations in mental disorders, certain occupations, relapse, gender or sexual orientation specific treatment, mind/body/spirit, and other specializations.
#3: Do they tailor treatment programs to fit individualized needs? A good treatment center will recognize that one-size-fits-all doesn’t work when it comes to substance abuse recovery programs. They will also monitor the patients’ progress and modify their program to fit any changing needs as they arise.
#4: How long do they recommend in-patient treatment? Ninety days or more is generally recommended by a well-run treatment center.
#5: What is their percent rate of recovery? 70- 80% is very good for addiction treatment.
#6: What size are the treatment groups? Usually, the smaller the groups, the more each patient will receive more time and attention. You can compare group sizes between your local treatment centers to make a reasonable assessment.
#7: What is the patient-to-counselor ratio? Again, the lower the ratio, the more personalized time and attention the patient will receive.
#8: Is the staff certified and licensed and in which specialties? Doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, and counselors, as well as other staff members, often will have specialized certifications and licenses in the highly specialized field of addiction treatment or another closely related area of expertise.
#9: How many years’ experience do key staff members possess? You want the staff at a treatment center teaming with experience. This will usually be evident in their overall patient success rate. If they have members who have personal experience recovering from addiction, that is a definite plus!
#10: Can they identify and treat co-occurring disorders and behavioral addictions? It is common for substance abuse patients to also suffer from other mental disorders including anxiety and depression as well as behavioral addictions such as sex, shopping, gambling, overworking, food, exercise, gaming, or any other behavior they engage in compulsively. These issues can present blocks to full substance abuse recovery and can trigger relapses if not treated concurrently.
#11: Do they accept insurance? This is always a prudent question to ask. Find out if they will call the insurance company on your behalf to verify coverage and submit claims as well as any copay or coinsurance for which you may be responsible.
#12: Do they offer treatment or support groups for family members of addicts? Family therapy, as well as support groups and 12-step programs specifically geared toward family members of addicts, can be an integral part of your recovery as well as your loved ones’.
All treatment centers are state regulated, although legislation requirements vary by state.
Check your state’s website or with your local state representative or senator to find out what the legal requirements are for addiction treatment centers and confirm that the treatment center you are considering is fully compliant with state and local regulations.
You may be directed to check with the state’s medical licensing board or other governing body that oversees substance abuse rehabilitation center operation compliance to find out if there have been any negative reports, warnings, actions, sanctions, or other types of compliance-issue related infractions on record and whether or not they have been addressed and corrected by the center.
If you’re considering treatment centers that are out of state, you will need to check with each of the different states for this information.
Another great resource for this information is the National Review of State Alcohol and Drug Treatment Programs and Certification Standards for Substance Abuse Counselors and Prevention Professionals published by The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
As with the treatment centers themselves, staff members are usually subject to a stringent state credentialing process, and requirements again vary from state to state.
The state medical licensing board will be able to provide you with confirmation of staff credentials, whether or not they are in good standing, any complaints, investigations, or legal actions pending for any staff member, and the like.
The SAMHSA website should have this information as well. It may seem like a lot of time and trouble to research the staff, but it is always prudent to do so unless the center is very well-known and has a stellar reputation.
Addiction is a severe and complicated disease to treat, the success rate of which relies in large part on how well the patient trusts the staff members with whom they are working closely.
Verifying credentials can help you garner trust for the team right out of the gate.
Common positions held in a treatment center include both the Administrative and Business staff as well as the Clinical staff, with whom the patients interact the most.
Although the Administrative and Business staff typically don’t have much patient interaction, they often include medical doctors, nurses and other medically trained professionals possessing many years of combined expertise in addiction treatment.
Substance abuse treatment is highly specialized, and staff that have specific degrees or certifications or have significant addiction treatment work experience will likely show a higher patient success rate as a result.
It is also possible the treatment center may either be founded by or have staff members that include recovered addicts who became credentialed to help others suffering from addiction to recover.
It can be helpful to peruse the rehabilitation center’s website for staff information and bios as well as inquiring directly with the center if more information is needed.
Here we’ve listed the typical addiction treatment center Clinical Staff Team members with a brief description of their role in your treatment plan:
Addiction Counselor – The lifeline to your recovery while in the treatment center, counselors will help you through detox, provide support and guidance, and help you make a life plan to support recovery behavior.
Psychiatrist (MD) – They are responsible for recommending medications to address detox, withdrawal symptoms, and other co-occurring mental health disorders that they determine to require medication. They can also diagnose substance use disorders and monitor the patient for any signs of abuse or addiction developing to recommended medications.
Certified Addiction Specialist – Either an American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM) certified MD or an American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) certified Psychiatrist, they will treat any physical and psychological issues related to your addiction.
Therapists – Usually there are three types of therapies that a patient participates in at a recovery center including individual, group, and family therapy. Each has its benefits and purpose for patients and work cohesively with one another to facilitate a robust recovery program.
Case Manager – This role may be filled by the patients’ therapist and serves to connect the patient with rehabilitation resources to get housing, job training, medicine, therapy, legal help, and anything else needed to provide stability upon leaving the treatment center and beyond. They advocate for the patient’s needs to promote recovery and overall life success.
Nurses (RN or CARN) – CARN are nurses who specialize in addiction treatment. They oversee the patients’ daily condition, help manage pain, regulate medications, and report concerns to the other team members. They also provide patient education on how substance abuse affects the brain and other organs.
Registered Dietician (RD) – The body can become malnourished due to long-term drug and alcohol abuse more treatment centers are offering nutritional counseling. They help patients with digestive, weight, and other nutritional deficiencies and concerns by creating an eating plan to alleviate symptoms and restore the body into balance through diet.
Social Workers – They develop a plan for treatment, assess patient rehabilitation needs, provide addiction counseling, help patients manage prescriptions, act as a family liaison and counselor, and adjust treatment plans based on patient feedback.
Your Recovery Team Is a Personal Choice
Addiction recovery specialists all agree that a professional atmosphere helps the patient to trust the staff and that trust is paramount for treatment success.
Most addiction treatment center staff possess decades of professional experience, and that helps many patients feel more comfortable trusting them.
If there are credentialed and recovered addicts on staff, they may also appeal to you and instill a sense of trust and even hope.
Ultimately, it is YOU that must feel comfortable with the staff, most importantly your Case Manager, Addiction Counselor, and Psychiatrist.
You get to voice your opinion, have a say in your recovery plan, and work closely with the staff to make any adjustments to your treatment as needed.
Each patient is an individual with different personalities, needs, and challenges so it is essential to find a recovery center with a program and amenities that will work for you and with you so you can move past the dark days of active addiction and into the promised serenity of recovery!
How to get quality help in finding a high-quality Recovery Center that has talented and skilled professionals and one that can help you create a program that works.
If you need help with your recovery, you can get in touch with the Hotline at our Recovery Center where trained and experienced professionals are available to assist you in every way.
The staff at Chateau Recovery is always available to help you with all of your questions regarding addiction recovery and treatment. Call anytime.
Please call our toll-free helpline which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is staffed by experienced and caring professionals who can answer your questions and help you navigate through the process of evaluating and securing a treatment program.
If you or someone you love has questions concerning the rehabilitation process, call our free helpline Phone: +1 888-971-2986 for more information. Calls are always confidential, private, and secure.
A checklist of what to look for when picking an addiction or alcohol treatment center: what you can do to increase the addict’s chances of success, by Anne Brown, RNCS, author of “The Science of Saying No: the Power of Developing your Backbone”.
Five important questions to ask when searching for a treatment program: