Selecting a treatment center for alcoholism and drug abuse for yourself or someone you care about may be one of the most important decisions you will make in your lifetime. Most of us don't know what to look for in a quality program. Not all treatment centers are the same-they differ greatly in program options, staff qualifications, credentials, cost, and effectiveness.
You need to ask appropriate questions when you call a drug abuse treatment center for information and you should expect to receive clear answers.
Before you make any decisions - ask questions and get the facts!
Does the treatment center offer a variety of programs?
Alcohol and drug addiction is a disease that progresses through predictable stages. It takes a trained health professional, often a doctor specializing in addiction medicine, to make an accurate diagnosis and prescribe the most appropriate treatment.
Centers should offer a variety of treatment programs that meet individual needs. Programs may include inpatient, residential, outpatient, and/or short-stay options.
The difference between inpatient and residential treatment is that inpatient services are provided by a licensed hospital, while residential programs usually do not meet the same rigorous standards of medical care.
The length of stay depends on the severity and stage of the disease.
What does treatment cost?
"How much does it cost?" is often one of the first questions asked.
The price tag for drug abuse & alcoholism is presented in many different formats. You need to know what is included in the price, what will be added on to your bill as a fee-for-service program, and what services your health insurance will cover. This makes it extremely difficult to compare prices by simply asking the question - "What does it cost?"
If you are seeking the best value for your treatment dollar, remember: Price can be meaningful only in the context of quality and performance.
Is the treatment program medically based?
There is an advantage to including on-site medical care in a drug abuse treatment center. Physicians and nurses provide 24-hour hospital services to monitor and ensure a safe withdrawal from alcohol and other drugs. In addition, a medical staff specializing in addiction medicine can oversee the progress of each individual and make necessary adjustments to the treatment plan.
Medical credentials can also be important. For example, chemical dependency treatment centers that earn a JCAHO accreditation (Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations) meet national standards for providing quality medical care. Appropriate state licensing is also an important consideration.
Be sure to ask which medical costs are included in the price of treatment.
What is the degree of family involvement in the recovery program?
Drug abuse and alcoholism affects the entire family, not just the alcoholic/addict. Quite often family members do not realize how deeply they have been affected by chemical dependency. Family involvement is an important component of recovery.
Treatment centers vary in the degree and quality of family involvement opportunities. Some offer just a few lectures and others offer family therapy. Ask if there is any time devoted to family programs and if group therapy is included.
Does treatment include a quality continuing care program?
There are no quick fixes for the diseases of drug abuse and alcoholism. Recovery is an ongoing process. The skills one learns during intensive treatment must be integrated into everyday life and this takes time.
Some treatment programs will offer a follow-up program but only in one location which may make it difficult to use.
Treatment programs should include a quality, continuing care program that supports and monitors recovery.