How Do I Choose the Right Rehab?

Sheer Recovery How Do I Choose the Right Rehab photo of a Wife supporting her husband in therapy

If you’re considering going to rehab, it’s, without a doubt, a good decision. At the same time, rehab is a life-changing decision. You want to put thought, time, and care into choosing the right rehab for your needs. Whether you’re looking for an addiction treatment center for yourself or for a loved one, it’s crucial that treatment is suited to your specific needs.  A good quality rehab will help anyone with an addiction build the skills, motivation, and coping mechanisms to walk away from addiction and build a good life for themselves. And, that starts with choosing a facility that meets your needs, capabilities, and budget. Of course, the most important factor should always be that the rehab center offers quality treatment from licensed and certified professionals. 

This article will help you choose the right rehab center for your needs, by asking the right questions, and setting the right goals for yourself.  

Federal Regulation and Accreditation  

It’s important to note that not all rehab centers are created equal. With only very light federal regulation in place, most of which is geared towards organizations using buprenorphine and methadone to treat opioid use disorders, “rehab centers” range from monasteries in the mountains offering a “cold turkey” withdrawal phase in a locked room followed by hard work to fully accredited and licensed medical centers. There’s a lot of variation in how addiction is viewed and treated, and only some of that is pushed my medical advances. Checking credentials, looking at certifications, and reviewing treatment will help you to determine what you are getting.  

Federal Regulation – The 42 Code of Federal Regulations: CFR Part 8: Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorders is the most notable Federal regulation for rehab centers. It stipulates that any opioid treatment center using medication must be certified by an accreditation body. This means that if your treatment center offers opioid treatment and is not certified, they are operating outside of the law.  

JCOTP The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations offers offers an overall accreditation for Addiction Treatment Centers and a specialized Opioid Treatment Accreditation (JCOTP). If an organization has this certification, it means that they have been individually certified for each treatment and type of treatment offered. Therefore, behavioral therapy, counseling, behavioral health, etc., will all be individually certified. This accreditation is offered following an on-site survey and must be renewed every 3 years.  

While it may still be important to look for other accreditation or certification, The Joint Commission is the “gold standard”. If your rehab center is JCHAO accredited, they have the highest level certifications in most or everything they offer.  

Qualified Staff 

It’s also important to look at staff when choosing a rehabilitation center. For example, are they fully qualified? What is the ratio of non-nursing and non-doctorate staff to patients? Most rehab facilities should be more than happy to discuss staff qualifications. Many also publish full staff information on their website, so you can review before starting a discussion with the facility.  

Some questions include:  

  • Are the staff experienced? How many years have they been working?  
  • What is the staff/patient ratio? What is the nursing staff/patient ratio? What is the doctor/staff ratio? 
  • Are all staff members registered, licensed, and trained for their respective positions?  
  • Are staff able to support dual diagnosis?  
  • If you are LGBTQ+, are there specific programs in place for LGBTQ Addiction Treatment?  

Asking these questions is normally more important than you might think. For example, some facilities function as largely light detox centers for people with moderate problems. Qualified staff are there, but the ratio is very low. If you want real medical support and qualified therapy, it’s critical to check that staff are licensed in their respective fields, that staff/patient ratios are high, and that you get enough time with the specialists you need to recover.  

Treatment Types and Location  

Most people have to choose between attending a local rehabilitation facility or traveling to out-of-town or out-of-state treatment. Both offer pros and cons. You’ll also have to choose between residential and outpatient care.  

Residential Care – Residential or inpatient addiction substance abuse rehab includes a range of treatment types in which the patient primarily stays at the care facility. This is required for medical detox. Many patients prefer inpatient treatment because it allows them to step away from daily life and focus on recovery. If you choose recovery out of state, you’ll likely be forced to choose this option. Residential care is ideal for people who need medical support, who are heavily addicted, and who are very likely to have stress and triggers in their daily lives.  

Outpatient Care – Outpatient or Intensive Outpatient Programs are a lighter, cheaper form of care, where the patient attends daily therapy and counseling sessions. In most cases, these range from 4-10+ hours, 5-7 days a week. Patients can still go to work or take care of family but then attend therapy in the morning, evening, or on weekends. These treatment options offer more flexibility and can be very effective for individuals who do not need medical monitoring or who have a relatively light addiction profile.  

This is important because some rehab centers only offer one or the other. Decide which you need before selecting a rehab facility.  

Program length may also be a consideration. While most people think of the famous “28-days” when thinking of rehab, good treatment can extend much longer. Short-term treatment can extend from 28 days to 6 months. You might also opt for long-term treatment, which normally involves inpatient and then outpatient care, which can extend for years.  

Treatment Options  

Modern addiction treatment typically involves a combination of behavioral therapy, motivational therapy, counseling, group therapy, and complementary therapies. In most cases, you can choose from a wealth of therapies. However, it’s always important to ensure that the facility offers Evidence Based Therapies (EBT).  

Detox Facilities – If you’re physically depending on a substance, it may be necessary to undergo detox. Here, you receive medical monitoring and possibly medication to ensure that you withdraw safely. If you need this, make sure your rehab facility either maintains a medically supervised drug and alcohol detox program or that they partner with one.  

Behavioral Therapies – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectal Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) are among the most popular behavioral therapies. These are considered foundational in treating the underlying causes of addiction to assess, resolve, and replace behavior patterns that might lead to addiction. Here, you might want motivational therapy if motivation to recovery is a problem, family therapy if family members are or want to remain a strong part of the treatment, and support for individuals needs with holistic or personalized treatment programs.  

Complementary Therapies – Complementary therapies can do many people a lot of good. These range from 12-Step to mindfulness, art therapy, music therapy, etc. Depending on the individual, different therapies and support may be important. Look into what’s available, check why it’s there, and make sure you ask questions about it.  

What’s Included?  

Many modern treatment facilities attempt to treat the whole person, with mind-body-spiritual therapy and healing. Others offer basic detox and a workbook. Therefore, it’s important to pay attention to what you get from the treatment center, match that with what you need and your budget, and make a decision from there.  

  • How many hours of therapy are included per week?  
  • How many hours of counseling?  
  • How large are groups?  
  • Are single-gender group therapy sessions an option? Is treatment single gender?  
  • Is Family Therapy included?  
  • Is daycare an option? 
  • What kind of aftercare do they offer?  
  • How does the treatment center respond to relapse?  
  • What are their recovery rates? What about graduation rates?  

Finally, you should check practical details like costs, insurance, and travel details. It’s likely important to ensure your insurance plan covers the facility. You might also want to check which types of treatment and what percentage of treatment your provider covers.  

Eventually, choosing the right rehab facility should be about treatment quality, staff experience and qualifications, treatment type meeting your needs, and what type of treatment you want. Most facilities will offer a free consultation (and sometimes tour), allowing you to easily find out o most of this information well in advance of actually attending. Good luck with your choice.  

If you or your loved-one is struggling with substance abuse and want to find a clear path to a brighter future, contact Sheer Recovery today for the help you need to get started on the road to recovery. We can give you the tools you need to live a vibrant life of sobriety.


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