If you struggle with addiction — or love someone who does — you know what it feels like to keep hoping for a move toward permanent change. Ideally, the motivation will come from wanting better for oneself and others. Sometimes, though, it’s simply the result of hitting rock bottom.
Regardless, when the time comes, you want to be prepared.
Below, you’ll find a list of questions to ask yourself and prospective treatment centers before making any decisions. We’ll also talk about the challenges this selection process presents and how, by being aware, you can be ready to make the right choice for you.
Challenges You May Face Finding Treatment
We’re all for the advice to strike while the iron’s hot. The problem comes when we don’t know our target or how to reach it. And deciphering the ins and outs of various rehab facilities feels a lot like this. Here’s why:
Addiction expert Bob Forrest, known as Rehab Bob from VH1’s Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, explains the current climate of addiction therapy as one where some centers care more about money than the people they serve. Because you want the best for yourself — as you should — your job now becomes finding a facility you can trust. That’s no small undertaking.
What’s more, studies show that even facilities full of staff who care often fall behind on implementing the latest rehabilitation approaches backed by science.1 And in the scientific world, contradictions abound. Some, for example, promote the miracle of medication used during recovery while others view this method as a mere Band-Aid.2
When you’re fighting the clock and all of the confusion, you might be tempted to settle for the first link that pops up in a Google search.
Let us encourage you to pause, take a deep breath, and sort through the facts with confidence.
We first heard of Bob Forrest’s advice on choosing a treatment center from his conversation with That Sober Guy. To hear more thoughts on how the recovery journey can lead to a renewed connection with your own true self, listen to this interview with Shane Ramer, creator of That Sober Guy, which originally appeared on the Recovery Unscripted podcast.
Two Recovery Facts to Aid You in Your Decisions
A recent study of 39,000 Americans found the following:
- The majority of people who struggle with addiction do reach sobriety.
- People in recovery found help from both traditional and non-traditional methods.3
As you move forward, do so with the hope of recovery and an open mind about how you or your loved one will achieve it.
Recommended Questions to Ask
We find it helpful to come up with a set list of questions you can ask each treatment center you contact. First, though, start by asking a few questions of yourself.
Begin with a rapid-fire personal assessment:
Bob Forrest encourages patients to find treatment that matches their individual needs. You can do this best by fully exploring yourself and your thoughts surrounding recovery.
- What characteristics or personality traits do I possess?
- What are my current life circumstances?
- What are my specific needs in recovery?
- Do I require a residential program with a place to stay, or will outpatient care suffice?4
- Am I looking for a quick-fix or long-term support?1
- How do I feel about the use of medication during the treatment process?2
There are no wrong answers here. After all, you’re just getting to know yourself. To further your efforts, consider obtaining a mental health evaluation as well as a professional opinion of your addiction.5
Narrow down your options:
Don’t pick up the phone just yet. Look online to evaluate each facility based on the following:
- Do they offer a specialty, or do they claim to do it all? As Bob Forrest argues, “If they say they’re experts at everything, I guarantee you they’re no good at anything.”
- Is the center for-profit or nonprofit? For-profit facilities may be able to offer some extra types of therapies and amenities. But nonprofits can be good options too, and they’re unlikely to be concerned with seeking money.
- Do things seem too good to be true? Centers looking to take illegal advantage of insurance payments may offer enticements like paying for unnecessary coverage.5
Eliminate any center that doesn’t feel right. Take the remaining options into the final round.
Reach out with questions:
Now’s the time to get to work. Make a call to us at 760-548-4032 or schedule a visit, and work through the list below.
- “How many licensed full-time employees do you have?” That’s how Bob Forrest says it, and that’s how you should say it too. This might be the most important question you’ll ask when it comes to determining the level of care you or your loved one will receive.
- How many people attend group therapy sessions together? The number you’re looking for here is eight or less.5
- In addition to group therapy, how often will I meet with a licensed therapist alone?5 Recovery requires one-on-one attention. As Anne M. Fletcher, a scientific writer, explains: “Treatment should be individualized. One size does not fit all.”1
- What stance does your facility take on medication-assisted recovery? Regardless of your personal beliefs on the subject, you may wish to follow up this question with a conversation about how patients are taught to fight cravings beyond taking medicine.6
- How does your center encourage a well-rounded, healthy future? Seek out answers about mental and nutritional support, as well as the development of life skills that are key to the success of long-term sobriety.
Above all, be sure the treatment approach you choose aligns well with who you are, your beliefs about recovery, and your hopes for the future.
By Stephanie Thomas
1 Brody, Jane E. “Effective Addiction Treatment.” The New York Times, February 4, 2013.
2 Lopez, German. “A New Study Found a Big Problem with a Popular Opioid Addiction Medication.” Vox, November 15, 2017.
3 Becker, Deborah. “A New Study Finds Good News About Treating Addiction.” WBUR, November 16, 2017.
4 Badenoch, Mary Ann. “6 Steps to Find Addiction Treatment for Your Son or Daughter If You Don’t Have Insurance.” Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, October 31, 2017.
5 Basheda, Lori. “Before You Check Into Your Rehab Center, Ask These Questions.” The Orange County Register, May 22, 2017.
6 “Medication-Assisted Treatment Improves Outcomes for Patients With Opioid Use Disorder.” The Pew Charitable Trusts, November 22, 2016.