What to Look for in an Addiction Treatment Program
Choosing an addiction treatment program for yourself or someone you love may be one of the biggest decisions you have to make. Not all treatment programs are of equal quality and choosing the right program might mean the difference between a strong recovery and sliding back into addictive behavior. However, there are about 14,000 addiction treatment centers in the US alone and choosing a good one can be complicated. Here are some questions to ask when trying to choose an addiction treatment program.
Do they use evidence-based methods?
Perhaps the first question to ask is whether the program uses evidence-based treatment methods. Evidence-based methods are simply those that are supported by scientific evidence. It seems obvious that a treatment program should use evidence-based methods just as we would expect our doctor to prescribe treatment based on the best available research. However, a large study by Columbia University researchers found that evidence-based methods are the exception rather than the rule in addiction treatment. [https://www.centeronaddiction.org/addiction-research/reports/addiction-medicine-closing-gap-between-science-and-practice] What constitutes evidence-based methods can change and should change since it is based on current research, but some methods have a large accumulation of evidence over decades of research. These include cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, dialectical behavioral therapy, or DBT, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy, or EMDR, and motivational interviewing. There are many other methods with scientific backing so be sure to research a prospective treatment center’s signature treatment modalities.
Do they have qualified staff?
All the evidence-based methods in the world won’t matter if they aren’t competently applied. To that end, look credentialed and experienced staff. There should be at least one medical doctor on staff, ideally one certified in addiction medicine. There should also be nurses. For therapists, there are a number of certifications relevant to addiction treatment; these include licensed professional counselors, or LPC, licensed alcohol and drug counselor, or LADC, certified addictions counselors, or CAC, and certified co-occurring disorders counselor, or CCDP.
Do they have a multidisciplinary team?
In addition to having relevant qualifications, look for a diverse staff. Recovery from addiction is a multifaceted undertaking that requires lifestyle changes as well as therapy. Many people entering treatment have medical issues to manage as well. As a result, you need staff with diverse expertise to make treatment safe, healthy, and effective. In addition to people with addiction expertise, look for staff that can address co-occurring disorders and staff that can help you live a healthier life, including dieticians and trainers.
Are they accredited?
Look for a treatment center that is accredited by either the Joint Commission [https://www.jointcommission.org/] or the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. [http://www.carf.org/home/] These are independent organizations that base accreditation on industry standards and treatment outcomes.
Do they have good facilities?
It’s important that a treatment center has clean, comfortable facilities but they don’t need to be fancy or luxurious. In fact, modest facilities are often better, since more of your money goes to actual treatment and less to frills. On the other hand, you also don’t want facilities that are too spartan and you certainly don’t want a facility that is dirty or unsafe. Some treatment centers are hardly more than rooms in a basement and will cut every corner to make a little more money. They certainly don’t provide a therapeutic environment. Look for facilities that are comfortable and allow you to focus on healing.
Do they provide individualized care?
Although addiction has similar features for many people, no two people will have the exact same needs in treatment. Everyone has a different story, a different addiction history, a different family, different strengths, and different weaknesses. At least half of people seeking treatment will have a co-occurring disorder but treatment for, say, ADHD will be very different from treatment for depression. Some people will be entering treatment for the first time and others will have had a history of relapse. There’s no single program of treatment that can work equally well for everyone. Therefore, it’s important to find a program that can respond to the needs of each individual.
Do they work with insurance?
For many people, this is just a pragmatic question. Most people will need help paying for a stay in inpatient treatment so they will need to find a program that accepts their insurance. However, even if you plan to pay out of pocket, there’s a good reason to find out if a center works with insurers. Insurers want to know their money is well spent so they keep track of treatment outcomes. If a treatment center doesn’t work with insurers, it’s not necessarily bad but you should find out why and look for other third-party measures of quality.
Have they been around a while?
Finally, it’s a good sign if a treatment center has been around for a while. The opioid crisis has created a lot of opportunities in the addiction treatment industry. Many actors are well-meaning but some are not. A treatment center that has been around for a while probably didn’t pop up overnight to cash in on the money being thrown at the opioid crisis. An established center has a record you can check out and they haven’t gotten caught doing anything bad enough to shut them down. A newer program isn’t necessarily bad, since everyone has to start somewhere, but it should be strong on other factors.
At Fort Behavioral Health, we offer a safe, nurturing, and healing space for men and women to find recovery from the multifaceted disease of addiction. Our team believes in inspiring each client to face their challenges, discover the root of their problems, and reclaim their lives. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, call us today at 817-381-9741 or contact us through our admissions page.