What kind of rehab program should I be looking for?
The best drug rehab programs, equipped to handle the full spectrum of potential substance abuse problems, will address:
- Withdrawal symptoms
- Co-occurring mental health issues
- Specific drugs of abuse
- Lifestyle issues
- Emotional distress
- Psychological distress
- Environmental and/or community concerns
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For the 22.7 million individuals who struggled with substance abuse issues in 2013, per the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, drug rehab can quite literally save their lives.
Despite the widespread availability of such treatment across the country, SAMHSA reports just 2.5 million of those people sought help.
When seeking a drug rehab program that can treat the full scope of all potential problems, look for:
- Those that treat mental health disorders
- Rehab programs specifically tailored to treat the substances being abused
- Programs that do not rely on risky forms of withdrawal, like rapid detox
- Facilities that go beyond detox and treat the emotional, lifestyle, and psychological factors that contribute to addiction
In addition, many people who abuse drugs are abusing more than one substance. Alcohol is a common factor in cases of poly-drug abuse. In 2012, SAMHSA noted that 18 percent of all people over the age of 11 who were admitted for treatment cited alcohol as their primary substance of abuse in addition to secondary drugs.
The detox process varies among different substances of abuse. A client battling alcoholism needs a different treatment plan than one who is struggling with prescription painkiller abuse.
A rehab facility that promotes a one-size-fits-all plan isn’t the right choice. Instead, individuals should look for facilities with specific knowledge and expertise that can customize treatment to each individual seeking help.
Avoid rehab programs that promise a cure or quick-fix for addiction. While addiction can certainly be treated and managed, there is no cure for it.
Be wary of facilities that offer rapid detox treatments. Rapid detox comes with many risks, and it hasn’t been found to be more effective than traditional detox.
To fully recover from addiction, the psychological aspect must be treated as well as the physical side. Rapid detox focuses only on the physical aspects of withdrawal, and there is something to be said for allowing a person to experience – not sleep through – the withdrawal process. The fast-paced, in-and-out process of rapid detox doesn’t afford clients this option.
In addition, rapid detox is far from safe. The process has been promoted by several facilities — that have vested financial interests in its applicability — as being more effective than traditional treatment modalities. These claims are unfounded though, and the risks clearly outweigh any benefit that can be gained from consciously experiencing withdrawal. Medpage Today reports the New York City Poison Control Center was alerted to three adverse reactions in individuals treated with rapid detox at one facility over a two-month span, and one of the clients died as a result.
Many individuals opt for detox only and fail to follow up with other treatments that are necessary to fully rehabilitate anyone struggling with substance dependency.
Questions to Ask
When you decide it’s time for treatment, the first step is making contact with several rehab facilities that appeal to you and asking some standard questions, such as:
- When can treatment begin?
- Why is your facility better than others?
- What are the costs involved with the type of treatment needed?
- How long do individuals stay in treatment?
- Are visitors permitted?
- What is the treatment approach at the facility?
- Are there therapists and physicians on staff to handle the tandem treatment of co-occurring disorders?
- What kind of interventions can be employed to limit cravings and discomfort during withdrawal?
- Are medications used during treatment?
- What kind of accreditation and licensing does the program maintain?
- Does the program practice evidence-based treatment? Is there research to back this up?
- What is the staff-to-client ratio?
- Does the facility offer medical detox?
- Are there any services available to help family members during the treatment process?
- What kind of support is available to clients after treatment has been completed?
- Is insurance accepted?
Overall, the best drug rehab programs should support clients from intake through aftercare. The goal isn’t just to help a client get through withdrawal or to reach a month, or even three months, of sobriety.
The goal is lifelong recovery, and the best rehab programs work with clients on an individual basis to achieve that goal.