Choosing a drug addiction treatment program (for yourself or for a loved one) can be among the most important – and stressful – decisions that you will ever make. And while the importance of this decision can’t be understated, the process doesn’t have to be as painful as you might think.
The primary problem with selecting an appropriate drug addiction treatment program is that, prior to making the choice, most people have had little or no reason to research the available options. Then, placed in what appears to be an “act now or never” situation, they struggle to make an informed choice very quickly and with little information.
The best advice: Don’t rush your decision. There’s a big difference between acting quickly and acting in haste.
Drug addiction treatment programs vary greatly in terms of care offered, duration of treatment, qualifications of personnel, price, and a wide range of other options. Take a few extra moments to educate yourself about which program will be best suited to your needs or those of your loved one, and you will be able to significantly increase the odds that the treatment experience will result in long-term recovery.
The following are five important facts to consider when choosing a drug addiction treatment program:
1. How much does the treatment program cost?
The first reaction of many people who are searching for an effective drug addiction treatment program is that no cost is too great when it comes to overcoming addiction and achieving long-term recovery. But the truth of the matter is that a program’s cost is an important factor to consider – especially because many insurance programs will only cover certain types of treatment.
Do not be shy about discussing issues of price with the representatives of every drug addiction treatment program that you are considering. Some programs will work with you to create an acceptable payment plan or secure alternate sources of funding, while others may be able to put you in touch with quality programs within your price range.
2. Does the program feature a range of techniques, methodologies, and programs?
Though drug addiction normally passes through a series of relatively predictable stages, it is still an intensely personal experience that is often accompanied by a number of co-occurring disorders. Drug addiction treatment programs that provide a wider range of treatment options have a better chance of adapting to meet the specific (and changing) needs of each client – which in turn gives the clients a better chance of achieving long-term recovery.
Some drug addiction treatment programs offer short-term, long-term, residential, outpatient, and aftercare opportunities, while others focus on one type of treatment. Within the overall program, additional options may be available, including a range of therapeutic options, and the option to participate in medically-assisted rehabilitation and recovery (which may be of particular value to individuals who are struggling to overcome an addiction to opiates).
Learn as much as you can about the variety of treatment options that are available, and attempt to locate a drug addiction treatment program that will provide the range of treatment that you believe is best suited to your needs, or those of your loved one.
3. Does the program include professional medical supervision?
Drug addiction can exert a significant physical and psychological toll, and ending abuse can also pose certain dangers to both the body and the mind. Residential drug addiction treatment programs often feature round-the-clock medical supervision or at least immediate access to local care when needed, and many also provide medications (such as methadone) that can help lessen withdrawal symptoms or eradicate cravings that may undermine the recovery process.
In addition to determining the presence of medical care within the drug addiction treatment programs that you are considering , it is also important to evaluate the quality of the care that is provided. Request information (and documentation) about a program’s state accreditation and certification, as well as the program’s status in the eyes of JCAHO (Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations), which indicates whether or not it meets national standards.
4. Are family members involved in the recovery and aftercare process? If so, how?
The most important person in any drug addiction recovery program is the client himself – but the odds of that client achieving long-term sobriety may be significantly enhanced by the presence of a functioning support system. Drug addiction and abuse affects the entire family, and if this effect is not treated, then the treatment process may be undermined.
Some drug addiction treatment programs offer written material, others provide regular phone calls to family members, and others bring the family members on-site for counseling (both with and without the addicted member being present). Make sure you understand the degree to which family members will be involved in the process at every drug addiction treatment program that you are considering.
5. Is aftercare (or continuing care) a part of the program’s treatment plan?
Overcoming an addiction to drugs is a long-term pursuit, and a program that offers a “quick fix” with limited (or nonexistent) aftercare may not provide the support that is necessary for lifelong sobriety. Many drug addiction treatment programs provide formalized aftercare for a limited time following the initial phases of therapy, others provide access to continued services at extra cost, while others do not feature aftercare.
Participating in a drug addiction treatment program that does not provide aftercare or continued access to treatment following the initial phase is much less likely to result long-term success.