Things to Consider When Looking for a Residential Treatment Center
Dealing with drug and alcohol abuse is a stressful and confusing journey for anyone. Whether you or a loved one are struggling with addiction or alcoholism, it can be difficult to know exactly what steps to take in order to begin the journey of recovery into a life of sobriety. While every person’s needs and their specific struggles are different, the most appropriate first step for an addict or an alcoholic is a residential treatment program.
Recovering from substance abuse is not as easy as a quick visit to the doctor to get some medication. Many times people who struggle with substance abuse issues allow their disease to progress for years before attempting to get treatment for it, which means that recovery isn’t going to happen overnight either. Successfully overcoming drug addiction and alcoholism requires in-depth and focused work with a licensed therapist in a residential treatment program.
These residential treatment facilities do more than just help a person quit drinking or doing drugs, they help people stay sober for a lifetime and grow into happy and well-adjusted human beings. Because substance abuse is often accompanied by other various emotional and behavioral disorders, working closely with a primary therapist to address these co-occurring issues in a residential rehab setting is the most effective way for most individuals who are struggling with substance abuse.
Once you or your loved one have committed to getting help at a residential treatment center, the next step is to make sure that the program you choose is able to offer the best care available. Unfortunately, not all residential treatment programs are created equal and there are some important things to consider before deciding on a facility for yourself or your loved one.
- Is the program licensed and accredited? Calling yourself a residential treatment program is a lot easier than actually offering world-class treatment for addiction. It can be hard to differentiate between a facility that is simply pretending and one that truly is a cut above. This is why state licensing and independent accreditation are so important. In order for a residential treatment facility to receive licensing and accreditation, they must be carefully reviewed by independent organizations to ensure that they are offering the highest level of care. If you come across a program that doesn’t have either of these, you should keep looking.
- Does the program employ licensed counselors? Treating patients with substance abuse issues requires years of education and experience. Because those with alcoholism and drug addiction often have complex emotional and behavioral issues which must be treated during their stay in a residential treatment program, it is crucial that the people providing that treatment know what they are doing. The most effective clinical care is offered by licensed therapists and counselors who have gone through extensive training and a rigorous review process. If a program doesn’t have licensed counselors which work directly with patients, they may not be receiving the most effective and up-to-date forms of therapy.
- Is medical detox provided? Getting off of drugs and alcohol can be uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous without medical supervision. When someone stops drinking or using drugs they often times will experience withdrawal symptoms that can range from mild to severe. These withdrawal symptoms can last anywhere from a couple days to over a week, and during that time it is best that the patient is under the direct supervision of medical professionals like doctors and nurses. This is why finding a program that is able to offer medical detox is important.
- Is the program dual-diagnosis? For those with addiction and alcoholism that also have other mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and PTSD it is extremely important that those issues are treated at the same time as the substance abuse issues. For those individuals, dual diagnosis residential treatment facilities are the best choice because they are equipped to treat all of these issues simultaneously, increasing the chances of long-term success drastically. One of the most common causes of relapse for those new to recovery is untreated or undertreated mental health issues. This potential roadblock can be avoided by placing yourself or your loved one in a dual-diagnosis residential treatment program.
- Does the program offer aftercare? The best treatment programs don’t just stop with residential treatment. Because recovering from drug addiction and alcoholism require a patient to learn how to live their entire lives without drinking or using drugs, continued treatment once a patient completes their residential program is always recommended. This allows a person to ease back into their everyday life while still having the support and accountability of an aftercare program. While a patient can choose to attend an aftercare program that is not connected to the residential treatment program they attended, most of the best programs have their own aftercare which allows the patient to continue to work with the same counselors and staff which they developed relationships with during their initial phase of treatment. This continuity of care has been shown to improve success rates and drastically increase a patient’s overall experience.
While this list outlines some of the most important things to consider when deciding on a residential treatment center, often the most important thing to consider is your intuition. Try not to blindly decide on a facility without doing as much research as possible. If you can, you’re the program and see it for yourself. Speak with the counselors and ask to be taken through the typical day of a patient to get the clearest picture of exactly what treatment at their program is going to be like. Trust your gut feeling, if something seems off about a program then there is probably a reason for that.
Getting treatment for drug and alcohol abuse is often one of the most important decisions a person can make. Because substance abuse is often a life or death situation, making sure that the residential treatment program you end up choosing is the best available sometimes means the difference between success and failure.