What to Look For in a Treatment Center

Once you have made the courageous decision to get treatment, you may want to check into the closest option to home, or you may want to look into the options available to you. If you want to shop around, there are many factors you could consider to select the right treatment center for you.

Some facilities only treat either men or women, while others treat both. If they are working with both men and women, you’ll want to know what they do together and how often.

What protocols do they have for fraternizing? Are you a member of the LGBTQ community? Does the facility support this?

You can expect to go through an intake process which usually involves a medical assessment. There will be several professionals coordinating your care,typically including a psychiatrist, medical doctors and physicians assistants. Find out how often each one will be seeing you. Clinicians will also assess if you have a dual diagnosis, which is a mental health diagnosis and a substance abuse disorder simultaneously. Find out who evaluates for a dual diagnosis, and when this is done.

Who works at the treatment center? And what can you expect? There will likely be a Director of Clinicals who has their Masters Degree, and is a PhD. Do all of the clinical staff have their Masters? Do they have interns, and if so, what is their role in your treatment? How many beds do they have and what is the ratio of patents to counselors. How often do you meet with the counselors as a group versus individually?

Some centers include the client’s family in the treatment program. This may consist of counseling sessions, education and/or visits. Find out what to expect.

What are the detox protocols for opioids, alcohol, benzodiazepines, and methamphetamines? These can vary; inquire about the details to be sure you are comfortable with the care you will receive. Some additional therapies offered may be DBT or CBT, as well as trauma therapies like EDMR, ETT, and EMT. Are you interested in equine, ropes, music, art, yoga, fitness or nutrition? Ask if they are part of the services that could be incorporated into treatment.

For many treatment centers, 12 step meetings are part of the schedule . If they have patients participate in this, are they held on or off campus, and how frequently would you attend? Do they invite speakers to come?

Certain items and behaviors may not be permitted such as computers, phones, phone calls, smoking, and vaping. Be sure to ask about what is and is not allowed.

A few last things to investigate: There are likely to be protocols in place for clients who do not participate in the treatment plan. It is a good idea to learn what they are. Also, ask if the treatment center is accredited by the Joint Commission- this is not required but is one way they can demonstrate their commitment to providing high-quality care. The Joint Commission’s standards for addiction treatment centers include requirements for patient rights, assessment and treatment planning, staffing, and physical safety. Know what to expect once you are admitted. Are you allowed to leave? And what is the duration of a typical stay?

Once you have completed the program, congratulations! The first big step in your recovery journey is complete. If you would like aftercare, see if your treatment center will help with this or if you will need to look elsewhere. Some offer Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), which can help you overcome the withdrawal symptoms, prevent relapse and sustain recovery. Examples of medications used for this purpose are suboxone, vivitrol, methadone, and buprenorphine. If this is something you are interested in, find out if you are a candidate, and then check if the facility incorporates this into their treatment regimens.

When people graduate from a recovery program, they might go on to intensive outpatient treatment (IOP), transitional living or sober living. You can find independent programs for these, although some treatment centers offer these programs as well. Alumni programs will also potentially be available.