The time has come where you or a loved one have reached a stage of readiness to seek help for a drug or alcohol addiction. This is undoubtedly a scary and challenging time, and it has taken a while to get to this point. To be ready to seek help, one has to get to the point where they admit that addiction has taken over control of part or all of your life. The time has come to take that control back. Attaining this level of acceptance is tough, and making the decision to seek help is even tougher; but now what? Where do you go from here? How do you choose the right place to go? The truth is, not all rehabilitation centers are created equally, and it is essential that you ask the right questions before deciding what the best direction is for you (or for your loved one). Below is a list of questions that are important to ask the staff at any rehab facility you are considering. If a prospective facility hesitates or chooses not to answer your questions, they aren’t the place for you.
1) What type of detox does your addiction treatment program offer?
The first step towards healing from addiction to heroin, alcohol, or opiate addictions is the process of detoxification or detox. For many people, this is an unpleasant process but necessary for the body to cleanse and heal. Facilities from one end of the country to another offer different types of detox programs to help their clients cleans their bodies of the toxins and chemicals that have attached themselves to the brains, internal organs, and systems of the body. There isn’t any part of the body that is not affected in some way by substance use.
Substance use-especially long term, chronic substance use- has a severe impact on normal brain function. When the body goes through the withdrawal process, the body has to struggle to regain normal function in the absence of the chemicals it has become accustomed to. Unfortunately, this process also produces severe physical and emotional responses. This is why detox should always take place under close medical supervision to assure the health and wellbeing of the person.
There are different types of detox, and while you are researching potential facilities, it is essential for you to understand what the different types are and what each rehab facility offers.
Alternative Detox– (also known as natural detox or herbal detox)- These types of detox methods rely on the individual removing toxins associated with drug and alcohol use from their system by sweating them out. When utilizing this type of detox, medical staff is not always on hand in case of an emergency. If a prospective facility offers this form of detox, it will be necessary for you to determine if the medical staff is present or not, and if you are comfortable with this procedure.
Medically assisted or medically monitored detox- These types of detox programs are just as they sound. During the detox process, medical staff is present to monitor critical vital indications such as blood pressure, heart rate, and other pertinent vital signs that could signal distress while a person is experiencing detox. In some cases, the medical staff is only capable of monitoring vital signs, not intervening in the case of an emergency. If a medical emergency occurs, the team would need to call for immediate medical assistance.
Medical detox- During a medical detox process, the individual is monitored around the clock by trained medical professionals. Not only are their vital signs monitored but, trained medical staff is standing by to administer safe medications to ease withdrawal symptoms or to intervene in the case of medical emergency such as a heart attack or seizure. These medications are considered safe and chosen/administered according to the person’s length of abuse, type of drug abused, and other essential factors that influence treatment.
In almost every case, the process of detoxing the body from drugs and alcohol will result in intensely uncomfortable symptoms, including tremors, fevers, and vomiting. It is not abnormal for these symptoms to be medically life-threatening (such as seizures, heart attacks, and strokes), and it is best to make sure you or your loved one are not alone while this process takes place. This is why it is vital to ask any potential rehabilitation facility what type of detox program they offer. This way, you have a clear understanding of what the facility is and is not capable of providing for detox assistance.
2) What types of treatment modalities does your rehab offer?
Just as with their detox program offerings, different rehabilitation facilities offer various treatment modalities as well. These can include treatment modalities such as dual diagnosis, dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), Faith-based rehab, adventure therapy, and trauma-based therapy. There are many other possible treatment modalities as well, but the above all have proven results when it comes to the treatment of substance abuse. Below is a brief explanation of each of these treatment modalities. This may help you to determine in advance what type of treatment modality you feel may be the most beneficial to you or your loved one.
Dual diagnosis: If you or your loved one is dealing with an underlying mental or behavioral health issue in conjunction with their addiction, treatment for dual diagnosis may be the best course of action. Many facilities will advertise that they treat co-occurring disorders but are lacking in adequately trained staff to make this possible. When it comes to this form of treatment, it is essential to ask the following:
- Is there a psychiatrist or similarly trained provider on staff?
- Does your facility have staff on site who are capable of making a diagnosis for co-occurring disorders?
- Is your staff capable of medically treating co-occurring disorders?
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy: One of the most popular and proven therapies for addiction treatment is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy or DBT. This treatment modality is used to treat substance addiction while addressing other related substances such as self-destructive behaviors, aggression, and depression. True Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is not as simple as group therapy. Many treatment centers advertise Dialectical Behavioral Therapy as a treatment modality but do not offer all of the elements of the program. To determine if a potential rehabilitation facility offers a full Dialectical Behavioral Therapy program, you can ask the following questions:
- Does your facility follow the full Dialectical Behavioral Therapy model, including skills training and recovery coaching? A comprehensive Dialectical Behavioral Therapy contains many elements, including individual therapy, group therapy, recovery skills coaching, diary cards, and team consultation.
- Is there an ongoing Dialectical Behavioral Therapy program evaluation? If the answer is no, the facility does no offer a full Dialectical Behavioral Therapy program.
- Is there ongoing team consultation?
- Are all of the clinical staff trained in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy? Or just a portion of the staff?
Faith-based rehabilitation- Throughout the country, there are very few biblical-based drug and alcohol rehab programs. It is common for people to be confused as to the difference between a paid Christian Drug Rehabilitation program and the free counseling services offered through church groups. There is proven evidence that pastoral based addiction treatment often has a positive, long-term outcome, but it is essential to understand what the program is before signing up.
Adventure therapy- Adventure therapy uses experiences to improve mental health. The experiences should include activities that are not only therapeutic but also physically, emotionally, and mentally challenging for the individual who is participating. Adventure therapy should not be confused with wilderness survival. The goals of adventure therapy should include helping the individual to learn skills that will help them cope with mental health issues and past traumatic experiences, which have led them to addiction.
3) Who are the professionals you have on staff?
While you or your loved one are involved in a rehab program, it is essential to know who will be looking after you (or them). The rehabilitation process is a significant life event that is scary, transformative, and enlightening. It is not something that should be done without someone looking out for you. A rehabilitation program is only as good as the staff providing care. To truly understand the capability of the staff, it is vital to understand their level of education and experience. Ask questions such as:
- What type of degrees and licenses do your staff members have? Therapists should have at least a master’s level degree in behavioral science and/or social work. Doctors and medical providers should be board certified in Addiction Medicine. Social workers who are on staff should also hold a master’s level degrees.
- What is your staff to client ratio? In addition to understanding the certification and education of the treating staff, it is also valuable to know if there are enough of them on staff to treat the clients they have adequately. The ratio of staff to clients should be low. This will help to ensure that each therapist has the time and energy required to provide quality counseling to each client. It will also help to ensure that the staff is not spread so thin that burnout or feel rushed and thereby lack the ability to clearly communicate and listen to their clients. Peer to peer relationships are also very important in the addiction treatment recovery process.
4) What type of aftercare does your facility provide?
Treatment and recovery do not end when someone walks out the door of a rehabilitation center. The days and weeks following the treatment process are critical to a successful recovery. The early days of recovery are when relapse is the most likely. When you are speaking with the staff at the rehabilitation center, it is essential to ask when it happens after someone graduates from their program. After the program ends, does the person still have a case manager? Will the facility help them to find a sober or transitional living facility if they require a place to stay? Will the center help them to find a therapist in their living area with whom they can continue treatment on an outpatient basis? What kind of follow up will be provided after treatment ends?
These are all fundamental aspects of the after-care process. Relapse is prevalent in addiction recovery. Many people who enter a rehabilitation facility have been there once before. Sadly, approximately one in ten people who go to rehab has been there before (in some cases as many as five times). Proper aftercare and follow-through by treatment providers can be essential to a person achieving success.
5) What kind of results do you expect me to get from your rehab program?
The truth is, different programs often expect different results and measure success with very different metrics. Some programs consider success to be a person who continues to attend meetings or take their prescribed medications. Others consider success as a person who remains sober or “clean” after returning home. Still, others consider success as a person who successfully completes their stay in a rehabilitation facility. It is essential for you to determine what your vision of success is and choose a facility which measures success by the same measure. If you have a higher expectation of success than the facility you choose, your needs may not be compatible.
6) What is the duration of your program?
The most common type of drug rehab program is the 28-day program. For some people, this may not be long enough to achieve a state of stable sobriety. This is especially true for those who have experienced a relapse in the past or for whom addiction has been a long-running battle. Addiction is a complex problem which involves physical, mental, and emotional challenges that all must be addressed for the person to heal. It is essential to determine the length of the program itself and the duration of the after-care options offered.
Multiple studies have indicated that when someone who is suffering from addiction arrives at rehab, they are often in a poor state of health. In addition to addiction, they are often suffering from malnutrition, anemia, and nutritional deficiencies that are impacting all of their body systems. It is essential that a complete addiction recovery program include nutritional support for the person in recovery. This will allow them to heal their total body. Nutritional deficiency can cause additional symptoms such as sleeplessness, depression, lack of energy, lack of appetite, and other issues that manifest as barriers to recovery.
Addiction is one of the most complicated illnesses to treat, and as a result, treatment requires a rehabilitation program that takes into account how complex addictive behavior is. It also needs to take into consideration the unique and individual needs of each person as everyone reacts to treatment differently. At The Hills, we offer a highly trained team of professionals who are trained in all aspects of rehab and recovery. Our programs are individually designed to meet the needs of the individual and their families. If you or a loved one are suffering from addiction and have decided its time to break the addiction cycle, contact us at The Hills and speak with an intake specialist. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have about our programs.