What to Look for in an Addiction Treatment Center
I very often get letters from frustrated, frightened parents of grown children who are addicts. These family members are desperate for help because they have sent their loved ones to countless treatment facilities to no good end. The addicts are still using and the family is dead broke. Before you spend every dollar in your retirement account or put a second mortgage on your house, consider these tips for finding an appropriate treatment facility for your loved one.
- Long term care is generally needed. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is clear that treatment of a duration less than 90 days is generally of little efficacy. Don’t waste your money on a treatment program that is of insufficient length. Find a quality treatment program that works to outcomes and use every single bit of insurance coverage that you have, recognizing that when that runs out, the family will have to foot the bill for the rest. This is far better than multiple short term stints in rehab where the addict has little chance of gaining a foothold on recovery. Before your loved one checks in, talk to the facility about a negotiated price for care after the insurance runs out. If your loved one is motivated to get clean and doesn’t cause problems in treatment, the facility is very likely to work with you to come to some agreement on prices for extending services.
- Ask questions about staff, therapies, treatment outcomes, and facilities. If your loved one had cancer, you would look into different doctors, treatment practices, and hospitals before choosing a treatment team. You’d want to know costs and outcomes. You’d want to know about quality of life during and after treatment, and long-term recovery rates. These are exactly the same questions you should consider when looking for an addiction treatment facility. There are all sorts of treatment therapies and models that treatment centers use. Some are abstinence-based and some use medication-assisted treatment (MAT). There are centers that are based on the 12-step model of recovery and others that use holistic therapies. Most important, only a small number of centers track their clients to know what their outcomes are once they leave the facility. You need to know that you are paying for the best quality of care you can afford for your loved one. Ask a lot of questions.
- Local is not better. One of the mistakes I see families make again and again is sending their loved one to the nearest treatment center, assuming that all treatment centers are basically the same. In some areas of the country, there is a backlog of wait lists and beds may not be available for months. Another problem with staying local is that the addict still has access to the friends, dealers, and family system that supports their addiction. What you must do instead is find a treatment center that gives the services you want at a price that you and your insurance can afford. You also need to get the individual in immediately. People often die waiting for a treatment bed. Consider those treatment centers in places like California and Florida that have top reputations and beds available.
- Educate Yourself. One of the reasons families abdicate their power to others is that they don’t know much about addiction treatment. If your loved one had diabetes, you’d learn everything you could about diabetes, including the very latest treatments. The research in addiction treatment has come a long way in the last five years. Read about the neurological understandings of addiction and how it’s radically changing the way the top treatment centers treat addiction. Find out about psychotherapy and how change occurs in human beings. There is a great deal to know and the more you know, the better able you’ll be to choose a quality addiction treatment facility that will help your loved one recover.