Drug and alcohol addiction are complex and destructive illnesses. For users, it affects various important areas of the brain from those involved with reward and motivation to those that govern memory, learning and even self-control. Harmful and negative behaviors resulting from drug abuse often interfere with one’s ability to function normally among healthy family, friends, coworkers and the community at large. Over prolonged periods of time, the effects of drug and alcohol abuse can weaken an individual’s ability to make good choices and lead a healthy life. For addicts, finding and taking drugs or alcohol can become compulsive and take over their lives. But there’s hope.
Some individuals are more susceptible than others to addiction. While researchers don’t know for certain what makes a user start using and keep using, factors that can impact the likelihood of substance abuse depend on everything from genetic makeup to the age one was initially exposed to drugs and alcohol, as well as other social and environmental influences. The truth is, anyone can become an addict regardless of race, religion, sexuality, gender or class. Addiction is not an outcome of a person’s character flaws. It is truly an equal opportunity disease.
So you or a loved one has decided to seek help. Congratulations! But what happens next? Before committing to a treatment plan, prospective clients or their families should do ample research into various types of facilities and programs. For some, it is helpful to get an independent assessment of their need for treatment. This means checking the credentials of a program’s personnel and deciding if a program is a good fit for your recovery goals. Will your therapist be a physician? Is he or she should be certified by the American Board of Addiction Medicine? Does the facility’s approach to treatment compliment your belief systems and values? Asking these important questions can help shape what your treatment plan should be and the type of facility where you should receive treatment. It will also help you determine if you should also seek additional therapy for any underlying conditions like depression and anxiety that could ultimately sabotage recovery if left untreated.
Some questions to ask about rehabs when researching what’s right for you or a loved one include: the facility’s primary area of expertise; their success rate after one year; the variations in their success rate for different abused substances; is a particular facility better suited for men, women, or teens who are struggling with substance abuse issues; the size and location of the facility; and if insurance accepted, what types and the length of treatment covered. One of the most important questions to research is what a facility’s approach to aftercare is and, specifically, how it handles client relapse. Getting answers to these questions will help you determine the best facility for the situation at hand and give you peace of mind as you begin your journey to sobriety.
If you or a loved one is looking for effective drug rehab treatment options, start your search with a rehab that has proven success rates. There are a wide variety of programs that are offered across the country from Boston to Los Angeles. Southern California, for example, is home to some of the most effective drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs and treatment centers in the United States. All of these facilities feature unique perks and programming, from 12-step, to couple friendly counseling and low staff-to-client ratios. Some even have unique academic programs that allows clients to earn as many as 15 college credits while undergoing treatment. There are also holistic, integrative psychological approaches to addiction treatment and gender-specific therapy that’s uniquely designed to build strong support systems for men and women in their treatment programs.
Because there is no standard definition of rehab, and there is also no standardized way to evaluate the success of addiction treatment centers. Rates are calculated by each facility considering a variety of factors. Many programs calculate their success rates on soft metrics, such as number of clients who have completed of the program, sobriety rates immediately following treatment, client interviews and testimonials, and internal studies which can be biased. A good rehab facility won’t just treat an addict’s physical addiction; it also treats the mental addiction.
Experts suggest that a better approach in evaluating treatment success rates involves judging the actual quality of care a facility provides, both during and after the formal treatment period.
To determine a rehab’s success and recovery rate, ask if a treatment center tracks the progress of clients’ after their stay. Having data on outcomes for clients at least one year after leaving treatment will give you better insight into the kind of progress you can also expect as a client.
A common question about rehab is how long must a client stay in order for it to truly be effective. Unfortunately there’s no right answer. According to the US National Institute on Drug Abuse, rehabilitation programs of at least 90 days or longer are most effective for recovery. Others find that they are ready to return to the real world in as little as 30 to 45 days. A few factors can influence the duration of time you or a loved one should spend in rehab including your physical, emotional and mental state when you enter rehab, your unique medical and psychological needs, how long your insurance will cover your stay, and your schedule and lifestyle. For many people to completely conquer an addiction, the support they need could extend to a year or more. Again, everyone is different and only you can decide—with proper guidance from trained professionals—what course of treatment is right for you.
Be sure to understand your range of options before committing to a particular facility. Other factors notwithstanding, sometimes the best place for treatment is the place that will admit you today. Successful recovery can vary widely from one individual to the next. Every circumstance is different, and so is every treatment program. Choose the one that most closely meets your lifestyle and needs.
Receiving individualized attention is a critical component of you or a loved one’s recovery. While staff-to-client ratio vary from facility to facility, as a general rule of thumb, the lower the ratio the more personal, customized and effective the care one receives. Upscale facilities like Cliffside Malibu, for example, maintain a strict four counselor to one client ratio. This ensures that clients are being treated as individuals and not a number.
At the best rehabs in the country, drug and alcohol counselors, therapists and nurses prioritize your health and wellbeing above all else. This means a facility’s trained staff of counselors and medical professionals create customized recovery plans based around you or your loved one’s specific sobriety goals. Treatment may vary in the types and intensity of services offered. Depending on the facility, you can expect various levels of medical care from 24-hour supervised attention to lower-intensity outpatient counseling.
The American Society of Addiction Medicine has laid out five main levels of treatment in the continuum of care for addiction to drugs and alcohol: early intervention services, outpatient services, intensive outpatient and partial hospitalization services, residential and inpatient services, and medically managed intensive inpatient services. For many patients at facilities, the program starts with detox and, if necessary, a client’s medically managed withdrawal. Detox is the process by which the body clears itself of drugs and alcohol and can be dangerous if not supervised by trained medical professionals. Every addictive substance is different and produces its own effects on an addict’s brain and body. Because of these differences, treatment and detox for varies depending on the substances abused but typically lasts between three and 10 days.
Rehab should be a safe, peaceful and comfortable place to rediscover who you are and establish new beliefs and habits, all while practicing positive lifestyle changes. At luxury facilities like the aforementioned Cliffside Malibu, for example, clients can expect to enjoy a spacious and stylish room, excellent culinary options, access to nature and a well-balanced, structured schedule that prioritizes time for self-reflection and meditation.
Whether you opt for an outpatient 12-step program or an inpatient extended-stay course of treatment, making an informed choice for yourself or your loved one is the first step in the right direction. Recovering from drug and alcohol addiction can be a very long and challenging process, especially if you try to go it alone. Under the care of a treatment facility, however, you or a loved one will get the addiction support needed while surrounded by peers and professionals who want help you recover from your addiction. Ongoing counselling after rehab with a plan for aftercare that involves trained professionals, family and friends, will be crucial to ensure your recovery and to open a whole new world of possibilities in sobriety.