With all of the choices across the country and even outside of our borders, how does one choose the right rehab? This article will briefly address the basics, questions you should ask and the warning signs of potential trouble ahead. At Quit Alcohol we pride ourselves in weeding out the potential challenges you may face in your search. We find it important, however, that you do some homework as well.
The Basics to Choosing the Right Rehab
First and foremost you must determine what your personal needs are. Factors that are essential to take into account are your gender or gender identity, age appropriateness, relationship status, medical detox needs, level of care you believe you need, treatment protocols utilized, financial viability, and drug category, i.e. alcohol only, heroin or other opioids. Additionally, we all have varying needs and belief systems. We do not believe that there is one answer to all of the topics we will discuss, we simply want you to ponder and consider each before you decide. There are other factors but for brevity, in no specific order, we will look at these first.
Gender and Gender Identity
Gender Responsive or gender-specific facilities may be a good choice for you in order to keep your focus on you and your recovery. You are seeking help to overcome addiction and not begin a relationship. Many young people fall into the trap of seeking co-ed treatment facilities for the wrong reason. It is essential that our motives are right when choosing the type of facility we admit to.
There are several issues with age when it comes to addiction treatment. The bottom line is there is no secret recipe for right and wrong when it comes to age. However, what we have seen through the years is simple, an excuse to leave Against Medical Advice (AMA) can be avoided by thinking this through in advance. If you are an Alcohol only user (drinker) and in middle age, it is often difficult to tolerate the young heroin user for several reasons. I have seen through the years the middle age individual taking on a parental or grandparent role and losing their focus on themselves!
This is an individual factor to consider. Often our relationship and family life are in jeopardy. An agency that addresses family issues and offers family programs may be important to your long term success. Other issues may lie in your spouse having founded or unfounded suspicions of infidelity, therefore a gender-specific program may be in your best interest.
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The first thing you want to ensure is that the agency you are considering is addressing your potential for withdrawal. Does the agency have a withdrawal management process? Do they require a medical evaluation prior to admission? If you are in need of “detox” is it part of their agency or another agency? If they are sending you to an outside facility do they remain in contact with you during the detox stay?
Level of Care
The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) has specific criteria for what type of care you may need or qualify for. Most States utilize this or similar processes to determine your need. If you are utilizing your health insurance to pay for or supplement your care it is important to note that the insurer utilizes even more stringent guidelines than ASAM’s. Typically, the facility can evaluate you with simple questions to determine what level of care you require or qualify for. There is a huge misnomer circulating that the system is based on 30, 60 or 90 treatment stays. That at one time was the base however, that is not true today. This is not to minimize your commitment to a fixed period of time, in fact, the research indicates a 90-day stay is met with the best results.
You will see “Evidence-Based,” Measurement-Based,” and “Outcome-Based” therapies or treatment protocols discussed by treatment agencies. These are nothing to be taken lightly, however, there are things you want to look or listen for in your research. Read the “About Us” page of the agency. What is there focus? You may want to see an eclectic, flexible, but pointed system. If you see a complete focus on one protocol ask why. Additionally, just the opposite if it looks like they have no focus and are simply appealing to your likes or dislikes that may not be in your best interest. There is a difference between personalized treatment and advertising and marketing towards your likes or dislikes.
Theme based therapies can be extremely helpful to engage you in the process, but if you are simply being lured into a “resort style” atmosphere with no rue therapeutic process shipping you off to Mutual Support groups each evening you may want to rethink your choice. This is not a slight at those programs, simply a buyer beware, addiction and alcoholism is a serious condition, do not take this lightly.
Treatment providers lie most other professions have a wide range fee structure. Not always does spending more money equate to better treatment and vice versa less expensive is not always poor treatment! As I stated above, especially when it comes to health insurers, there are no fixed stays for addiction or alcoholism treatment. Treatment is based upon medical necessity typically utilizing the ASAM criteria. Providers bill by the day, they will often have a self-pay rate which takes into account the fact that you will pay in advance for a fixed period of time. Refunds are very rare so do not expect to admit and leave in a week and get ¾ of your money returned. Most facilities utilize an initial assessment fee coupled with their full daily rate and any other ancillaries, for instance, a daily room and board rate, bloodwork or lab work…
Get the billing arrangement set prior to admission. Contrary to popular belief, waiving your out of pocket is not acceptable. Of course, there are hardship and payment agreements made, but if an admissions person springs a waiver without getting at least a general overview of your household income and expenses, you may want to reconsider the agency you are choosing. Additionally, if the first question you hear from an agency representative on your initial call is, “what kind of insurance do you have?” You may want to look elsewhere as well. Look fiscal prudence is important, but, medical necessity should be the first concern by the agency or their representative.
Drug of Use or Drug Category
This is a slippery slope however, one that you may want to address. If you have an alcohol use disorder or you simply, “drink too much!” You may want to consider a facility that is not solely an Opioid treatment facility. Many facilities or agencies are eclectic in drugs of choice, as a drug is a drug and alcohol is a drug! But, if you have the opportunity to explore a facility that has an alcohol abstinence focus you may want to at least explore this option.
Deciding to seek treatment can be a daunting task. If you have never addressed alcoholism or addiction before beyond the fear of doing so, it is a major endeavor. You can change your life in such a positive manner but finding the right “Drug Rehab” or “Alcohol Rehab,” so take the next right step and do your research, however, do not allow yourself to utilize your desire to research to distract you or keep you from seeking medical help immediately. Ask, your family to help, ask or references when you call a facility and look for reviews online. Now not always are bad reviews bad, in fact, if a facility has no bad reviews I would be suspect! But, the main point is, if you need help, research and go for it!