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There are more than 13,000 substance addiction recovery centers across the United States. The state requirements for certification vary from state to state. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), there are several different classifications addiction rehabilitation centers.

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Residential Treatment Centers

Patients are admitted to a residential treatment center and remain there until they've successfully completed an intensive treatment protocol and new lifestyle building skills are proven. There is no preset time frame for alcoholics or drug addicts, but the average inpatient residency lasts between 60 and 90 days. There are many different types of inpatient recovery programs, including gender-based centers, sexual preference-based centers, age-based centers and faith-based facilities.

Residential Treatment Centers put heavy emphasis on relapse prevention during and after enrollment. One of the biggest advantages of this type center is that the patient is removed from the influences and environment that enabled the addiction.

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)

While patients are not required to live at the treatment facility, intensive outpatient programs are demanding and require dedication, compliance and time. Most IOPs meet a minimum of 3 days per week for 3-4 hours per session. Many IOPs have stricter schedules. IOPs also place a heavy emphasis on aftercare support and session attendance. The disadvantage of this therapy is that, upon returning home from each session, the addict may be surrounded by the influences and an unhealthy lifestyle that fosters the addiction. The biggest advantage of IOPs is that the patient can usually attend work or school and stay in close contact with their family during treatment.

Counseling (Individual, Group, or Family)

Individual, group and family therapy may or may not be incorporated in a drug addiction treatment center's protocol. As a standalone approach, counseling is usually less effective than other therapies. However, most treatment programs incorporate elements of individual and group therapy. Family therapy is encouraged when family members have issues that should be addressed, when the family can be a source of support, or when the family environment may be a contributing factor to the chemical addiction.

Sober Living Programs

Sober Living Programs are a relatively new therapy designed as part of an aftercare initiative. Sober Living is designed for those addicts who do not have a sober living environment to return to or for individuals who may benefit from a residence occupied by other addicts who are also seeking re-entry into the workplace or community.

Brief Interventions

Brief interventions are more effective at treating symptoms of substance abuse than they are for persons who are truly drug or alcohol addicted. Brief interventions include awareness counseling from psychologists, psychiatrists and physicians. The goal of a brief intervention is to make the candidate aware of the risks of substance abuse and to help develop and implement strategies to curtail excessive alcohol consumption. These interventions can often be arranged by courts, physicians, employers, family or friends.

How to Choose an Addiction Recovery Program

Drug and Alcohol Recovery Centers use different therapies to treat each patient. The center may have a core program, such as the 12-step program created by Alcoholics Anonymous. While this is the standard for most addiction recovery facilities, each center may have variations to the program.

In addition to the 12-step program, other innovative treatment programs are Hazelton, Cognitive Behavioral and Motivation Enhancement. Programs may include elements of other therapies. The individual attempting to choose the best addiction treatment program should be aware of the type of therapies offered by the center.

Basic Decision Making Factors

SAMHSA lists several basic considerations before choosing a treatment program:

  • Program Accreditation - Programs who have achieved state and industry accreditation are strongly recommended.
  • Licensing - Only licensed treatment centers should be considered.
  • Treatment Center Statistics - Most reputable centers maintain certain statistics including success and/or relapse rates. Most centers will provide you these statistics. Place greater emphasis on statistics provided by an independent third party.
  • Aftercare Policy - Aftercare is mandatory for most treatment programs, courts and employers. Residential treatment centers and outpatient centers will refer relocated patients to aftercare programs in a more convenient location. Candidates for treatment should make sure the center will make these referrals after completion of the program.

Drug/Alcohol Addiction Treatment Questions

There are many concerns that the new enrollee should have about the rehab facility. By addressing these issues in an organized manner in advance, most reservations can be settled and will pave the way to a positive treatment experience. Most of these questions can be asked by a concerned individual or the addict themselves.

Every individual may have different priorities when structuring these questions and evaluating the responses.

  • What is the goal and protocol of the treatment program and what should I expect?
  • What licenses and certifications does the treatment center have?
  • What are the credentials of the center's staff?
  • Is there a waiting list for admittance?
  • If residential, how long should I expect to stay?
  • Do you accept my insurance?
  • Are there state or federal programs that will help underwrite the cost of my treatment?
  • How will I be expected to pay?
  • Does the facility offer financing?
  • What services are included in your fees?
  • What services are not included in the fees?
  • Are emergency medical services or other medical services available at the center if needed?
  • Is the center qualified to administer medicated detoxification for withdrawal and pain management?
  • What activities are mandatory and which ones are optional?
  • Are the program's counselors or therapists licensed and certified?
  • What therapeutic model or theories serves as the core of treatment program?
  • Are staff members experienced with my specific type of addiction?
  • Is the facility qualified to treat dual diagnoses?
  • How will the center prepare me for return to real world?
  • Will the facility develop and explain my discharge plan?
  • Will I be referred to an aftercare program in my own community?
  • Will family and friends be permitted to contact or visit me?
  • Will family and friends be asked to participate in counseling?

Final Considerations

The ability of the center's clinical technicians, physicians and support personnel to develop and administer the correct treatment protocol for the individual is the most important element in the recovery process.

Asking the right questions and pursuing the answers will ensure the selection of the most appropriate treatment center.