The Do’s and Don’ts of Selecting a Rehab Program

Selecting a Rehab Program - the Dos and Don'ts
September 4, 2018
|   Updated:
November 11, 2021

Drug addiction, clinically known as substance use disorder is drawing more people in and the disease is spreading. Rates of drug and alcohol addiction have been growing, making it more important than ever for individuals to find treatment programs they can trust.

Unfortunately, there may be some treatment centers that will take advantage of the people that are seeking help. It is important to stay educated and up to date on substance abuse treatment services. Here is a list of some do’s and don’ts when selecting a drug or alcohol treatment program.

1. Do check to see if the treatment facility is licensed.

This is a straightforward and easy task. Any licenses or accreditations will be displayed on the treatment center’s website or should be within eyesight when you walk into their offices. This is just a simple way to check if the place you are going to has passed a threshold for competency and knowledge in the field. While this may vary by location, government and accrediting body websites will list who is accredited or if there have been any problems with their license.

2. Don’t believe anyone that promises you a cure to addiction.

We are not there yet. Addiction is a treatable condition, but it requires ongoing care and vigilance. It is a chronic disease that takes a lifetime of commitment to manage. Everyone’s experience with substance use disorder is different and to expect anyone to come in to a facility and be completely cured of it within a few weeks is suspect at best.

3. Do ask questions up front.

If staff cannot give you straight answers regarding cost, treatment strategies and goals, and their overall philosophy on treatment and addiction, then move on. Less respectable treatment facilities will hit clients with hidden fees and extra charges that are not disclosed upfront. Again, these are all red flags that should make you rethink enrolling in the program.

4. Don’t give up if you cannot afford it.

There are options beyond paying out of pocket for addiction treatment. Ask if they accept insurance, as most major carriers will pay for substance abuse treatment. Ask if they will set up a payment plan with you. Ask what types of government assistance you may qualify for; there are federal and state grants that go directly to helping provide substance abuse treatment to people who cannot pay for it on their own. Ask them if there are any scholarships or other opportunities that you may use to help pay for treatment. There are ways to pay for this; do not just give up when you see the price.

5. Do make certain that the addiction treatment facility follows an individual treatment model.

What this means is that they tailor the treatment program to meet your specific needs. If, for example, a person comes in with a history of being abused as a child and now drinks to cope with the horror of that, an individual treatment plan would include providing counseling around the abuse and helping them heal from that. Less effective treatment centers will follow a one size fits all model of treatment, where everybody gets the same therapy, no matter what. While this may be useful in getting a large number of people through treatment, it will miss a great deal of important opportunities to help clients heal from wounds that likely caused the substance use to begin with.

6. Don’t ignore your gut instinct.

Always talk to center representatives on the phone or in person before showing up for treatment. Get questions answered and be clear about what the process is going to be. Make certain everything is clearly spelled out for you. If you have a bad feeling about the program, respect that feeling and try to find another facility. Often, your instinct is more accurate than you think, and if it is telling you something is wrong, listen to it.

7. Do go to a treatment center that offers a step-down model of treatment or an aftercare program.

A step-down model ensures patients continue care after residential treatment is over, connecting them to programs such as partial hospitalization or day/night treatment. Recovery is a long process and having extra help beyond the initial treatment stay is necessary and will increase the chances that you will stay clean and sober. Treatment facilities that offer long-term solutions such as Remote Alcohol Monitoring demonstrate that they truly care about their patients results long after they have used the treatment service. Remote Alcohol Monitoring systems, such as Soberlink, allow those with Alcohol Use Disorder to document their sobriety and share it with their recovery circle for continued accountability that supports continued sobriety.

Summary of Do’s and Don’ts for Choosing a Rehab Center

With drug and alcohol addiction on the rise, staying educated on treatment options and services is a must. Above is a list of some do’s and don’ts for choosing a rehab center that is both knowledgeable and ethical in their treatment approach. They can work with you and do right by you. Above everything else, do not give up. Recovery happens every day for people and there are many effective treatment services out there to help you right now.


About the Author

Social worker and author, Jason Simpkins, has worked in the human service field for over 17 years, with experience in individual and family counseling, addiction, suicidology, and crisis intervention.

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