How to find the right treatment program for yourself or a loved one.
Merriam-Webster defines addiction as a strong and harmful need to regularly have something (such as a drug) or do something (such as gamble). It is also defined as a compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal.
Noone sets out to become addicted to a substance such as alcohol or drugs, but there are a number of factors that can make some people more predisposed than others to become dependant. Risk factors include family history of abuse, your social environment, and your emotional health. Whatever the situation, there is one thing that all addicted individuals share…the need for help to conquer their addition. A quality treatment program not only addresses the abuse, it also addresses the emotional pain and other life problems that contribute to the addiction.
There are as many forms of substance abuse treatment as there are forms of abuse, maybe more. Every person who is dealing with addiction to a substance such as alcohol or drugs has different needs and will respond to a rehabilitation program or treatment facility in their own way. Generally, the longer and more intense the substance abuse is, the longer and more intense the treatment will need to be.
What to look for in a substance abuse treatment program.
When you start looking for substance abuse treatment, you may see advertisements for programs in tranquil settings with gorgeous views. While amenities like that are nice to have, they likely come with a big price tag. Focus on what is truly important: appropriate licensing, quality of care during the program, follow-up services, and staff credentials. Things to check include:
Program accreditation and licensing. Make sure the treatment program is accredited by the state it’s in. Also check to ensure that the program is run by licensed, well-trained mental health professionals and addiction specialists.
The effectiveness of the program’s treatment methods. Treatment centers should have at least some statistics on their success rates, preferably from an objective outside agency.
Type of aftercare services to prevent relapse. Is there a well-run aftercare program? Does it provide referrals to other recovery services and support groups in the community? Also make sure that a staff member will collaborate with you to create a discharge plan before you leave the program.
Types of Substance Abuse Treatment Programs
Residential treatment. Residential treatment involves living at a treatment facility while undergoing intensive treatment during the day. Residential treatment normally lasts from 30-90 days.
Partial hospitalization. Partial hospitalization is for people who require ongoing medical monitoring but have a stable living situation. These treatment programs usually meet at the hospital for 3-5 days a week, 4-6 hours per day.
Intensive outpatient program (IOP). Not a live-in treatment program, but it still requires a major time commitment. Intensive outpatient programs usually meet at least 3 days a week for 2-4 hours a day or more. The major focus is relapse prevention. These outpatient programs are often scheduled around work or school.
Counseling (Individual, Group, or Family). Works best in conjunction with other types of treatment or as follow-up support. Therapy can help you identify the root causes of your drug use, repair your relationships, and learn healthier coping skills.
Sober living. Normally follows intensive treatment like residential treatment. You live with other recovering addicts in a supportive drug-free environment. Sober living facilities are useful if you have nowhere to go or you’re worried that returning home too soon will lead to relapse.
Brief intervention. Only appropriate for those at risk for drug abuse or drug addiction, not those who have already developed a serious problem. Consists of several visits to a healthcare professional to discuss the harmful effects of drug abuse and strategies for cutting back.
How to Find a Substance Abuse Treatment Program
To find drug addiction treatment programs and addiction specialists in your area:
• Talk to your doctor
• Contact your health insurance company
• Find out if your job offers an Employee Assistance Program with addiction counseling
• Call local mental health clinics, community health centers, and hospitals
• Call SAMHSA’s referral helpline:
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers an extensive listing of licensed, certified drug and alcohol treatment facilities. You can access the database in two ways:
1. Use SAMHSA’s Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator to search online at www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov.
2. Call the referral helpline operated by SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment: 1-800-662-HELP 1-800-662-9832 (Español) 1-800-228-0427 (TDD)
Another place to look is your State Substance Abuse Agency. States often have their own listings, toll-free hotlines, and information about accreditation. You can also ask your doctor or therapist about programs they recommend.
How to pay for substance abuse treatment
Substance abuse treatment costs vary widely depending on your individual treatment needs, your insurance, and the facility. Here are some tips to help you pay for treatment:
Check your insurance. If you have health insurance, call the number on the back of your card to ask about your mental health and substance abuse coverage. Find out what your out-of-pocket costs will be, including deductible and co-payment amounts.
Look into programs that offer sliding scale or reduced payment options. Check with your state’s substance abuse agency or call SAMHSA’s helpline (1-800-662-HELP) to ask about affordable treatment in your area.