Drug Rehab is the First Step in Recovery from Addiction
How many times have you perhaps thought that you might quit drugs and alcohol on your own? Now think about how many times you actually did so, or, more importantly, even began the process? Chances are that you a) never quite got around to it, b) started to quit but gave it up at the first signs of cravings, or c) quit for a brief period and then went right back to your drug of choice in no time flat.
The truth is that you need professional help to really have the best chance at getting clean and sober and on the path toward healing and recovery. It takes time to undo all the bad habits you’ve fallen into, to rewire your brain that’s become so dependent on the drugs and alcohol that you’ve used so long, and to learn new and healthier ways of living that are free of substances.
What drug rehab is, in essence, is a training ground, a learning period during which you accumulate and practice strategies and techniques so that you can enter recovery on a more firm footing. In other words, drug rehab is the first step in recovery from addiction.
Following your decision to start your New Year right with drug rehab, upon completion of the program, you will then be encouraged to continue your ongoing learning process by attending 12-step group meetings, getting a sponsor and working the Twelve Steps, and creating and maintaining a strong support system that can help you get through the tough times and meet the challenges and opportunities that await you.
Finding a Drug Rehab
Now comes the action part, finding the right drug rehab facility for you. Choosing between treatment facilities requires several immediate choices. Types of treatment include the following:
- Public versus private
- Hospital versus clinic versus residential treatment
- Contracted with insurance versus private pay
- Non-profit versus partial scholarship
- Inpatient versus outpatient
What should you look for in a drug rehab center or treatment facility? Here is a checklist:
- Licensing – Check to see that the facility or center providing drug and alcohol treatment is licensed by the state.
- Qualified Method of Treatment – Is the treatment method qualified or not? Only qualified methods of treatment may be covered by insurance.
- Accreditation – What type of accreditation does the facility have? Accreditation can help solidify in your mind that the facility or center is a reliable treatment provider.
- Experience/Track Record – Does the treatment center or facility have experience with your type of addiction? What is their track record in treating patients with your particular addiction?
- Availability of Treatment – Is the treatment available when you need it?
- Special Needs – Do you require a facility that has expertise and an effective track record in treating teen addiction? Do you need a facility specializing in treatment of elderly addiction? Is your treatment required by court order?
- Detox – Many treatment facilities will not accept patients into treatment until they have undergone detox. Some facilities have in-house detox capabilities, while others may refer you to an outside detox center.
- Infectious Disease Assessment – Does the facility do an assessment to check for the presence of hepatitis B and C, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases? Do they provide counseling to clients to help them avoid certain behaviors that contribute to risk of infectious diseases? You want to assure yourself that the facility takes precautions for the safety of all its clients.
- Types of Treatment Methods – Most effective treatment centers utilize a multi-disciplinary approach to treatment. And each drug and alcohol treatment facility is different, so it is wise to check to see which methods of treatment they employ. Also inquire about the guiding principles of the program.
- Personalized Treatment Programs – One-size-fits-all treatment programs do not work. Each client has unique backgrounds, needs and requirements. Only personalized approaches to treatment are your best chance for success. Make sure the treatment facility you choose will tailor a treatment program to your needs.
- Adequate Treatment Time – Will the program you’re looking at offer an adequate amount of time for the treatment to work? If you have a long-standing addiction, this may involve months of time, not just a period of 21 to 30 days that may be appropriate for less severe or less chronic addiction.
- Treatment Doesn’t Have to be Voluntary – To be effective, treatment does not have to be voluntary. This is an important point to consider when the addict is a family member. The most important point is to find the best facility to treat that person’s addiction.
- Dual Diagnoses – Can the facility treat dual diagnoses effectively? Some addicts have both an alcohol and a drug problem. Others have a severe mental condition that must be treated on an integrated basis with addiction. There may be anxiety, depression, sexual abuse, aggression, eating disorders or other conditions in addition to drug and/or alcohol dependence. Does the facility have the staff, expertise and track record to deal with dual or co-occurring conditions?
- Frequent Reassessment – Does the treatment facility reassess clients’ treatment program on a frequent basis in order to meet the changing needs of the patient? Some therapies may need to be adjusted, new ones added, and ones that aren’t working or are no longer needed can be dropped. You want the assurance that the staff is constantly on top of your changing needs.
- Types of Facilities Provided – Healing the addict is one aspect of drug and alcohol treatment, but the mind, body and spirit need to be treated as well. Find out what other facilities are provided during your treatment, particularly if this is a residential treatment program.
- Outpatient Program – If you are considering or are a candidate for outpatient treatment, find out everything that’s included in the program. At a minimum, it should include counseling, psychotherapy, group discussion and other services.
- Continuous Monitoring – Are patients continuously monitored for possible drug use?
- Medications – Treatment for certain addictions requires the use of medications to be most effective – and to minimize or eliminate severe withdrawal symptoms. This is most effective when paired with counseling and types of behavioral therapies. Does the facility make use of medications in certain addiction treatment?
- Tour the Facility – It’s important to actually visit the drug and alcohol treatment facility. Does is feel comfortable? Is it in a pleasant setting? If a residential treatment center, does the atmosphere feel like home? Home-like accommodations are a tremendous benefit in helping patients with transition to a normal life, providing a realistic environment where they can practice the new skills they learn.
- Crisis Intervention – Does the facility have 24-hour crisis intervention to effectively deal with emergency situations?
- Family Program – Addiction affects the entire family. Does the facility have a program for family members that helps them learn to deal with the addict’s behavior and support him or her in recovery?
- Aftercare – Following treatment, aftercare is an essential part of the recovery process. This involves continued support to help the addict stay free of drugs and learn new ways of dealing with work, family and social situations that may have aggravated or contributed to drug or alcohol use in the past. Not every drug and alcohol treatment center or facility offers or provides aftercare. You really should search for one that does provide it.
Keep the end goal in sight when searching for the best drug and alcohol treatment center. You want to get off physical addiction to drugs, deal with the emotional and psychological baggage that addiction carries and help restructure your life so you can remain free of drugs and alcohol when you leave treatment. It’s also best to get everything you need in the same facility, rather than have to go to separate locations for detox, counseling, educational discussions, group meetings, and other services. Choose a drug and alcohol treatment center that is full-service – and one that best meets your needs.
Finally, remember that recovery is a lifelong process. This isn’t something you do for a certain period of time and then forget about it. When you choose treatment with a genuine commitment to remain clean and sober, it’s a decision you’re choosing for the rest of your life. Treatment, counseling and aftercare support are the only ways that you will ultimately be successful in your efforts.
In the end, what it takes to quit drugs all boils down to you. Do you really want to change? Are you ready and willing to do what it takes to get off drugs? Will you commit to it wholeheartedly? If the answer is yes, you are ready. Take the next steps. Start your New Year right with drug rehab. Do it for yourself and your future.