ID 60848737 © Sebast1an
Source: ID 60848737 © Sebast1an

The U.S. is on pace for 50,000-plus overdose deaths this year, as we saw in 2016, and 88,000 deaths from alcohol misuse. There is no indication that the federal government will follow through on past initiatives to stem the opioid abuse epidemic. Plans to cut Medicaid and repeal the Affordable Care Act could decimate treatment opportunities for those most in need.

The time to act, if you have a loved one in need of addiction treatment, is now. But how does one choose the best treatment center? Here are some questions that might help you find the best addiction treatment facility to meet your needs:

Do you have a bed available today?

Addiction treatment is a lifesaving intervention. The best treatment centers might have a wait of a day or two. Waiting for weeks is too long. Addiction is deadly. Go to the best place you can get into now.

What is your success rate?

You need to know if the treatment center tracks the progress of clients after they leave. Choose a treatment facility that tracks outcomes at least to one year after alumni leave the facility.

What is my expected length of stay?

The best treatment centers will be honest with you and say that the optimal length of stay is somewhere around 90 days, and work with your insurance provider to help cover as many days in treatment as possible. There should be no surprise that clients will be asked to “extend” beyond the first 30 days. Top treatment centers work to outcomes; four weeks is not enough time for most addicts to reach their treatment goals.

What is the cost per day or month for treatment? Do you take insurance?

The treatment provider will negotiate with your insurance provider to get as much covered as possible, but you still need to know what the cost of treatment is. If your loved one wants/needs to stay beyond the period covered by insurance, you’ll need to make plans to pay for that extended period.

What level of licensure, if any, do group leaders have?

You want all psychotherapeutic groups to be led by those who have credentials to lead such groups. Be sure that counselors, not “techs,” lead groups.

What does a typical schedule look like?

Look for a treatment plan that is individualized and active. There should be a balance between individual activities and groups. There should also be little down time. If insurance limits the number of days you have in treatment, you want those days to be full.

Is your facility licensed for dual-diagnosis?

More than half of all addicts enter treatment with addiction and another co-occurring psychological disorder, such as anxiety or depression, but the majority of treatment centers are not able to treat these co-occurring disorders. If you believe you may have a co-occurring disorder, be sure that the treatment facility is prepared to treat both issues.

Do you have specialists for pain and trauma treatment? 

If your loved one is an opioid abuser or has trauma in their background, you want a treatment center that specializes in these issues and provides services from highly qualified providers, using proven therapies.

What is your involvement in aftercare and how do you handle relapse? 

The most dangerous time for an individual is the period directly following treatment. A quality treatment facility will provide a detailed aftercare plan with vetted providers. The best facilities will bring relapsers directly back into treatment.

If you or a loved one needs care, don’t wait for a “bottom” or “willingness” or some magical moment in the future. Today is the day to make a change. Research treatment centers and find the best fit for you and your loved one today.

Dr. Scharff will discuss “how to choose an addiction treatment center” in a free, live webinar on Thursday, June 22 at noon PT. Tune in to ask questions or look for the recording after that date on YouTube.

About the Authors

Richard Taite

Richard Taite is the CEO and founder of the Cliffside Malibu Treatment Center in Malibu, California and co-author of the book Ending Addiction for Good.

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