A drug and alcohol treatment center is a facility designed to help addicted individuals stop compulsive drug seeking and substance abuse. These individuals may be suffering from an alcohol use disorder, a drug use disorder, or multiple co-occurring disorders involving substance abuse. Easy enough, right?
Well, when you are researching potential treatment options for a loved one, the process is anything but simple. This is because every drug and alcohol treatment facility is unique – differing in their treatment approach, their philosophies, in the demographics they work with, as well as the types of programs they offer. As the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) explains, “Treatment can occur in a variety of settings, take many different forms, and last for different lengths of time.”
Drug and alcohol treatment will never be one-size-fits-all. Every person coming to these centers has a different background, a different drug of choice, and a different history of using drugs. They also have different reasons for getting to that point in the first place, and different responses to treatment as a result. Their level of success in treatment will largely depend on:
- The extent and nature of the person’s problems;
- The appropriateness of treatment;
- The availability of additional services; and
- The quality of interaction between the person and his or her treatment providers
If you are looking for a drug and alcohol treatment center for your loved one, it is important that you don’t look for any rehab available, as they are not all created equal. Instead, think about the setting where your loved one will be most successful. Seek out the signs of an effective treatment center, as detailed by the NIDA, and look for:
- Treatment centers that individualize client care. When a person enters drug or alcohol treatment, there is always more than what meets the eye. That person may suffer from other health-related issues, like HIV or chronic depression, and may require a very integrated level of care. Oftentimes, people come carrying other occupational, legal, familial, and social troubles with them to treatment. Not to mention, they all have different needs in general, depending on their age and gender, among other factors. It’s important that these aspects are all considered – and addressed – through a tailored treatment plan.
- Treatment centers that continue to tailor client care. As a person moves through their drug or alcohol treatment program, they will change and evolve – in their attitudes, their mental and emotional health, as well as their sense of self. Their responses to certain treatments or therapies might also change along the way. Therefore, it’s very important that a treatment center can accommodate any potential changes (or even hiccups) that might arise in the recovery process. An individual's treatment plan must be assessed continually and modified as necessary to ensure that it meets his or her changing needs.
- Evidence-based treatment centers. In other words, find a drug and alcohol treatment center that bases its programs on real research and results, that uses a range of evidence-based practices such as behavioral therapy (such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or contingency management), medications, or a combination. Of course, the specific type of treatment plan will vary depending on a client’s individual needs and, most often, on the types of drugs they use.
- A combination of therapy approaches. Because every addiction story is unique, every addicted individual will have different responses to treatment. For some, individual counseling may work well. For others, group therapy may provide the social reinforcement they need to stay sober. In addition to counseling or psychotherapy, a patient may also require medical services, family therapy, vocational rehabilitation, and/or legal services. Look for a treatment center that offers a multitude of therapies, to meet the greater needs of individuals in recovery.
- Long-term drug and alcohol treatment programs. As you may know, addiction is a chronic and compulsive disease. It is extremely difficult to go cold-turkey, and near-no one can recover from a substance use disorder overnight or in a few days’ time. As much as you may want the shortest route of treatment, think about the long-term success of your loved one. Addiction recovery is a marathon, not a sprint. And because it is chronic – and characterized by relapse – the NIDA suggests that “short-term, one-time treatment is usually not sufficient. For many, treatment is a long-term process that involves multiple interventions and regular monitoring.” At least 3 months of (residential) drug and alcohol treatment is recommended, though outcomes are greater with longer durations of treatment.
Not all drug and alcohol treatment centers are the same, nor are they one-size-fits-all. Rather, different tactics, different philosophies, and different facilities (among other list items) can make a program unique. So, most of all, when researching drug and alcohol treatment centers in and outside of your area, be sure to ask questions – questions about their approach, their mission, their support and clinical staff, and their care for clients. Often, asking questions can be the biggest help of all in narrowing places down. The answers you get from a substance use treatment center will tell you a lot about their views of addiction, their attitudes, their methodologies, and their devotion to each individual’s recovery journey. (Check out the top 10 questions to ask here.)
Turnbridge is a preeminent drug and alcohol treatment center in Connecticut, with programs for young adults and adolescents battling addiction. For more information about our programs, please do not hesitate to call 877-581-1793.