Addiction Treatment


With the current opioid  and alcohol addiction on the rise choosing the right drug addiction treatment center is very important. There are approximately 14,500 treatment facilities in the US alone. Recovery centers do vary by specialization and choosing the right one should be the top priority of the individual. Each person has unique circumstances why he or she got addicted as there are many reasons. So it is important that rehabilitation be individualized.

It will take time and patience to see the results. The right program will make it much more likely that you complete the program successfully, leave the program sober, and maintain your sobriety after you return to your life. Choosing a drug and alcohol rehab center can be overwhelming and mind boggling for yourself or a loved one.  In this article I will point out to you why it is important to choose the right drug addiction treatment center. But first what is it I am aiming for in my treatment?

Decide what is your goal

Set Goals

First and foremost is why do you want to get treated? Motivation is the key here that will prompt you to seek treatment and come to realize that you have a drug problem that you want to deal with. What is the particular substance you are addicted to? Is it opioids, alcohol or tobacco abuse? Have I come to a point in my life that enough is enough and now I want to seek treatment? Am I having health problems because of the substances I have introduced  into my body and now it affects my activities of daily living, mentally, socially and spiritually?

If my goal to have a sober and free living, get a job and enjoy the activities of what life has to offer then it is time to seek treatment. What are the things that I should look for when choosing a substance abuse treatment center? Here are my top 8:

1. Does the program use evidenced based practices?

Patient Outcomes

Proven practices are the following :

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) –  CBT helps you become aware of inaccurate or negative thinking so you are able to see life’s challenges and situations more clearly and to respond to them in a more effective way by use of coping skills.
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) – DBT aims to teach people how to live in the moment, cope with stress, regulate emotions, and improve relationships with others.
  • Motivational Incentives (MI) – MI offers rewards in the form of cash or vouchers to reinforce behavior that is positive a way to keep the patient sober and to continue treatment
  • Group Therapy (GT) – GT provides the person to sit down in an interactive group setting where other members who are going through recovery discuss, empathize and share their life experiences and to learn from each other.

2. Length of Program – Inpatient or Outpatient

Psychiatrist interviewing patient

There are programs that are 30, 60 or 90 days in length. The average stay is 30 days. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse 90 day programs are recommended as they provide the best programs in preventing relapses. Research indicates that the length of stay to be a primary predictor of success.

The length of stay will determine how severe the drug abuse problem is. The best way is to get a determination from a psychiatrist who can best recommend to what type of program is more suitable for you. From there he or she can recommend one for you or you can call a drug abuse addiction treatment referral center online. What does an inpatient versus and outpatient offer?

  • Inpatient rehab center –  provides a more structured environment and provides the best treatment where there is a supervised medical detox providing a higher level of care 24 hours a day/7 days a week. The primary focus here is to remove the person from environments that trigger the substance abuse and to prevent further acquisition of the substance from a friend, relative or dealer. This type of treatment is for people with chronic substance abuse problems.
  • Outpatient  rehab center – provides treatment in an outpatient facility but does not disrupt their social life. They can go home afterwards. Compared to inpatient rehab, outpatient centers are typically quite a bit more affordable and offer more flexibility, and therapy is stretched out over a longer time period. Outpatient treatment is not usually recommended for severe addictions, but it may be a good choice for those with moderate or slight addictions.

3. Multidisciplinary Team Approach

Medical Staff Seated In Circle At Case Meeting

The program should include a mix of highly trained professionals to address all phases of the recovery process encompassing the mind, body and spirit to create an individualized treatment plan. An important thing to consider is to develop trust with the treatment team as patients want to feel safe.

A patient who calls in to a drug referral center starts with the intake specialist handling the phone call with empathy, concern and the ability to say ” It is okay that I am with you every step of the way until you recover and I am here to help.” Such a multidisciplinary team will include:

  • Chemical dependency counselor
  • Medical doctor
  • Nurse
  • Psychiatrist
  • Psychologist
  • Nutritionist
  • Wellness specialist
  • Spiritual care counselor

4. Mental Health Services

Cheerful female psychologist calming worried soldier

In addition the program should provide mental health services as a majority of substance abuse patients have a dual diagnosis of anxiety and depression. It is best to ask if the program has these services in order to get the best benefit. The recovery center should include the services of a psychiatrist, nurse, substance abuse counselors, case managers, rehab specialist, peer mentors, and programs that deal with employment search for those whom are ready to transition beyond the clinic. In addition there should be group activities that include wellness education programs such as yoga, tai chi, meditation, aromatherapy, walking groups and others.

In addition to a psychiatrist specially in an outpatient setting it is also wise to choose a program where there are family medicine services as nowadays behavioral health is integrated with physical medicine.

Most people with a dual diagnosis neglect their physical health due to obesity, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, STD , sleep disorders and poor personal hygiene. Most of the aforementioned diagnosis I see during my day to day encounter with my patients in an outpatient setting.

5. Medication Assisted Treatment

Medication Assisted Treatment

Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) is the use of medications together with counseling and behavioral health therapies for the treatment of substance abuse disorders. Medications used are Methadone, Naltrexone (Vivitrol) and Buprenorphine (Subutex) or Buprenorphine and Naloxone (Suboxone). These medications reduce the cravings and withdrawal symptoms of the abused drug.

The only drawback to these medications is that if the patient is takes the drug too early before detox  he or she can go into precipitated withdrawal which requires inpatient hospitalization. Such symptoms include excessive vomiting and diarrhea, intense sweating and other severe side effects.

6. Location

Treatment Center Location

It is true the importance of location maybe a factor that will contribute the total rehabilitation of the drug abuser. Some people prefer to go out of state just to get away from the source of their misery and have to look for a better environment taking time away from their normal life and to focus on recovery. Being away from home includes reasons family members who are currently addicted and refusing to go to treatment or being estranged from the family.

While others prefer locally as they want to keep in touch with their friends or family where they can be incorporated into their counseling sessions. Choosing the right facility can create a sense of comfort or anxiety.

It is best to look around for program locations in the internet or ask people who have been through the recovery process what they think of the facility that way you can make an important wise decision whether to go locally or out of state. Remember the focus is on your recovery.

7. Accreditation


Reputable drug rehab centers are accredited by The Joint Commission or The Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. These guidelines for accreditation are state-specific, so you’ll want to check with your state government to ensure your facility is accredited. There are also individual licenses for each of the individuals you’ll be working with as well.

Also look at the patient testimonials on their experiences with the facility so that you can narrow down what is best for you. Other places you can look into are Facebook, Google, Yahoo and Bing for reviews.

8. Insurance

Health Insurance

Knowing what insurance will cover and will not can be an issue whether to seek treatment or not. Good news because of the Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010 all health insurance marketplace plans now cover substance abuse and mental health treatment services. The cost of inpatient treatment will be more expensive than outpatient treatment. The things to consider are the advantages and disadvantages of both treatment modalities. Most private health plans do cover at least a portion of substance abuse treatment, and some cover it entirely.

The different types of insurance that will cover mental health and substance abuse are:

  • Medicaid
  • Medicare
  • Private insurance
  • Military insurance


Drug addiction is on the epidemic rise here in the US and it is a fact that if crosses all races and has no favorites. There are so many causes of drug addiction and if you want to check out my last blog on Facts on Drug Abuse by clicking here. Choosing the right substance abuse treatment center includes first defining your goal first.

Once you have decided then choosing the right program should be easy. You want to find out if the program offers the best evidence based practices that is proven to work based on research.

You also want to know if you are suitable for inpatient or outpatient rehab programs. You want to focus on what they have to offer during treatment and after. Most 90 day treatment programs are more successful in preventing relapses.

An approach to drug treatment includes a multidisciplinary approach using licensed professionals who offer compassion, care and build trust during the treatment process. As behavioral health is now integrated with physical medicine it is is best to find out if it offers both mental health and to address medical issues as many neglect their physical health.

Medication Assisted Treatment has its advantages as it prevents withdrawals and cravings. Location of the treating facility must be taken into consideration as it can affect treatment. You want to go to an accredited facility and to check out the patient testimonials and using social media.

Lastly the Affordable Care Act (ACA) made it possible to cover mental health and substance abuse.

If you like this article please comment below and share in social media below as I want to hear from you. If I can be of any help, please do not hesitate to email me at

To your recovery !

Alex, RN

2 responses to “Addiction Treatment”

  1. John Stewart says:

    I would like more about drugs and where I can use marijuana for my eating disorders.

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