Questions To Ask Alcohol Rehab Centre

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Questions To Ask Alcohol Rehab Centre

The questions to ask when considering a treatment facility will vary depending on each individual's needs. Everyone has a different story, and a treatment programme that works for one individual may not be ideal for someone else. 

There are many different treatment programmes out there, including [1] :

  • Inpatient versus outpatient treatment  
  • Long-term versus short-term  
  • Group therapy versus individual therapy
  • Executive versus affordable  

Although there is no one model for alcohol or substance use treatment that can meet all needs, there are certain components that constitute a successful programme. An individual can find the programme that is right for them by asking the right questions.

A reputable centre will be open and honest with their answers. They will uphold confidentiality and be willing to take the time to address concerns.

See our guide to alcohol rehab basics here.

Questions To Ask Alcohol Rehab Centre 

1. What philosophy guides your treatment approach? 

When looking for a drug rehabilitation facility, it is important to understand how they define addiction and how they define success. You want a rehab programme with a philosophy that coincides with your personal expectations and requirements.

Most rehabilitation programmes follow the 12 Step approach. Others have a secular approach to care that is either grounded in science or in Buddhist teachings. [2]

2. Do you personalise your treatment programmes to meet a patient's individual needs?  

Research shows that personalised treatments are more effective in treating drug and alcohol addiction. [3]

The patient should ask if the addiction treatment facility conducts a personal assessment to determine treatment needs. Each person will have a different experience, and there is no one-size-fits -all solution when it comes to health care.

An effective rehabilitation centre will offer individualized treatment plans that meet the changing needs of the client.

3. How long will the programme take?  

The length of the programme will depend on the severity of the addiction. The recommended length is 90 days, but could be longer or shorter than this depending on the needs of each individual patient. [4]

It is important for the patient to consult their doctor to determine the recommended length of time for rehab. Using drugs and alcohol can affect the brain, and it will take time to change the cognitive patterns that fuelled the addiction. [5]

4. What is the staff to resident ratio?  

It is important that a treatment centre is able to provide the attention and care that the patient needs. An individual should ask each prospective treatment centre how many staff will be part of the recovery process, and how each staff will contribute to the wellbeing of the patient.

5. Is the facility licensed and accredited?  

The patient should ensure that the facility they are looking into is licensed and accredited, and that the staff members have appropriate credentials. Treatment centres with accredited staff have a higher chance of providing quality services. [6]

6. Does the drug rehab centre offer a safe environment?  

When researching treatment centres, look for one that is located in a safe and secure environment. Opt for one that is free from outside influences that can lead to relapse.

7. Will the treatment facility help the patient build connections that will help them maintain a sober network after rehab?  

Building relationships is an important part of the recovery process, and these meaningful connections often last long after completing the programme. The patient should ask the addiction treatment programme if they support patients in forming positive connections that will persist after the rehabilitation process.

Long-term, positive connections are valuable in the recovery process as they can help overcome the anxieties associated with pursuing a sober life. [7]

Addiction Treatment Questions 

1. What level of care is best for the patient or loved one?

There are different levels of care depending on several factors, including substance use, length of time used, and severity of the disorder. Some of the levels of care include [8]:

  • Outpatient treatment is a lower level of care where the patient or their loved one visits a facility for an appointment, such as individual counselling or group therapy, but does not stay there. 
  • Long-term inpatient care/residential treatment is a higher level of care that requires the patient to live in the facility for a certain period of time.
  • Acute treatment services involve going to a medical facility for detox of drug addiction. 
  • Crisis Stabilization Services (CSS) and Transition Stabilization Services (TSS) are both short-term services. 

It is important to participate in a medical assessment to determine the best level of care for the patient.

2. Do you use evidence-based treatment approaches? 

The phrase "evidence-based" refers to treatment options backed by scientific research. Although each individual is unique, research shows that evidence-based approaches are most effective. [9]

3. How do you include friends and family members in the treatment? 

An effective treatment programme will provide support for the client and their family. Family support varies from phone calls, support groups, on-site visits, family therapy, and other activities. Family involvement with the assistance of a seasoned clinician can improve outcomes and support healthy recovery. This approach can help repair strained relationships and help the family members understand the role they have played in the struggles of their loved one. [10]

4. What if a loved one has co-occurring disorders? 

Some people seeking addiction treatment also suffer from mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and trauma. [11] The patient should ask the facility if they treat dual diagnosis of co occurring mental illness and substance use disorder. It is also important to clarify whether treatment will be provided on-site (in the same centre) or off-site (at a different location).

5. How do I know if the treatment is covered by insurance, and what the out-of-pocket expenses will be? 

The facility should be open about what is covered by insurance and what services will require out-of-pocket payments. The patient can reach out to their insurance company and share the information provided by the facility to clarify what is covered. 

Substance Abuse Treatment Questions 

Treatment for substance abuse varies depending on the type of drug abuse as well as the duration of use. [12] The drug rehab facility can answer the following questions:

  1. Do you provide detox to deal with withdrawal symptoms? 
  2. Do you offer dual diagnosis programmes to treat co occurring mental health and drug or alcohol addiction?
  3. What kind of aftercare is offered? 
  4. What makes your drug rehab programme different than others? 
  5. What are the payment options at your drug rehab centre? 
  6. Do you offer individualized counselling? 
  7. Do you offer personalised care depending on each patient's needs? 
  8. What is the ratio of clinical staff to patients? 
  9. Is nutrition an essential part of the programme? 
  10. What happens if a patient experiences a life threatening event while at your centre? 

You can ask these questions along with the addiction treatment questions.

Addiction Recovery Group Questions 

While you attend treatment, you can track the positive outcomes that you experience in the programme. You can continuously check in with yourself by asking the following questions daily:

  1. What did you do to promote your recovery today? 
  2. What coping skills have you learned and practiced so far? 
  3. What have you learned about yourself so far? 
  4. Does the therapy feel overwhelming? 
  5. What problem behaviours did you exhibit today? 
  6. Did you accomplish any of your goals of achieving long-term sobriety? If not, what did you do today that brought you closer to your goals? 
  7. What behavioural health issues did you solve today? 
  8. What challenges did you face today? How did you solve them?
  9. What have you learned about triggers? Did you experience any triggers today?
  10. What are you grateful for today? 
  11. How is your mental health?

The patient can ask any of these questions as they see fit, with the purpose of guiding them through the process of reflection. This can help the patient note down observed change, as well as any areas where assistance is needed.

Addiction Treatment Centre Accreditation 

When considering treatment facilities, an individual should look for one that is accredited and offers the the most effective care possible. Accreditation means that the rehab facility has gone through a series of evaluations to obtain a seal of approval from the agency that provides accreditation. [13]

The best facilities open their doors to a third-party agency for a thorough review. This means allowing a third-party agency to review their programmes, business records, operations, and policies. The agency will also examine the centre's staff and client care. [14]

Accreditation is an expensive procedure. However, once it is completed, the centre validates proper care to those struggling with alcohol dependency or use of drugs. Some organisations that conduct the accreditation include The Joint Commission (formerly known as JCAHO) [15] and the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). [16]

Although attending an accredited centre does not guarantee long-term recovery, such institutions leverage evidence-based therapies to provide the highest standard of care for their clients. If a patient or their loved one is struggling with drug addiction, they require a treatment facility that offers the highest standard of care.

An individual can reach out to their preferred rehab centre to see if they are accredited to ensure that the patient or their loved one is receiving optimal care to meet their unique, individualized needs. Many facilities are accredited, and can provide the care that the patient requires for their recovery. 

Last Updated: January 18, 2023

About the author

Peter Szczepanski

Peter has been on the GPhC register for 29 years. He holds a Clinical Diploma in Advanced Clinical Practice and he is a Clinical Lead in Alcohol and Substance Misuse for Abbeycare Gloucester and works as the Clinical Lead in Alcohol and Substance Use in Worcestershire. Peter also co-authored the new 6th edition of Drugs In Use by Linda Dodds, writing Chapter 15 on Alcohol Related Liver Disease. Find Peter on Respiratory Academy, Aston University graduates, University of Birmingham, Q, Pharmaceutical Journal, the Dudley Pharmaceutical Committee, Dudley Council, Twitter, and LinkedIn.