Questions to ask alcohol rehab centre

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The questions to ask an alcohol rehab centre vary depending on your treatment needs. Everyone has a different story when it comes to addiction treatment. 

You may find out from a recovering addict that a certain treatment program did not work for them.  

What's important to note is that there are different treatment programs out there. You have: 

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

There is no one model for drug or alcohol addiction that can meet all your needs. However, there are certain components that constitute a successful program. You find the right one by asking the right questions.  

A reputable facility will be open and honest about the answers. They will uphold confidentiality and be willing to take the time to address all your concerns.  

Questions to ask alcohol rehab centre 

1. What philosophy guides your treatment approach? 

When looking for a drug rehabilitation facility, it's important to understand how they define addiction and how they define success.

You want a rehab program with a philosophy that coincides with your personal expectations and requirements.  

Most rehabilitation follow the 12-step approach. Others have a secular approach to treatment that's either grounded on Science or Buddhist teachings.  

2. Do you personalize your treatments to meet a person's needs?  

Research shows that personalized treatments are more effective in treating drug and alcohol addiction [1].  

You should inquire from the facility whether they conduct a personal assessment to determine treatment needs. Each person experiences addiction differently and there's no one-size-fits -all solution.  

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

3. How long will the programme take?  

A programme is likely to take longer if the addiction is severe. The recommended period for inpatient addiction treatment is 90 days. However, it could take longer or shorter depending on your needs.  

Most people want the quickest way to recovery but that can lead to issues such as high relapse rates. It's important to consult your GP as well to determine the recommended time for rehab.

Drug or alcohol addiction affects the brain. It will take time to change the cognitive patterns that fuelled the addiction.  

4. What is the staff to resident ratio?  

You want a treatment centre that gives you the attention you deserve. Therefore, you should ask each prospective rehab facility how many staff part of the recovery process will be.

Also, ask how each staff will contribute to the wellbeing of the patient.  

5. Is the facility licensed and accredited?  

The U.S has more than 14,500 licensed treatment facilities [2]. Therefore, you have a wide range of licensed facilities to choose from.

Go for one that's licensed and has accredited staff members. For example, are all staff members registered nurses?  

Treatment centres with accredited staff have a higher chance of providing you with quality services.  

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

When researching for a treatment centre, go for one that's located in a safe and secure environment. Opt for one that's free from outside influences that would lead to relapse.  

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

Building relationships is an important part of the recovery process as this meaningful bond will persist long after completing the program.

You should ask the addiction treatment facility whether they help patients form positive connections that will persist after the rehabilitation process.  

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

Addiction treatment questions 

1. What level of care suits my loved one? 

There are different levels of care depending on several factors, such as: Substance use, length of time used, and severity of the disorder. Some of the levels of care include: 

  • Outpatient treatment: A lower level of care where you (or your loved one) visit a facility for treatment, but you do not stay there. 
  • Long-term inpatient care/residential treatment: This is a higher level of care that requires you to live in the facility for a certain period. 
  • Acute treatment services. It involves going to a medical facility for detox. 
  • Crisis Stabilization Services (CSS) and Transition Stabilization Services (TSS) are both short-term services. 

It's important to go for a medical assessment to determine the best level of care. 

2. Do you use evidence-based treatment approaches? 

Once you begin talking to the treatment provider, you should remember to inquire about their treatment model. The phrase "evidence-backed" refers to treatment options backed by scientific research.

Although everyone is unique, research shows that evidence-based approaches are most effective. 

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

There's sufficient evidence pointing out addiction is a family disease. As such, an effective treatment program will provide support for the client and their family.

Many treatment centres will have their patient sign a consent form allowing their loved ones to participate in treatment. 

Family support may vary, from phone calls to on-site visits, family therapy, and other activities. Family involvement with the assistance of a seasoned clinician will improve treatment outcomes.

This approach will help repair broken relationships and help the family members understand the role they play in the progression of the addiction. 

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

Most people seeking addiction treatment suffer from other mental health issues, e.g., depression, anxiety, trauma etc. Therefore, you should ask the facility if they provide a dual diagnosis.

You should also have them clarify whether the 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 are my out-of-pocket expenses? 

The facility needs to clarify whether your insurance covers treatment. They should be open about what is covered and what services will require you to make out-of-pocket payments.

It will help if you note down the information provided. After that, reach out to your insurance company and share what you were told. Insurance can be tricky, and it's good for you to double-check what you've been told. 

Substance abuse treatment questions 

Treatment for substance abuse varies depending on the type of drug abuse and duration of use. You could ask the drug rehab facility the following questions: 

  1. Do you provide detox to deal with the withdrawal symptoms? 
  2. Does your facility cater to treat dual diagnosis? 
  3. What kind of aftercare do you offer? 
  4. What makes your drug rehab program different? 
  5. What are my payment options in your drug rehab centre? 
  6. Do they offer individualized counselling? 
  7. Do they offer personalized care depending on your needs? 
  8. What is the ratio of clinical staff to patients? 
  9. Is nutrition part of the program? 
  10. What substance use disorder do you treat? 

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

Addiction recovery group questions 

Once you attend treatment, you need to track the positive outcomes that you experience in the program. You can continuously check in on yourself by answering the following questions daily: 

  1. What did you do to promote your recovery today? 
  2. What coping skills have you learned and practice 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 one behavioural health issues did you solve today? What were they? 
  8. What challenges did you face today? How did you solve it? 
  9. What have you learned about triggers? Did you experience them today? 
  10. What are you grateful for today? 

These questions help to guide you in the process of reflection. You can ask yourself any question as you see fit and write down your answers for further reflection.

This is important as it will help you note down your change and areas you feel you need assistance. 

Addiction treatment centre accreditation 

When looking for an addiction rehab centre for yourself or your loved one, you need to find the most effective care possible. Unfortunately, many facilities are using deceptive marketing tactics to lure clients. 

To simplify your search, look for a drug rehab facility that's accredited. Accreditation means that the centre has gone through a series of evaluations to obtain a seal of approval from the agency that provides accreditation. 

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 programs, business records, operations, and policies. The agency will also examine the rehab's staff and client care. 

Accreditation is an expensive procedure. However, once it is complete, the centre validates proper care to those struggling with alcohol dependency or drug use.

Some organizations that conduct the accreditation include The Joint Commission (formerly known as JCAHO) and the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). 

Attending an accredited centre does not guarantee long-term recovery. However, such institutions leverage evidence-based therapies to provide the highest standard of care for their clients.

If you or your loved one are struggling with drug addiction, you need a centre that offers the highest standard of care. 

You should reach out to your preferred rehab centre via phone or check them online and ask about their accreditation. 

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. Find Peter on Respiratory Academy, Aston University graduates, University of Birmingham, Q, Pharmaceutical Journal, the Dudley Pharmaceutical Committee, Dudley Council, Twitter, and LinkedIn.