With the rise of the opioid epidemic in the United States, another worrying trend followed in its wake: rehab centers that don’t provide adequate treatment for substance use disorder. The $35 billion rehab industry has become the target of businesses that are trying to cash in on other people’s misery, which ultimately leads to more drug addict deaths because the treatment they receive doesn’t do anything for them. This situation is dire for those addicts who are in desperate need of life-saving treatment.

Since nearly anyone can start a rehabilitation center, it can be difficult to discern whether or not a rehab is able to truly help an individual with substance use disorder. However, there are questions that you can ask a prospective rehab that are based on the principals of effective treatment, as described by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). In this article, 6 important questions that you should ask a rehab will be explored so that you have a better understanding of what they can do for you.

  1. How long is the treatment program?

The length of a drug treatment program is critical; too short and the positive effects of treatment will be limited. Rehabs that offer to treat your addiction in just a week or over the weekend should be avoided because according to the NIDA, treatment length should be at least three months long in order to be effective. This 3-month period can be completed with a combination of inpatient and outpatient programs.

Drug addiction recovery is a long-term process, and any rehab that promises to treat your addiction in a shorter period than the suggested treatment time should be avoided.

  1. Will a medically-assisted detox be enough to stop substance abuse?

Some rehab programs may make unrealistic promises about how effective their treatment is. They may promise a quick cure with little more than a medically-assisted detox. While a medically-assisted detox can have a significant impact on severe withdrawal symptoms – which may be difficult to deal with and often drive people to relapse – it isn’t enough by itself to permanently stop drug use.

A detox simply opens the door to further behavioral therapy and long-term maintenance – key elements of long-term sobriety. Addiction has no cure and an individual affected by it will likely need to actively maintain their sobriety over several years, if not a lifetime.

  1. Are treatment programs individualized?

Since there is no cure for addiction, the best way to treat it is through individualized programs. It’s a rehab’s responsibility to determine the needs of a patient, and then to match their needs with the appropriate treatment models.

Just because one treatment method worked well for one patient doesn’t mean it will have the same success in another patient. Through thorough assessments upon entering into a rehab program, treatment setting and services provided can match a patient’s needs.

  1. Is the possibility of other mental disorders explored?

Addiction itself is a mental disorder, described in the DSM-V. It is common for people with substance use disorder (addiction) to also have an accompanying mental disorder. Disorders such as PTSD, ADHD, depression, and anxiety disorders often have an influential role in an individual turning to substance abuse – often as a way to self-medicate their symptoms.

If the possibility of other mental disorders isn’t explored in treatment, then the risk of relapse becomes higher as the recovering addict’s untreated symptoms begin the cycle of substance abuse again. If another mental disorder is present, then the rehab center should provide a way for it to be treated alongside the addiction.

  1. Are patients monitored to ensure that their current treatment plan is effective?

As drug addiction treatment progresses, the needs that each patient has changes. While treatment plans are meant to take the changing needs of the patient into account, the progress or regression that each patient has during treatment is often unique. Without a continual assessment of the patient’s current needs, the treatment plan they have might become ineffective.

Continual assessment of patients in drug treatment programs is an important part of maximizing the positive effects of treatment.

  1. Are behavioral therapies an important part of the treatment program?

One of the key elements of an effective addiction treatment program is behavioral therapy. The therapy provided can come in many forms and the aim of the therapy is to improve the patient’s motivation for positive change, building the skills needed to maintain abstinence, providing a patient with other rewarding activities besides substance abuse, improving the patient’s personal relationships, and developing problem solving skills.

If an addiction treatment center doesn’t focus on behavioral therapy as a main driving force behind long-term change in their patients, then the result of the treatment will be minimal.

Choosing a rehab center should be done with great care and ample research. There are many drug rehabilitation centers that offer more than they are capable of providing, but finding a legitimate rehab center is still possible. By using the questions discussed in this article, it can help you to sift through many of the drug and alcohol rehabs that don’t provide adequate treatment.

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