Drug Rehab Is Not “One Size Fits All”
While one treatment center may be perfectly suitable for one user seeking recovery, another is often better suited for the next person.
The reason has largely to do with the duration and types of treatment provided by various facilities. Recovery from drug or alcohol dependency usually requires a detoxification stage followed by in-patient, longer term care. In other cases recovery may be sought through outpatient arrangements.
Recovery and treatment protocols are not a “one size fits all” situation. A person’s specific progress and outcomes will vary with:
- The extent of that person’s addiction
- The type of treatments offered
- Access to additional services that may speed recovery
- The quality of the relationship and interactions between the user and the therapeutic staff.
Eight Questions to Ask
1. Are behavioral therapy & medications provided?
In most cases users need to follow through a medically supervised program of detoxification to rid their bodies of the offending substances. Withdrawal from those can be emotionally and physically painful, however certain medications can ease the process dramatically. Once the detox process is completed, behavioral therapies usually deliver the next level of help and support.
They can focus on:
- Helping the person become motivated to change drug/alcohol using behaviors and attitudes.
- Providing real-world incentives to stop using while the person builds new skills to resist further use.
- Helping to replace past using activities with positive, more rewarding activity and behavior.
- Providing the person with new problem solving and personal relationship skills so they become more self-sufficient and find increased support from family and friends.
2. Are personalized plans provided?
A person’s age, ethnicity, life experiences…degree of dependency…the drug or drugs he or she abuses…can all influence and help determine the best path to recovery. In some cases a user suffers from a mental condition as well as addiction, so it is critical that the facility professionally treats both issues.
No single plan for recovery is right for everyone. Be sure the treatment facility you choose is able to tailor a treatment plan that takes your specific, personal needs into account.
3. Are additional services provided?
Most everyone working through the recovery process finds that their needs change as they become less and less dependent on drugs or alcohol. The program should make additional services available either directly or through arrangements with other agencies and resource centers.
For example, as a person progresses through recovery some of these added services may play an important role:
- Family services may help build or rebuild relations between family members.
- Vocational services such as job training and job hunting help can speed the patient on to becoming self-sufficient in the workplace.
- Transportation services may be needed to deliver the patient to outpatient therapies.
- Legal services may be needed.
For example, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides some protection from employers who would discharge a person because they have a history of drug or alcohol abuse. The law surrounding ADA is complex and legal help familiar with ADA issues could be needed to argue for restoration of a person’s job once they have completely recovered.
Ideally the program one chooses takes these and related issues into account so the patient is fully supported throughout the recovery process.
4. Does the program allow time for success?
Treating addiction takes time and remaining actively in the program for the right period of time is crucial. A full recovery takes support from friends and family and may require more than one rehab cycle. Research shows that the longer a patient is in rehab the greater success they have.
In most cases users will need at least a three-month program to learn new behaviors and recover. The treatment plan should use strategies and techniques that keep users in longer term therapy. These usually include in-patient treatment where the user lives away from home and away from the “triggers” that, in the past, led to abusing drugs or alcohol.
5. Does the program provide self-help groups?
The various 12-step programs are self-help groups where non-professionals help one another. Programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Cocaine Anonymous are just two of the many 12-step programs that have helped users cement new behaviors and attitudes in place as they leave drugs and alcohol behind.
6. Does the program accept insurance?
If they do not, what arrangements or payment plans are they willing to make? Medicaid pays for a variety of treatments including detoxification, residential (in-patient) programs and a range of therapeutic services for those who qualify.
7. Is relapse prevention a priority in the program?
People on the road to recovery sometimes begin using again…they relapse into old behavior patterns. A relapse is not a failure of the treatment plan; instead, it is an indication that adjustments to the plan are needed. Users may need two or even more episodes of in-depth treatment to fully recover.
The plan should include drug testing and other means to determine if and when a person relapses so appropriate changes can be made in the next round of therapy.
8. Does the program allow family members to be involved?
Many users feel alienated from their friends and families. They may try to hide their substance abuse until it become obvious they have lied, misled and perhaps even stolen money from the people who are most dear to them. The obsessive behaviors brought on by abuse can drive a wedge into personal relationships.
Family members, in particular, may need counseling and other kinds of help to relieve the pain and disappointment they feel toward the user in their family. The program should provide help either directly or through affiliated organizations.