Selecting The Right Drug Rehab, 10 Questions and Answers
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Unwasted: My Lush Sobriety, by Sacha Z. Scoblic

Sacha Z. Scoblic became sober June 15, 2005. She is a writer living in Washington, D.C. She was an editor at The New Republic and Reader's Digest, and a regular a contributor to The New York Times's online series "Proof: Alcohol and American Life.” She currently blogs about addiction at TheFasterTimes.com.


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Jerry Dorsman is a therapist who specializes in addiction recovery and who has worked with thousands to quit drugs and alcohol. Dorsman considers barbiturates, prescription drugs, marijuana, cocaine and heroin in the book, providing exercises, worksheets and checklists. The book helps you to determine if you have a problem and to develop your own treatment plan, determining what will work best.

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Alcohol: How to Give It Up and Be Glad You Did, by Philip Tate PhD (Author), Albert Ellis

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How to Succeed in Drug and Alcohol Rehab
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Page updated: November 23, 2015

Selecting The Right Drug Rehab


10 Questions and Answers


You can overcome alcohol and drug addiction. Most often help is needed. Family and friends can give support, God's help is always of value in any attempt to overcome drug or alcohol addiction. Many times, however, professional help may be necessary. The following questions and answers have been created to help one to choose an appropriate drug and alcohol rehab in efforts to be permanently free form substance abuse.


Article written by Bill Urrell, Addictions-Counselor and recovered alcoholic
See also, How to make Drug and Alcohol Rehab successful in the long-term.


Don't get trapped in the bottle.</br> Fight your way out to full and permanent recovery!
Don't get trapped in the bottle. Poster for an adaptation of Émile Zola's novel L'Assomoir by American theatre manager Augustin Daly (1838-1899).
Library of Congress


For most people, selecting the right alcohol or drug rehab program may be an intimidating and emotional task. This may be an area where they have little or no knowledge. It is important to select the most appropriate rehab program to increase the chances of successful engagement and cooperation in treatment. Selecting an incompatible or poor alcohol treatment center may do more damage than good. It may foster the idea that all treatment does not work. Here are 10 questions or areas of concern that will help to guide you to make an appropriate decision.

1. Is the drug and alcohol program appropriate for your needs?

It is important to match your needs to what the treatment center can offer. Is this the right level of care for you? Is the drug rehab capable of medical detoxification? Is their program age specific or gender specific? Can they handle any special needs you might have? Does it seem like you will 'fit in' with their typical patient?

2. Is the alcohol and drug treatment center accredited?

There are two major credential Lang organizations in the treatment field. The first is JCAHO, the Joint Commission on Accredited Health Organizations, and the next is Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). Certification by these organizations means the program has undergone site inspections and will ensure that the center meets national guidelines and standards for providing health services. I would not consider a program that is not certified by one or both.

3. What are the credentials of the staff?

The credentials to look for in counseling staff are either certified or licensed drug and alcohol counselors, preferably with master's level degrees or above. Ask how will you matched or assigned to a counselor? An empathic patient counselor relationship is critical.

4. What is their treatment approach and philosophy towards addiction?

There are many different treatment approaches towards alcohol and drug addiction, only a few are in the mainstream and have statistical evidence of being effective. Is their approach medical, psychological, religious, or spiritual? If they use words you do not understand asked for an explanation, remember you will be restructuring your life based on their suggestions.

5. Ask to see a weekly schedule of patient activities

Note how many individual sessions with counselors are included on a weekly basis as well as the number of group counseling sessions. Do they have groups or counselors they can deal with the issues of grief, dual diagnoses, and life skills? Are there supplemental activities.

6. Ask the rehab program what the recovery rate is for their patients. What is their success rate and how they define it.

This question is actually more important for the knowledge gained in how the drug and alcohol treatment program answers it rather than for a specific number they give. The fact is there is no standardized way to measure a recovery rate. It is very difficult to contact people who resume use. The statistics are almost meaningless because recovery is not a function of randomness or statistics. Your action and participation or lack of it will determine success or failure.

7. What is included in the cost of treatment? What are the extra charges? Is there financial aid available?

In many cases treatment centers we'll do a financial means and income assessment. They may then base their fees on a sliding scale based on ability to pay, or offer a flat percentage discount. There are often extra fees that may be charged in addition to the basic treatment. Examples of these might be medical attention needed beyond basic detoxification, psychological services, specialized groups or therapies. The inclusion of these fees in the program cost is often negotiable.

8. Determine if your health insurance will cover all or part of drug treatment.

With a few exceptions, insurance companies will generally not cover inpatient alcohol and drug addiction treatment. It is usually a pitched battle to have insurance companies authorize payments for addiction treatment. Ask if your treatment center has someone specifically assigned to advocate on your behalf to the insurance company.

9. Determine the time-frame of the treatment program.

As addiction treatment centers develop a more individualized approach to treatment, the days of the standard 28 the inpatient treatments are fading. Different patients need different amounts of time to fully engage in treatment and maximize their benefits. The length of stay in treatment is usually continuously as assessed as is the level and length of aftercare. They will usually offer a range of a typical stay, such as four to eight weeks.

10. Addiction treatment is a continuum of care, a process not an event. How will they assist in recommending and securing aftercare and help with the transition back into society?

What happens within the first year of abstinence and recovery can make the difference between staying sober permanently and suffering relapse. A good continuing care plan will generally involve a stepped down level of clinical treatment, take into account physical, psychological, family and spiritual needs.

Hopefully this article will provide you with a solid foundation for getting your questions answered. A positive treatment experience can make all the difference in starting a life of recovery, especially if you select the right drug rehab or alcohol treatment center.


by Bill Urrell, addictions counselor and recovered user.