When you’re seeking treatment for drug or alcohol addiction, it’s common to get overwhelmed by the number of options available to you.

If it’s at all possible, inpatient treatment is vital for drug addiction and substance abuse disorders. But you may not be sure where to start when picking the best treatment center.

If you’re seeking help for your addiction, you should know you’re making one of the most courageous decisions of your life. Support is available to you. When you compare treatment centers to find the best one, these are 10 of the most important questions to ask.


1. What is an addiction treatment center?

Addiction treatment centers are places where people can recover from drug addiction or alcohol addiction. They are medical facilities staffed by people whose whole goal is to support you. Addiction rehab can be tough, but recovery is more likely at a treatment center than anywhere else.

Here are some fast facts about rehab centers:

  • Rehab centers are not a prison. The doors don’t lock, and you’re free to leave at any time you want.
  • Treatment programs may last for different amounts of time.
  • Many rehab centers offer detox services, inpatient treatment, and outpatient treatment.
  • Rehab centers are staffed by a variety of medical professionals including physicians, psychiatrists, nurses, and licensed counselors.
  • Different centers will have slightly different treatment approaches, which is why it’s important to ask questions before choosing the best one for you.


2. Does the center cover my insurance? How can I get help for addiction if I don’t have insurance?

Most insurance programs will cover substance abuse treatment, but each center will have different types of insurance accepted. You should call the center’s intake counselor to ask what types of insurance they take, as well as whether you’ll need to make copays. Certain centers will accept Medicaid and Medicare.

If you don’t have any insurance coverage, there are a few ways you can still seek treatment:

  • Ask if the treatment center allows long-term, manageable payment plans.
  • Find out if the center has scholarships or financial relief programs.
  • Seek treatment at a government-subsidized center that covers patient costs.

Even if you can’t afford inpatient treatment, many outpatient centers offer a sliding scale of payment for those without insurance. In addition, 12-step meetings and secular support groups are free to attend.


3. Does the facility have all necessary licenses?

The most important aspects of a facility’s quality are their licenses and accreditations. A treatment facility must be licensed to operate. A licensed facility staffs only qualified professionals and uses only approved treatment methods.

The best accreditation to look for is a TJC accreditation. This stands for the Joint Commission. TJC has the strictest standards for healthcare treatment, and they only provide accreditation if the facility meets strict quality standards.


4. How long will the treatment program last?

There are different lengths of treatment. The shortest inpatient rehab program is usually a 4 week plan. However, studies have shown that plans lasting 3 months are more likely to work. In addition, many centers offer residential treatment for longer periods of time.

If you can, you should aim for a 90 day program. However, if you can’t be away from home for that long, talk to the treatment center about the best program length for you. Ideally, you’ll stay as long as you’re financially capable.


5. What is the living environment like at the center?

Different addiction rehab centers have different environmental layouts. It’s helpful to visit each of the places you’re considering to see which environment makes you feel the most comfortable.

If you go through a detox program, that environment will likely be clinical. It may look similar to a hospital. Detox programs only last about a week. They’re the first part of treatment, in which you’re safely weaned off drugs or alcohol with medical supervision.

Inpatient rehab centers will have environments that range from more clinical to more spacious and retreat-like. You can get a sense of the living environment by asking what kind of rooms you stay in, how large the campus is, and whether the campus includes multiple buildings.


6. Do you offer mental health treatment for comorbid disorders?

In the vast majority of cases, drug abuse is a way of self-medicating a different mental illness. It’s essential that you have your mental health evaluated by a trained psychiatrist. When they diagnose any comorbid disorders, your treatment plan should focus on treating those in addition to the addiction.

Some common comorbid mental illnesses are:

  • PTSD
  • Major depression
  • Other post-traumatic disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Other mood disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Other psychotic disorders

7. What kind of support is offered after the program ends?

The rehab process doesn’t end just because your inpatient program ends. You need to continue to have outpatient treatment afterward. When you go home, you’ll be faced with stressors you haven’t encountered in rehab. The first few weeks following inpatient treatment completion are when the chances of relapse are highest.

You should find out whether the treatment center offers outpatient therapy. If they don’t have outpatient services, they should recommend a good therapist and outpatient center for your needs. Make sure they’re willing to give you a referral to good post-rehab care.


8. Does the center offer familial support or family therapy?

Drug abuse doesn’t only affect you, it also affects everyone around you. One of the most important parts of the rehab process is familial integration. You need to make sure you have a support network when you go home. At the same time, your family members need to work through any emotional issues surrounding the addiction.

Family therapy accomplishes the following:

  • Addressing and resolving past grievances and pain in a safe, controlled environment
  • Learning how to set healthy boundaries
  • Making a plan for how to provide support after inpatient rehab is over
  • Educating all parties about the importance of family support
  • Educating all parties about addiction

9. What does a typical treatment plan look like?

Everyone’s treatment plan will differ slightly depending on their circumstances. However, you can ask what approach is usually taken to treatment.

An ideal plan will accomplish the following:

  • Provide mental health treatment and diagnosis of mental illness
  • Provide education about addiction and healthy coping mechanisms
  • Include overall support systems
  • Include a plan to integrate the family into treatment
  • Provide counseling

Basically, the treatment process should give you all the tools you need to fight addiction when you go home. Upon entering rehab, you should feel supported and cared for.


10. How successful have your programs been in the past?

An intake counselor should be able to give you information about the overall success rate of people entering rehab. They won’t be able to cite specific cases due to confidentiality laws, but they can tell you what percentage of people complete their treatment. They’ll also typically have statistics regarding the percentage of people who relapse after treatment.

An ideal treatment center has high success rates. When you know other people have been successful in the past, your own confidence in your success will be higher.