— By Nancy B. Irwin
It is incredibly painful to see a loved one suffering from addiction. You’ll want to help them in whatever way possible. A stay in a rehabilitation (or rehab) center is usually one of the most significant factors in an individual’s recovery.
Addiction is a complex disease, often chronic in nature, which affects the functioning of the brain and body. It also causes serious damage to families, relationships, schools, workplaces and neighborhoods.Addiction is a long-lasting disease. It's never just a matter of choice or lack of willpower. They need help. Click To Tweet
However, finding the right rehab for your loved one can seem like a minefield. Unfortunately, there are rehab centers out there who care more about profit over patient care. All the while, a lack of regulatory oversight makes it too easy for them to prosper.
Even a ‘trustworthy’ rehab might not be the right one for your loved one. Finding the perfect program for them is not easy, we understand.
But if you take note of these steps, you’ll be able to find the right rehab that is most likely to help your loved one. Following these 8 step guideline can make sure your loved one needing rehab is in excellent hands.
1. Reliable Accreditation
This may seem like an obvious first step, but some non-accredited rehabs can impress you with their bells and whistles, as well as accreditation from organizations that are unreliable. Look for rehabs with accreditation from CARF – an independent, nonprofit organization.
2. Evidence-Based Treatment
When it comes to addiction, success is a little harder to quantify than other illnesses. For this reason, many rehabs get away with offering treatments that have little basis in science, or are dependent on anecdotal evidence. While they may have their clients’ best interests at heart, but if there’s a lack of evidence, the best intentions are worth little.
Find out from the rehab what their approach is and ask to see the evidence on which it is based. Just ask, “Can you provide me with a sample treatment plan?”
3. Highly Qualified Practitioners
Another consequence of the lack of regulation in addiction treatment is that some rehabs get away with having unqualified professionals on staff. These people may have experience treating addiction, but without the proper training and qualifications should not be trusted with your loved one’s recovery.
So, make sure the therapists hired by the rehab have full qualifications in psychology. Anyone providing medical treatment should also be a fully qualified medical professional. Feel no hesitance to ask, “May I see the credentials of your key staff members?”
4. Dual Diagnosis Treatment
Addiction is often co-occurring with a range of mental illnesses. In many cases, the untreated mental illness is what led to the individual looking for solutions in substances. If you only treat the addiction, success is temporary at best.
Good rehabs offer dual diagnosis, meaning they look for and treat any co-occurring disorders. They have the right kinds of professionals (who are fully certified) and programs to treat addiction and other mental illnesses. These mental health practitioners should be highly trusted in their fields. Just because they are treating addiction does not mean they can be under-qualified in treating other mental illnesses.
5. Holistic Treatment
It should be clear by now that addiction does not occur in isolation. It therefore should not be treated in isolation. As mentioned, any co-occurring disorders need to be treated as well. But treatment should not end there. To have a good chance at success, people suffering from addiction need to live balanced lives. This includes a focus on physical health, working on self-esteem and self-worth, and occupational therapy.
A good rehab offers a holistic treatment program that helps the individual go back into the world with the skills to live their best life.
6. Customized Treatment
Not only should treatment be holistic, but it should also be customized for each individual. Addiction does not present in the same way in each person, especially if it is co-occurring with another disorder. This does not mean that they have to have entirely different programs for different people, but that there should be enough personalized support to help each person integrate the program into their own lives.
Also, find out if they have a family counselling facility. Often, substance abusers feel alone and isolated from their family. If their reason for this is an unstable family environment, then it’s important to counsel the family so that they make the person with substance use disorder feel supported and understood.
Aftercare is about care, help, and supervision of the person once they are discharged from the rehab center. It is a vital part of full recovery of the convalescent person.
Treatment should not end once the program is completed. It is unrealistic to expect someone to go, unaccompanied, straight from the comprehensive support in rehab into the wider world. They need continued support to help them put what they have learned into practice.
The rehab you choose should have a good aftercare program that is more than just the occasional checkup. Parts of the program, including therapy, should continue at an outpatient level, and support should be available when necessary.
Always make sure to ask, “Do you have a formal aftercare program? Could you share with me the details about it?”
8. Genuine Reviews
Finally, when choosing a rehab, make sure to check the reviews. Ultimately, if others have glowing things to say about the rehab, you’re going to feel a lot more comfortable when your loved one checks in. Don’t simply rely on statistics which claim success rates. Look for specific statements and remarks from patients and their loved ones which actively recommend the program to others.
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Author Bio: Nancy B. Irwin, Psy.D, is a Diplomate in the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress. She is co-author of Breaking Through, Stories of Hope and Recovery. She works as a Primary Therapist at Seasons in Malibu World Class Addiction and Mental Health Treatment Center.
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