Choosing A Treatment Center

How To Choose The Right Treatment Program

  1. Look for a program that views drugs and alcohol use as the primary disease and not as a symptom of some other emotional problem. Direct attention should be given to the child’s drug use as the source of the problem.
  2. The program should maintain an abstinence contract. Any use is abuse. Effective drug rehabilitation programs believe drug use is a chronic, non-curable disease.
  3. A drug-free environment is essential. It is necessary for the child to be free of any mood-altering chemicals in order to deal rationally with emotional and behavioral problems. Since most drugs remain in the body tissues for an extended period of time, it is important to allow time to let the influence of the drug subside.
  4. Support groups such as AA, NA, CA, ALATEEN, etc. should be incorporated into the treatment program before the youngster leaves treatment.
  5. Drug/alcohol addiction is a family disease because it affects all members of the family. Therefore, a good program would include involvement of the treatment for the whole family.
  6. The Alcoholics Anonymous 12-Step program provides the patient with good tools for a change during and after treatment. This is particularly important in a short-term program (hospitalization) because the in-depth, intensive treatment is so short.
  7. Choose a locally based program if a good one exists in your area. It is critical to the family and adolescent going into treatment that support and contact be maintained during the treatment phase. The family unit should remain intact while working on solutions to the problems associated with drug behavior.
  8. Cost of the program should be considered. Inpatient programs are more expensive than outpatient. Insurance coverage should be checked out before a decision is reached (most hospitals will assist you on this matter.) If you find that your policy covers 80%, many treatment facilities will accept the amount as full coverage. It pays to ask.
  9. Intimate patient/counselor interaction should be considered. Assess the ratio of staff to patient. Ideally the ratio should be no larger than 1 to 6 because staff involvement plays a major role in the recovery process. A psychiatrist and/or clinical psychologist should be on staff for psychotherapy (group and individual).
  10. Since drug use affects every area of the adolescent’s life, good programs assist in progressively reconstructing each area of life including family, school, friendships, and leisure time activities.
  11. Ask about the Aftercare portion of the program. Many programs have meetings for up to 1 year for patient and family. Aftercare is an important part of any short-term treatment program because the length of time in the hospital is minimal.
  12. An intensive therapy process may be accomplished in an outpatient or inpatient setting, depending upon the program. With prolonged use, inpatient may be the best alternative. Experimental or recreational users may respond equally well to outpatient therapy.