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Addiction Treatment Centers: What to Look For


If you are suffering from an addiction, seeking treatment from an accredited and licensed treatment center can help you on your road to recovery. There are plenty of options available depending on the type and severity of your addiction. It is also important to realize that everyone’s needs are different and that some treatment program options will suit you better than others.

For example, if you are severely addicted to prescription drugs, with a long history of drug or alcohol abuse, then you will likely need longer and more intensive treatment. If your abuse has only recently become a problem, you may find that outpatient treatment suits your needs. You also need to make sure that the treatment center you select addresses your addiction effectively, meaning they help you with the emotional, physical, physiological, and even possibly the spiritual aspect of addiction treatment.

The key things to research when analyzing treatment centers should also include the treatment center’s accreditation and licensing, the effectiveness of its treatment methods, whether or not it offers Dual Diagnosis treatment and a medically supervised detox, and what kind of aftercare services it provides.

Center Accreditation and Licensing

One of the first steps in finding an addiction treatment center is to make sure it is accredited in the state where it is located. You should also make sure all clinical staff are officially licensed and properly trained professionals. Jon Morgenstern, psychologist and vice-president at The National Center on Alcohol and Substance Abuse, recommends looking for a psychiatrist that is certified by the American Society of Addiction Medicine. Other staff members should be psychologists and social workers licensed in addiction medicine counseling, mental health counseling, or both.


Do not be swayed by advertisements for addiction treatment centers that have attractive amenities and marketing tactics. These facilities tend to be very expensive and get away with the cost just because they offer beautiful facilities to their patients. However, beautiful facility offerings are not necessarily synonymous with top-quality treatment offerings.

Dr. Ralph Lopez, an adolescent medicine specialist and associate professor at Cornell University Medical College in New York City, recommends avoiding these kinds of treatment centers because they make addiction treatment more of a fun, relaxing experience, when it should be more geared toward taking responsibility for your situation and completing the hard work required to overcome your addiction.

Effectiveness of the Center’s Treatment Methods and Modalities

Just how effective is the addiction center’s treatment methods? Look at their website to see whether any studies or research has been posted in relation to treatment methods. Also, search for testimonials as well as reviews on other sites to see what former and current patients are saying about that center. Lots of a negative reviews are a red flag that suggests that the center’s treatment methods are not effective.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, 37% of alcoholics and 53% of drug addicts have at least one mental health illness. Dual diagnosis treatment enables patients to be treated for both psychiatric illness and addiction at the same time, treating both the addiction and its root causes. Despite its many benefits, only a small number of addiction treatment center patients are offered dual diagnosis. According to a 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, it is estimated that close to 3.6% of the US population, or 8.4 million, have both a mental health and substance abuse disorder. However, only 0.5%, or nearly 1.2 million, receive dual diagnosis or comorbidity treatment.

Medically Supervised Detox

Depending on the type of addiction, it can be difficult, and even life threatening in some cases, for addicts to quit cold turkey. It is always best to seek out a treatment center that offers a medically assisted drug detox, just in case you need this option to fully recover from your addiction. According to the Mayo Clinic, detoxification may involve gradually reducing the dose of the drug or temporarily substituting other substances, such as methadone, buprenorphine, or a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone.

Type of Aftercare Services Available

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 40% to 60% of drug addicts relapse from their drug addiction treatment plan. It is best to select an addiction treatment center that offers a very specific plan to keep you from relapsing after you get out.

Types of Addiction Treatment Programs and Theories

Depending on your type of addiction, there are several different kinds of treatment programs. The one you will choose will largely depend on the type and severity of your addiction. Some of the most common types of programs include:

Residential Treatment: Residential patients live at a facility while receiving intensive
treatment during the day. This type of treatment usually lasts from 30 to 90 days.

Partial hospitalization: This treatment is for people who need ongoing medical
attention, but have a stable living situation. Patients attend a hospital for about four to six
hours a day, three to five days a week.

Intensive outpatient program (IOP): This type of treatment still requires a major time
commitment, but it is not a live-in treatment program. The primary focus of an IOP is
relapse prevention, and they are typically scheduled around work or school. Patients
usually meet at least three days a week for at least two to four hours a day.

Counseling (Individual, group, or family): Counseling works alongside with other types of addiction treatment and can help you identify the root causes of your addiction, strengthen relationships, and learn better coping skills.

Sober living/rehab: Sober living or rehabilitation facilities allow you to live with other recovering addicts in a supportive environment. They can help you if you have nowhere to go and if you are worried that going back home will potentially lead to relapse.

Brief intervention: A brief intervention is designed for those who may be at risk for developing an addiction. It requires several visits to a healthcare professional to discuss the harmful effects of addiction and ways of abuse.

Resources to Help You Find an Addiction Treatment Center

Need help finding the right addiction treatment center? Here are some steps you should take:

  • Ask your doctor
  • Contact your health insurance company
  • Find out if your employer or insurance offers any assistance programs with addiction counseling
  • Talk with multiple mental health clinics, community health centers, and hospitals
  • Call the Addiction Advisor for guidance on drug abuse or addiction at 1-800-259-1361


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