Choosing The Best Drug Rehab Center

There are over 14,000 drug rehab centers across the United States.  And, with over 20 million Americans in need of some substance abuse treatment, choosing the right treatment center can be overwhelming. 

Choosing the best drug rehab center for you or a loved one can often feel overwhelming.  But, paying attention to a rehab’s track record, current practices and methods for measurement-based care, and ongoing compliance efforts can help you weed out the bad rehabs and find the best rehab for you. 

This article will explore the complexities of finding the right drug or alcohol treatment center for you or a loved one, including what to look for in a drug rehab, how to pay for rehab, and what steps rehabs should be taking to provide the best possible services and share that information with the public. 

Problems With Traditional Drug Rehab

We all know the numbers, and they’re staggering.  Over 20 million Americans are suffering from a substance use disorder, with 1 in 6 young adults (18-25) battling substance abuse.  And, substance use disorder deaths are claiming the lives of more and more of our friends and family each year.  In fact, in 2017, opioid-related deaths alone accounted for 115 deaths per day!!

In an effort to meet the demand of those in need of drug or alcohol rehab, the federal government has worked to make treatment more accessible for all.  As part of that, now under the Affordable Care Act and Mental Health Parity Act, drug and alcohol rehab facilities are able to bill insurance companies for substance use disorder treatment services.  Unfortunately, there are some very serious unintended consequences to the increase in funding: controversial private treatment centers have popped up everywhere. 

As a result of these shoddy treatment centers, currently most people who enter treatment are subject to archaic and ineffective treatment, some of which does more harm than good.  In fact, only about 10% of people who need treatment for drug-use disorders get any whatsoever, and those that do, enter programs whose treatment is ineffective and unsupported by the research and science.

Because of the costs and expertise needed to treat patients in a substance use disorder treatment setting, many programs employ a one-size-fits-all-addicts treatment rubric.  Patients are subjected to a slipshod patchwork of unproven therapies.  They engage in experiential treatment with little or no benefit and certainly no evidence-based theories behind them.  And, even in effective treatment settings, unfortunately, no one is collecting data that provides feedback to therapists about the actual treatment and how the patients are responding. 

Notwithstanding the problems with traditional drug rehab programs, thanks to social media, effective online advertisements, and persuasive web sites, every treatment center claims to be effective and the “perfect” treatment center for you or your loved one.  How can you really know?

Rehabs Utilizing Measurement-Based Care

The Kennedy Forum, a leading member of the national debate to transform and improve health care systems, recently published an Issue Brief titled: Fixing Behavioral Healthcare in America.  In it, the Kennedy Forum stated: “behavioral health providers treating mental health and substance use disorders should implement a system of measurement-based care whereby validated symptom rating scales are completed by patients and reviewed by clinicians during encounters. Measurement-based care will help providers determine whether the treatment is working and facilitate treatment adjustments, consultations, or referrals for higher intensity services when patients are not improving” (emphasis added). 

Requiring drug and alcohol rehab centers to monitor patient progress by collecting feedback from patients, while still in treatment, and then respond to that feedback is one of the most effective ways to impact treatment outcomes and create sustained recovery for each and every patient.  And, importantly, drug and alcohol rehab centers that implement measurement-based care systems are among the leading rehabs in the country providing the best treatment services and utilizing the latest in evidence-based treatment philosophy and programming.  And, they have the data and results to prove it. 

Tips for Finding the Best Treatment Center for You

So, if you are looking for a drug and alcohol rehab for you or a loved one, don’t be mesmerized by the glitz and the glamor of an impressive website or social media campaign.  Rather, ask the treatment center about its system for collecting and responding directly to patient feedback.  Ask the treatment center about the programming it utilizes and the steps it takes to tailor treatment programs to each individual patient.  And then, how does it monitor whether the programming is effective for each patient.  If the treatment center does not have a robust measurement-based care program and cannot provide you with evidence and a sampling of the data it collects and responds to, then that drug or alcohol rehab center is not right for you.  You should run – not walk – away from that program and find one that meets the aforementioned criteria. 

Final Thoughts

Finding the right drug or alcohol rehab center can be overwhelming, but it does not need to be impossible.  Addiction is treatable and there are many wonderful programs out there.  It simply takes some careful consideration, investigation, and fact-finding.  But, if you will inquire and ask the right questions, you will find the right drug or alcohol treatment center for you.