Things to Look for When Choosing Addiction Treatment CenterIn any given year, millions of Americans benefit from enrollment in some form of drug or alcohol treatment. However, compared to the number of those affected, the number who receive care is quite small. One of the potential obstacles to receiving help is a lack of understanding of what to look for when choosing an addiction treatment center. A few brief tips will help make this search easier.

Programs Based on Sound Treatment Principles

The first thing to look for when searching for a substance use treatment[i] is a program based on sound, scientifically verified principles. The National Institute on Drug Abuse outlines these principles. They include:

  • An understanding of addiction as a chronic, recurring brain illness that nevertheless benefits from treatment
  • An understanding that effective treatment must address issues other than substance use (e.g., general psychological well-being, physical health and a range of other personal details)
  • An understanding that psychotherapy/behavioral therapy forms the core of successful treatment
  • An understanding that medication can also play an important role in many forms of treatment
  • Awareness of the fact that many people with substance problems also suffer from other serious mental health issues
  • Awareness that treatment is beneficial whether entered into voluntarily or involuntarily
  • Awareness that no one course of treatment can meet the needs of all people
  • Awareness that medically administered detox (detoxification) doesn’t provide much lasting benefit without follow-up therapy and/or medication
  • Awareness that the needs of any person in treatment can and will change over time
  • Awareness that treatment success depends largely on staying in rehab for a sufficient amount of time

Programs That Fit the Severity of Existing Substance Problems

Depending on the number of symptoms affecting a person, substance abuse/addiction is gauged by addiction specialists as mild, moderate or severe. The treatment environments used to help people with mild-to-moderate problems can differ in important ways from the environments used to help people with moderate-to-severe problems.

There are three main options for substance treatment: inpatient care[ii], intensive outpatient care and standard outpatient care. Each of these options is geared to help a certain segment of the substance-affected population.

People affected by severe substance issues should typically enroll in an inpatient or residential program that provides ongoing oversight for all participants. Residential treatment can take place at a hospital or a specialized treatment facility. Most people take part in short-term programs that only last for a few weeks. However, others enroll in longer-term residential programs — known as therapeutic communities — that can last for as long as a full year.

Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) don’t provide as much oversight as residential programs. Nevertheless, people enrolled in IOPs must come to the treatment facility several times a week and take part in the same types of activities that form the backbone of residential care. For some people who lack adequate time or resources, enrollment in intensive outpatient care can serve as an effective substitute for inpatient treatment.

Standard outpatient care is usually reserved for people with mild substance problems, or people seeking continuing care after enrollment in a residential program or IOP. Most outpatient programs require participants to attend a single session of therapy or counseling each week.

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Programs Designed for Specific Sub-Groups of People with Substance Problems

Many people with diagnosable substance use problems have backgrounds that can influence or alter the normal course of drug or alcohol treatment. Common examples of these backgrounds include:

  • A childhood history of physical abuse, sexual abuse or emotional neglect
  • An adult history of PTSD triggered by exposure to other forms of trauma such as combat, natural disasters or life-threatening illnesses
  • A previous diagnosis for a mental health issue not directly linked to substance abuse/addiction

Some drug and alcohol treatment centers maintain programs specifically designed to meet the needs of people affected by trauma such as a First Responders Program, Veterans Program or Sexual Abuse and Trauma Program. Enrollment in this type of specialized care helps ensure program staff understand the challenges facing each participant. It also helps ensure that each participant receives targeted, effective care that address all areas of concern.

Programs That Serve the Needs of Other Population Groups

Other population groups may have unique needs during substance treatment. Examples of these groups include:

Full-service treatment centers may provide help for each of these groups through targeted programs that incorporate their needs into the overall course of care.

Programs with Specialty Services and Experiential Therapies

Specialty services are designed to enhance the benefits of substance treatment. They can include things such as:

  • Psychiatric Services
  • Holistic Therapy
  • EMDR – Eye Movement and Desensitization and Reprocessing
  • Technology-based brain assessments that improve awareness of specific psychological and cognitive (thinking-related) challenges in recovery

Experiential therapies are supportive techniques designed to increase the motivation and improve the progress of people in substance treatment. They include such options as:

  • Music therapy[iii]
  • Mindfulness training
  • Exercise programs and other forms of recreation

When all other elements of treatment are equal, the availability of specialty services and experiential therapies can act as the deciding factor in choosing an appropriate substance program. People enrolled in programs that provide these options may see improvements in their ability to cope with the inevitable victories and setbacks of the treatment process.

Treatment Programs with Proper Certification

Accredited treatment programs have gone through a third-party process that verifies their suitability as effective options for people dealing with drug and alcohol problems. Transformations Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center is nationally recognized addiction treatment facility certified and accredited by the following organizations:

  • National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP)
  • The Joint Commission (JCC)
  • Florida Department of Children and Families
  • Commission for Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF)
  • Treatment Professionals in Alumni Services (TPAS)

At Transformations Treatment Center, we offer addiction treatment programs for people seeking to recover from substance abuse and addiction. Whether you require an inpatient or outpatient setting, you’ll find what you need. In addition, we provide a broad range of options for specialized, individualized care. Our targeted plans support every stage of recovery, from initial detox to ongoing follow-up care.

  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse: Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment – A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition): Principles of Effective Treatment
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse: Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment – A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition): Types of Treatment
  3. Journal of Addiction Nursing: The Use of Art and Music Therapy in Substance Abuse Treatment Programs
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