What To Look For When Choosing A Treatment Center?

Choosing A Treatment Center?

Knowing how to choose and what to look for in a treatment center is really important!

Finding the right treatment will make it more likely that you complete the program successfully, leave the program sober, and maintain your recovery after you return to your life. But the sheer number of options available means that making a choice can be hard! The sad truth is that some treatment programs are better than others. With over 14,500 treatment facilities in the U.S. alone, it’s hard to know what constitutes a “good” treatment center.

You may be asking yourself, “What should I be looking for?”

Well… that’s what we’re here to help with!

Choosing the right treatment center requires a thorough assessment of what the program has to offer. It’s important to look for a program that has trained clinical staff and offers a variety of therapies. The center should have the proper accreditations as well as a facility that is equipped to suit your specific needs.

There is a combination of factors that go into choosing a treatment program that’s a good fit for you. Recognizing the importance of these factors, as well as educating yourself on what to look out for, puts you way ahead of the game.

Seeking treatment requires some steady research. Depending on the addiction or mental health issue(s) that you struggle with, one facility may be better suited to you than another. Treatment centers often specialize in different areas. This gives you a lot of options!

However, when choosing a treatment center remember the following:

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Treatment Facilities Are Not Created Equally…..

Many have NO IDEA that anyone treatment center is different from another. People often go into a residential or detox treatment facility for the first time by looking for one that is closest to where they live. This can be a mistake! If a facility is inadequately staffed or lacks the necessary clinical credentials, regardless of its location, it will lead to a negative experience.

There are many instances where patients go into treatment and receive ZERO one-on-one therapy or minimum medical and psychiatric care while there. Not all residential treatment programs have fully licensed clinicians or an on-site medical team. Without proper medical and psychiatric care, the detox and residential treatment process is ineffective and can at times even be harmful.

It is also likely that an individual will relapse after treatment without receiving the proper clinical and psychiatric care while in treatment.  

Getting into treatment as quickly as possible is very important. Time is often of the essence. Knowing what questions to ask about the treatment program is just as important. 

Remember, Rehabs Are A Business!

Most treatment facilities operate with good intentions. They want to help people. But, at the end of the day, most of these programs are for-profit businesses. 

Less ethical facilities know how to cut corners and add to their bottom line. Usually at the patient’s expense. 

Running a treatment facility (especially a residential/detox program) requires a lot of staff! 

To cut costs, operators utilize the least qualified (i.e. cheapest) facilitators allowed by their state. This usually means hiring counselors that have completed short, online certificates and/or non-licensed therapists that are in training to complete their required clinical hours.

These individuals have little-to-no experience working in the field.

A good treatment program employs clinicians that have either doctoral or master levels of education. This ensures that they are fully licensed with years of professional experience. For residential and detox treatment programs, a good facility will have on-site medical staff (i.e. licensed nurses and psychiatrists).

The type of staff a facility employs has a MASSIVE impact on the quality of care you will receive.

Why a True ‘Dual-Diagnosis’ Facility is Crucial

Unfortunately, a lot of addiction treatment centers do very little – if anything at all – from a clinical perspective to address underlying mental health conditions that their patients might suffer from. Experts widely agree that individuals suffering from addiction more often than not have some underlying mental health condition. These underlying mental health conditions typically become apparent after some period of abstinence from substances.  

Examples of these mental health conditions are Trauma/PTSD, Depression, Anxiety, Personality Disorders, and Bipolar Disorders. The mental pain and discomfort of these untreated disorders can and do act as a driver for individuals to use substances. Though they are often destructive and have negative outcomes these substances provide instant relief from the emotional pain they are looking to escape. Leaving these underlying causes of addiction untreated drastically increases the probability of relapse.

Facility Size and Client Volume 

The volume of clients a facility has in its care at any given time is very important to consider. A treatment center is more likely to be able to provide individualized attention to you or your loved one if they have high patient-to-staff-ratio. With high patient-to-staff-ratio, clinical groups will be much smaller. These more intimate groups allow a more comfortable and conducive setting for individuals and clinicians to experience and address deeper emotional traumas. It also gives the group facilitators more time to spend with each client individually.

These are just a few of MANY things you’ll want to take into consideration when searching for the right facility. Others considerations include: 

  • Volume and Frequency of Individual Sessions 
  • Clinical Modalities Offered
  • Does the Facility Offer All Levels Of Care 
  • Co-Ed or Gender Specific Facility 
  • What are the Credentials of the Primary Clinicians

At Iris Healing we know how intimidating and stressful this decision-making process can be – We’ve been there. 

To try and make it a little easier on you, We have created a checklist with some of the most important questions to ask a facility prior to making a decision. It has columns built into it, so you can write in each facility’s answers, and then do an easy side-by-side comparison. This can help you feel confident that you’re making the right decision and choosing the best program for you or your loved one. 


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