• Dani La Barrie, LCSW, CAP

Questions to Ask if Choosing a Substance Abuse Treatment Center

Updated: Oct 28, 2018




Acceptance is one of the hardest things to do when it comes to anything in general, but especially when it comes to addiction. Choosing the right treatment center whether it be for your loved one or yourself plays a pivotal role in recovery. I've compiled a list of questions that I feel are important to ask the treatment center when deciding if this is the right fit:


1. Is this a dual-diagnosis treatment center?

Most people who suffer from addiction have untreated mental health diagnoses - for example, anxiety or depression. It is important that the treatment center address both mental health issues as well as substance abuse/use. For instance, someone who abuses heroin could have experienced sexual abuse or some sort of traumatic experience when they were younger. If left untreated and unaddressed, their risk of relapse is high after completing treatment.


2. What is the therapist to client ratio?

Ask how many clients are assigned to each therapist. Knowing this information can help indicate just how in-depth that therapist may be able to go and how personal the treatment can become. For example, a therapist with a caseload of 8-10 clients may spend more therapeutic time with each client compared to a therapist with 15 to 20 clients.


3. Where are they located?

As much as we want to be close to our loved ones and family members, sometimes this can be a detriment to their recovery. Familiarity can hurt the chances of sobriety - consider the negative peers that led that person to use substances, chances of running away, and the mindset doesn't really change because they're in a familiar place.


4. What credentials and experience does the therapist/do the therapists have?

I do not feel that the treating therapist has to be in recovery in order to treat someone suffering from addiction. Just like you don't need to have cancer in order to know how to treat it. However, it's imperative that the therapist has empathy, sympathy, and that you or your loved one can feel like you can relate to the therapist in some way. Studies show that having the right therapist is one of the key factors to a client's success.


5. How does the treatment center help re-integrate clients back into the community?

It's helpful to know if the treatment center you're interested in has a schedule or outings. The reason for this is because they can teach those who abuse and use substances that there are other activities and healthier alternatives to relieve stress, deal with anger, and help with negative feelings they often used substances to relieve. These outings help develop better coping skills for those suffering from addiction. Outings and activities can include outdoor activities, a dance class, yoga class, and/or a nutrition class.


6. Do they have an after care program? If so, what does it entail?

After care programs are designed to help transition the client to living independently yet still provide a support system. Some after care programs will assist in finding Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings in the area of where the client is discharging to. Treatment centers that provide an aftercare program aim for a client's long-term success and sobriety.


Unfortunately, because of some reality shows and media, people sometimes think of drug rehab or treatment centers as having large swimming pools, waterfalls, five star gourmet food, and spa-like services. Although a treatment center should be a place of safety and comfort, it is no vacation. Remember that people are there to become sober and work on their recovery. Suffering from the disease of addiction is a very serious thing; something that people die from every day - it is not a place to get a tan and lounge by the pool.

#SubstanceAbuse #TreatmentCenters #Rehab

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