If your life has been derailed by drugs or alcohol, maybe it’s time to say “Enough.” But what comes next? Where – and how – do you begin to get better? Potentially, the most successful approach may be treatment at an inpatient recovery center, also known as “inpatient rehab.” Here are ten simple steps to help you select the right inpatient recovery program for you:
1) Access to treatment is the first step to success.
When you’re ready to get better, you need a treatment center that has space for you. Lack of space in your preferred treatment center can stop recovery before it starts. Identifying the resources needed to assist in finding the right fit for treatment that is both accessible and financially appropriate can be the key to successfully entering a treatment facility.
2) There’s only one you.
No single treatment center works for everyone, and the rehab you select should be a good fit for your unique needs. Teenagers and young adults, for example, will have specific needs that should be addressed regarding their particular life stage, whereas veterans who suffer from PTSD will have their own treatment needs specific to their experience. Adolescents have unique needs because their developing brains and psyches are “works in progress” that require different tools and support. When you’re checking out residential treatment centers, think about what’s important to you. What about diversity? How important are your spiritual leanings? In sum, look for a treatment center that aligns with your life and your values.
3) Treat the whole person.
Addiction/alcoholism takes a toll on body, mind, spirit, relationships, education, vocation, and personal development….the whole enchilada. Counselors at a comprehensive treatment center will work with you to repair the damage on all of these fronts. As you consider inpatient rehab, look for an atmosphere of empathy, respect, insight and hope. You’ll be doing tough and intensive work, which is why the “gold standard” for residential rehab is 90 days – one day at a time.
4) Location, location, location.
Toxic friends and triggers might inspire you to seek rehab out of town or out of state, and sometimes that is the healthiest approach. But remember: you can’t outrun cancer or diabetes, and substance use disorder has been described as a disease, too. “Wherever you go, you are there” means that recovery requires work, no matter where you seek treatment. Local triggers and unhealthy relationships need not always be a deterrent from seeking treatment close by, if there is a good residential facility in your own back yard.
5) Consider the continuum of care.
While rehab often starts with detoxification, that’s just the beginning of the recovery process. Next comes treatment in an inpatient or outpatient setting. Afterwards, what kind of “aftercare” is available to you? Does your treatment center offer a “step down” transitional living program (with ongoing support, structure, life skills, drug test monitoring, and therapy) or perhaps a sober living home which offers less oversight? Perhaps your treatment center offers drop in “booster shots” of counseling or group support. And consider how being part of a strong recovery community can help you bolster your sobriety.
6) Mind your mental health.
People often use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate; to ease their anxiety, still the voices in their heads or find focus. Effective inpatient treatment needs to address and treat the mental health issues which so often go hand-in-hand with substance abuse.
7) Medical issues should be worked into the plan.
Substance abuse may be accompanied by HIV/AIDS, hepatitis or other infectious disease. Treatment that includes a focus on reducing infectious disease risks can help patients reclaim their health by reducing the risks associated with substance abuse. Getting treatment for substance abuse may give clients the confidence and support to seek improved health across the board.
8) Medications may be part of the toolkit.
While treatment typically involves intensive psychological and behavioral work such as cognitive behavioral therapy or group therapy, medications can also be part of the treatment plan. Improved understanding of the neurology of substance use disorder has opened the door to medications that can reduce craving, improve brain function and increase the chances of sustained recovery.
9) Monitoring is an essential part of treatment.
Random, ongoing drug tests provide a great incentive to stay sober, and failed tests are a powerful red flag that calls out for re-evaluation and plan adjustment. Drug tests are simply one yardstick of progress; counselors and clients should also consistently assess progress towards goals, such as improving relationships or making headway on legal issues.
10) Consider the costs – and the benefits – of inpatient treatment.
The price tag of residential rehab is clearly a consideration in any treatment plan. Residential treatment can cost anywhere between $4,000 and $40,000 a month. Resist the temptation to assume that pricier rehabs are more effective. At the end of the day, you can’t buy your way to recovery because it’s an “inside job” that requires you to change. But you can do your homework, find out what the treatment program offers, think about how it could meet your unique needs, and ask the staff any questions that are on your mind. While a program’s big price tag doesn’t guarantee long-term recovery, a high-caliber inpatient program is priceless.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse elaborates on these and other factors considered important to successful recovery. The bottom line is that educating yourself and your loved ones about the basics of a comprehensive residential treatment will create a strong foundation for successful, sustained recovery.