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What To Look For When Choosing An Inpatient Drug Rehab Center

Dr. Richard Foster, LICDC-CS

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Richard Foster, LICDC-CS

April 1, 2019

Inpatient drug rehab is a great option for someone who is struggling with a serious addiction to drugs or alcohol. Inpatient drug rehab programs see double the long-term successful recovery rates of outpatient services. Finding the right program to meet your needs can improve your overall recovery experience and the chance of long-term success.

What Makes Inpatient Drug Rehab Successful

The intensity of the experience is what makes inpatient drug rehab so successful. Someone undergoing an inpatient treatment program will have access to support 24/7 for a period of 21 days or longer. A person in inpatient care will attend both individual and group counseling sessions, often on a daily basis. It is an environment free from external influence and triggers that might lead to relapse, and surrounds someone during the most critical period in treatment, with people going through similar experiences.

Inpatient care is highly structured, helping maintain focus on activities, rather than cravings. Healthy food is prepared each day to supplement some of the ill-health effects suffered from years of drug abuse. In many cases, the worries of daily life are replaced with a clear and steady focus on the recovery ahead. This continued focus on issues underlying the addiction is what makes in-patient drug rehab programs so successful.

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What To Look For In An Inpatient Drug Rehab

Once you’ve decided on inpatient drug rehab program, locating a facility that will best suit your individual needs is the next step. Consider the following:

  • Affordability and accessibility of the program
  • Length of the program
  • Types of addiction treated at the facility
  • Program philosophies
  • Group specific programs
  • Lifestyle and comfort level

Affordability And Accessibility

One of the greatest barriers for most people seeking inpatient care is cost and accessibility. Knowing what kind of treatment you can afford and seeking out care regionally is often a good starting point. While proximity to home may be convenient for some, for others, a change of scenery can result in a more positive recovery outcome.

Individuals with children may wish to remain near their families to allow for visitation during the treatment period. Thanks to programs that began in the 1990s, some inpatient drug rehab facilities now offer housing to families, allowing mothers to focus on recovery without being forced to separate from their children. Today, this style of programming is family-centered, with the goal of circumventing the kind of dysfunction fueled by addiction in the next generation.

Length Of Program

Inpatient drug rehab programs can last anywhere from a period of several days to months. While the longer programs see higher rates of success, not everyone can commit to the costs associated with longer inpatient care, or time away from work or family, so the length of time someone can commit to being away is an important consideration in choosing an effective drug rehab program.

Drug-Specific Rehab

Other inpatient programs are geared toward specific types of addiction like alcohol, prescription medications, illicit drugs, or other addiction types. Most programs offer overlapping services, so it is important to know how much experience a facility has in dealing with your type of drug addiction.

Drug Rehab Program Philosophies

In researching the options available to you, it’s also important to consider the philosophies behind the programs offered at any one facility. Many drug rehab centers include the traditional 12-step program, but can vary in their approach to the program. Others offer alternative treatment methods, some of which are more holistic in nature.

Once you’ve become educated on the philosophies available, consider the long-term success rates of each model. Many programs tout high success rates because they are counting the number of people who have graduated from the program period of 21 days or longer, rather than five and 10 year outcomes, which afford a more accurate measurement of the success of the program.

Also, you may wish to find out what kind of aftercare programs exist, if any. Once you return home, this follow-up care will be critical in maintaining a drug-free lifestyle.

Group-Specific Rehab Programs

Some rehab programs focus on specific communities of people. If you are devoutly religious or abide by a specific philosophy, or are part of the LGBTQ community, you may feel more comfortable surrounded by people who share your values during the initial recovery phase. Some drug rehab facilities are gender specific; others cater to elderly populations. Being surrounded by people from similar backgrounds, each going through a similar life transition can benefit someone who has long felt isolated by their addiction.

Lifestyle-Specific Drug Treatment Centers

Other rehab facilities offer luxurious, spa-like accommodations that are costly, but no more or less effective than other programs. On the opposite end of the spectrum, are programs designed around sparse accommodations, steady work and routine, that mimic the military lifestyle. Each caters to its own audience.

For your safety, be sure to check with the state where the facility is located to ensure program accreditation and licensing within that state.

How Do You Know Which Inpatient Program Is Best For You?

There is no 100 percent guarantee that any one method will work for any one person. Considering and weighing the advantages and disadvantages of each can help you narrow your choices to those that make the most sense in meeting your needs.

A good drug rehabilitation facility will acknowledge drug addiction is a disease that alters normal brain function. It requires a comprehensive treatment strategy that takes into account not only the physical demands of drug withdrawals and recovery, but also the underlying issues or mental disorders that may have spurred initial abuse of the drug. In some cases, continued medical care, including medications to treat the addiction, is necessary. Most treatment centers will conduct regular drug screening as well as testing for infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS.

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