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Choosing an Alcohol Rehab? 8 Issues to Consider

Are You Deciding Which Alcohol Rehab Treatment Center Is Right For You Or Your Loved One?

Choosing an alcohol rehab program for your loved one is one of the most important decisions you will make on the path to recovery. Get this intervention right, and the process can begin from a strong and stable base; get it wrong, and you could be sowing the seeds for an ongoing cycle of failure. With such a critical decision looming, it's helpful to lay out all of the considerations you will face, and give careful thought to each one.

Issue #1: What Kind of Treatment Is Needed?

Alcohol rehab programs can be split into three categories. Not all rehab centers offer all types of programs, so this decision needs to come first.

There are three main types of programs available:

Intensive Outpatient Programs: At an IOP, your loved one will typically attend rehab 3 days a week for 2-3 hours a day, all while living at home and—when appropriate—continuing work. As a fully outpatient program, this is the least disruptive option available.

Partial Hospitalization Programs: Here, the patient will either live at home or in a sober living community close to the facility, and will attend rehab services for 3-5 days a week, for as much as 6 hours a day.

Residential Treatment Programs: These involve living at the center under 24 hour care and supervision, for a length of anywhere from 30 to 90 days. It is an intensive treatment option that is ideal for those who have tried other rehabilitation options without success.

Issue #2: Choose a Location

If your loved one is going to stay at work or needs to be close to family, then a local rehab center may be your only option. However, many patients find it best to move well away from their normal environment, since this ensures anonymity and also gives a sense of starting over anew.

Issue #3: Does Your Loved One Need Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

Alcohol addiction often goes hand-in-hand with a mood disorder or other mental health problem. Although complex and intertwined, these are separate issues that require separate treatment programs. Leaving the underlying mental health issue untreated will lead to an increased rate of relapse and treatment failure. Though mental health can be a difficult issue to discuss, it is important to determine if the facility you choose is capable of handling both simultaneously.

Issue #4: Which Recovery Philosophy Is Right For You?

Different rehabs have different treatment philosophies. Many use the faith-based 12 Step Program, while others will use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and still others take a holistic/alternative/complementary therapy approach. Choose carefully, as this ethos will underpin the entire treatment program, and needs to mesh well with the patient’s personality.

Issue #5: Check the Center's Credentials

Rehab centers must be accredited by the state they are in. It's also important to check the qualifications of the management and staff: alcohol rehabs should be run by licensed health professionals with expertise in mental health and addiction. It might seem like this point would go without saying, but unscrupulous providers may try to circumvent the system.

Issue #6: How Effective Is the Program?

Look for evidence of the rehab's effectiveness. What are their relapse rates? Medicine has experienced a global shift toward evidence-based practices, and a good center will be happy to provide you with data and statistics that prove their claims.

Issue #7: What Amenities Are Offered?

In addition to the core treatment, it is often helpful to choose a rehab which offers excellent recreational and leisure facilities in order to help create a positive recovery experience. Some offer yoga, meditation, and saunas, while others might organize day trips or art therapies. Some are in naturally beautiful surroundings, which is a bonus unto itself.

Issue #8: What About Aftercare?

Recovery is a lifelong journey (if you haven't watched our front page video, do so now) and does not end when your loved one checks out of rehab. Ask about aftercare programs at the facilities you are considering. Is there a strong support structure in place?

Examining these eight issues will enable you to narrow down the choice of alcohol rehabs until you find the one that is perfect for your loved one. Don't rush this step—a little time spent now weighing your options will pay dividends in the future by giving your loved one the best possible chance of sobriety.

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