When a person is ready to enter treatment for drug abuse or addiction, it can feel overwhelming to figure out where to go for help. There are a number of options and decisions to be made, and in most cases, people don’t know where to start. In addition, concerns about the cost, time, and effort that are required for rehab can make people nervous and hesitant to seek help.
Knowing more about the options available and how to compare them with one another can help. The right treatment facility and the right program for the individual’s specific needs can make all the difference in achieving and sustaining recovery. Knowing where to look, and what to look for, can
make it easy to find local facilities, get support, and begin the
journey toward recovery.
Recognizing When Drug Treatment Is Necessary
The first step in getting help for drug abuse is recognizing that there is a problem. This may sound simple enough, but the fact is that many people don’t see their drug abuse as an issue. According to the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), more than 21 million people were estimated to have substance use disorders that required treatment. However, only about 1 percent of those people received treatment at a specialty facility and less than 2 percent got any treatment at all.
According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, the following are signs that an individual may have a drug abuse problem and should seek help:
- Using drugs in higher doses, using more often, or using for longer than intended; not being able to control use
- No longer participating in activities that used to be enjoyable
- Struggling with relationships due to drug use
- Being unable to keep up with responsibilities at work, school, or home
- Hiding substance use from others
- Running out of prescription drugs faster than expected or stealing drugs from others
In addition, if the person feels unable to function without using the substance, or experiences withdrawal symptoms when drug use is stopped, drug abuse or addiction may be present. If this is the case, it is important to seek medical detox and addiction treatment.
The Rehab Process
Stopping current drug use is not the only goal of rehab. Addiction treatment works to help the individual understand what leads to continued drug abuse and addiction, helping the person to identify and manage the triggers that lead to cravings and, ultimately, avoid relapse to drug use. As described by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), this process can be provided in a number of different environments and by using a number of different approaches. The chance of recovery is increased if programs include at least the following basic elements:
- Diagnosis and placement that support the specific individual’s unique treatment needs
- Medically supported detox to ease withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings
- Behavioral therapy to recognize and manage triggers and cravings
- Family therapy to strengthen social support systems and decrease triggering behaviors
- Education about drug abuse and its effects on the individual and others
- Motivational therapy to help the individual maintain abstinence
- Aftercare to transition the individual back into day-to-day life
When contacting treatment facilities or programs, it benefits the individual to find out if these elements are included. Some programs are less comprehensive and may therefore not be as helpful in helping the person achieve sobriety and avoid relapse.
What to Look for in a Treatment Facility
These elements of treatment highlight what to look for in a treatment program. Research-based facilities – which base their methods on those that are shown by scientific research to result in a higher number of positive outcomes – are more likely to include a comprehensive program using the above practices.
NIDA provides a list of questions that can be asked when researching different facilities and programs to help determine whether the treatment will provide a more positive benefit for the individual. These questions are based on making sure that the facility is:
- Using research-based treatments
- Tailoring treatment to meet the individual’s specific needs
- Adjusting treatment as the person’s needs change over time
- Providing a program that lasts long enough to effect change
- Incorporating a 12-Step or alternative peer support element into their care
All of these elements have been shown to be more likely to result in longer-term recovery from drug abuse.
Resources for Finding Drug Rehab
There are a number of ways to search for local or national rehab facilities and programs. One of the main ways is through government agencies, such as:
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
- State, county, or local departments of health and human services
- Mental and behavioral health agencies (often divisions of health departments)
Other sources of information include:
- Local 12-Step programs like Narcotics Anonymous
- Medical offices or hospitals
- Clergy or religious organizations
- Mental health professionals
When seeking a treatment facility, local does not always mean better. Sometimes, traveling for treatment can provide a more research-based model of treatment for the individual, a higher degree of confidentiality, or the ability to separate from triggering situations, such as unsupportive family or social groups. In many cases, travel for treatment is not as cost-prohibitive as expected. For these reasons, traveling for rehab can be considered as an alternative to staying local.
For some people, local care may be a priority due to various reasons. A person may wish to participate in outpatient care in order to continue working or caring for family while in treatment. Others may wish to have family members and loved ones involved in their treatment so close proximity to home is essential.
Paying for Rehab
When seeking rehab, an individual may balk at what are perceived to be the high costs of obtaining high-quality treatment. However, the cost of rehab is not the barrier that many might think it is. There are a number of options to help individuals and their families pay for treatment, including:
- Health insurance coverage: Many health insurance plans include substance abuse treatment in their covered items. According to NSDUH, the majority of people who get drug treatment cover at least part of the cost through health insurance. Check with the relevant insurer to find out details.
- Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act: Federal insurance and healthcare programs require insurers to cover mental health and substance abuse treatment in the same way that they cover physical conditions. Check with the appropriate insurer or the government’s guidelines – such as through Medicare Interactive – to determine limitations.
- Public assistance: The federal government and state mental health organizations often subsidize certain treatment facilities. Check with the facility to see what options may be available.
- Payment plans and sliding scaling fees: Some organizations offer a pay scale that depends on the individual’s income or resources; the cost of care differs depending on these factors. Other facilities may provide loans or payment plans. Check with the facility to see what may be available.
The intake specialists at reputable treatment facilities can help with financing questions. Most facilities want to see everyone who needs help to secure that care, so they can generally work with prospective clients regarding financing issues.
The Path to Recovery
As described in several studies, including one from Addictive Behaviors, one of the most important elements of addiction treatment is finding the motivation to change and sticking with treatment all the way through to aftercare. Family and friends can be critical in providing the support needed for their loved one to persevere through treatment and continued recovery.
The right treatment center can support the motivation to change, to stop using drugs, and to move forward in recovery. By following through on the initial commitment to get help, the individual struggling with addiction can enter rehab, complete a specialized program, and gain the insight, tools, and strength to achieve and maintain long-term recovery. Simply reaching out for that help is the first step; take it today.