When it comes to recovering from addictions and substance abuse, help is generally needed. Luckily, there are a number of resources available such as treatment centers and programs dedicated to helping individuals along the road to recovery. However, programs can be as diverse as the individuals who attend them. Thus, it is important to be aware of one’s own needs when compared with what the program(s) have to offer. Oftentimes, though, there are certain key characteristics that separate the truly good treatment programs from those that may be less effective. These defining qualities can ultimately make a big difference in whether or not the patients who attend the program will remain sober in the long-term.

Finding the Best Treatment Addiction

Dr. Constance Scharff specializes in addiction and has a PhD in Transformative Studies. She serves as the Senior Addiction Research Fellow and the Director of Addiction Research at Cliffside Malibu Treatment Center. In her line of work, she has frequently received letters from frustrated parents of grown children who struggle with addiction. She says that “These family members are desperate for help because they have sent their loved ones to countless treatment facilities to no good end.” Regardless of the motivation of the individual starting out, the sobriety never stays and soon they find themselves growing hopeless as they bounce from treatment center to treatment center to no avail. At the end of the day, the families have lost money and the individual continues to abuse substances.

According to Dr. Scharff, there are a few tips to keep in mind when looking for a good treatment center for a loved one in need of help. These pieces of advice can make a difference in whether or not the treatment is ultimately effective in helping the individual achieve a long-term recovery.

Four Tips for Finding Addiction Treatment

1. Ask Questions

When seeking out treatment for addictions it is important to ask questions about the center’s staff, therapies, outcomes, and facilities. Dr. Scharff explains that “ If your loved one had cancer, you would look into different doctors, treatment practices, and hospitals before choosing a treatment team. You’d want to know costs and outcomes. You’d want to know about quality of life during and after treatment, and long-term recovery rates.” According to her, “ these are exactly the same questions you should consider when looking for an addiction treatment facility.” There are a number of therapies and models that treatment. Some use  abstinence-based treatment and some advocate medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, for example. However, and most importantly, as Dr. Scharff notes, only a few of the available centers actually track outcomes for their patients. This information can be important when determining the best possible treatment center for recovery assistance. Thus, asking questions is fundamental to making the right choice.

2. Prepare for Long-Term Care

According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse, or NIDA, for most instances of addiction, treatments that are less than 90 days are seldom very effective. Dr. Scharff argues: “ Don’t waste your money on a treatment program that is of insufficient length. Find a quality treatment program that works to outcomes and use every single bit of insurance coverage that you have, recognizing that when that runs out, the family will have to foot the bill for the rest.” Time is money and one long-term treatment program economically fares better than multiple short-term stints in rehab in the long run. It’s also good to discuss financing options and insurance coverage with the treatment program from the get-go. Most facilities are willing to work with families and patients to come to a sort of agreement about how treatment will work economically.

3. Get Educated

Not knowing about addiction treatment or asking enough questions is a way that frequently leads to families abdicating their powers to others whom they feel are better informed. This lack of knowledge can not only be detrimental to the effectiveness of the treatment but can also potentially be life threatening. Dr. Scharff explains that “If your loved one had diabetes, you’d learn everything you could about diabetes, including the very latest treatments.” This same logic should be applied to addiction treatments to ensure the best possible outcome. Research in addiction treatment has advanced significantly in recent years. The more one knows, the better they will be able to select a quality addiction treatment center to help their loved one(s).

4. Distance Can Be Necessary

Sometimes local treatment centers can be a good option for addiction recovery but other times this is not the case. Nearest doesn’t always equate to best when there are many other factors to consider. Some of the challenges Dr. Scharff has observed in frustrated families and patients include “a backlog of wait lists and beds may not be available for months.” Furthermore, she notes that “another problem with staying local is that the addict still has access to the friends, dealers, and family system that supports their addiction.” Because of this, the most important thing to consider is that the location is providing the services needed at the price desired. Access is also needed immediately, which is why waiting lists can be problematic and even dangerous depending on the situation. Luckily, treatment centers in Florida (and California) have some of the best reputations available!

Keeping these tips in mind can mean finding the best possible treatment center for the best possible recovery outcome.