Alcohol rehabilitation centers: 5 MUST HAVES

We examine why licensing, staff, and evidence based treatments are CRUCIAL in the treatment of alcohol addiction…more here.

minute read

Looking for alcohol rehab?

Alcohol rehabilitation can help you or a loved one overcome the physical and psychological dependence on alcohol. A sober life is possible!

If you already made a decision on getting treatment, there are things you need to consider to find quality alcohol rehab program. We review them here. Then, we invite your questions and comments in the section at the end.

What is “quality” alcohol rehabilitation?

The quality of alcohol treatment is determined, not only by the therapeutic techniques applied, but also by the characteristics of individual treatment providers such as:

  • program competence
  • quality and experience of staff
  • continuity of treatment

These are critical elements in judging the effectiveness of alcohol treatment programs. So, before getting into treatment…what should you be looking for?

How you can tell the good from the bad?

There are several things you need to take into account when choosing the best alcohol rehabilitation program for you. Here is a list of our 5 MUST HAVES for any to be a good match:

1. Program licensing – It is really important for you to get into a certified treatment program. To do this, check if the treatment program is accredited by the state it’s in. Ideally, the facility will also be certified by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO).

These standards will bring your peace of mind in that the facility has been examined and approved by an established and trustworthy body. Those programs that are licensed mean that the organization has satisfied established performance objectives in order to be certified. The standards cover a broad range of care areas, including:

  • quality of treatment
  • emergency management
  • infection control
  • patient safety
  • human resources management

2. Customized to your needs! – The circumstances that lead to addiction are as diverse as the patients themselves. A one-size-fits-all approach to treatment will generally not translate to success for everyone.

Instead, a quality rehab facility will have the resources and personnel to customize a unique treatment approach to each individual. This starts with a thorough evaluation and patient history. The facility will then design a care program consisting of evidence-based therapies from which they feel the patient will most benefit.

It’s helpful to ask rehabs to explain to you their treatment philosophy and to walk you through the stages of treatment. Feel free to explore multiple programs with a diversity of treatment therapies before making your decision. Look for professional, social, and life skills resources that allow you or your loved one to learn to regain independence while in a treatment program.

3. Family involvement – Coming home from rehab can be a difficult experience. Many people directly attribute their relapse to their inability to reconnect with their family after they return. For this reason, it’s important to choose a facility that offers you a chance to reconnect with your family while in treatment. This helps to lay the foundation for a healthy family dynamic in which expectations are established and boundaries are respected.

Further, you or a loved one should be able to develop a plan for recovery while in treatment so that you can more easily rejoin the household and successfully maintain recovery after formal treatment ends.

4. Aftercare treatment plans – Alcohol rehabilitation centers should offer a clearly defined plan of action to follow upon discharge. This plan should include everything from ways to manage  stress to tips on how to avoid potentially toxic situations and interactions, referral to support groups, and relapse prevention.
It’s also important that you have a connection to your therapists during their more vulnerable periods. It’s best to choose a facility that offers regular patient follow-up by doctors, psychiatrists, and psychologists or program staff to verify and check in on post-treatment progress.

5. Precise medical record keeping – Medical records serve many purposes. First and foremost, they document the history of examination, diagnosis and treatment of a patient. This information is vital for all providers involved in a person’s care and for any subsequent new provider who assumes responsibility for that person. In disciplinary or peer review matters, medical records can justify (or refute) the need for a particular treatment. If the rehab DOES NOT keep medical records, pass it over.

What kinds of alcohol rehabilitation centers are available?

Alcohol treatment programs fall into two main groups: inpatient and outpatient centers. Most require that you start the process of treatment with detoxification, during which the body is cleansed of alcohol. But detoxification itself is not enough to maintain long-term sobriety.

Types of alcohol rehabilitation include:

Inpatient: People receiving inpatient care are admitted to a clinic or other facility, where they reside for the duration of treatment, which may range from 28 days to 3 months, or more.

Outpatient: People receiving outpatient rehab treatment usually are expected to travel to a treatment facility daily (including weekends) for group and individual treatment sessions.

Long term: In long-term rehab you receive care 24 hours a day, generally in non-hospital settings. The best-known residential treatment model is the therapeutic community (TC), with planned lengths of stay of between 6 and 12 months. TCs focus on “resocialization” and use other residents, staff, and the social context as active components of treatment.

Short term: Short-term residential programs provide intensive but relatively brief treatment based on a modified 12-step approach. These programs help to reduce the risk of relapse once a patient leaves the residential setting.

Pharmacological interventions: Medications can be used to help reestablish normal brain function and to prevent relapse and diminish cravings. Currently, there are medications for alcohol addiction such as naltrexone, acamprosate, and disulfiram. Most people diagnosed with severe addiction problems, however, are polydrug users (users of more than one drug) and will require treatment for all of the substances that they abuse.

Behavioral and psychotherapy: Behavioral treatments help patients engage in the rehabilitation treatment process, modify their attitudes and behaviors related to drug abuse, and increase healthy life skills. These treatments can also enhance the effectiveness of medications and help people stay in treatment longer. Treatment for drug abuse and addiction can be delivered in many different settings using a variety of behavioral approaches.

Community model or halfway houses: Destructive living environments can make recovery difficult for even highly motivated individuals to stay sober. Sober living houses are alcohol and drug free living environments for individuals attempting to abstain from alcohol and drugs.

Alcohol rehabilitation options and questions

Still need help with choosing the right alcohol ab/use treatment? Please leave any questions at the end of this article and we will try to address your issue(s) as soon as possible.

Reference Sources: NIH: Assessing Treatment and Treatment Processes
NIH: An Overview of Outpatient and Inpatient Detoxification
NIH: Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment
NIDA: Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
I am ready to call
i Who Answers?