Choosing addiction treatment facility for yourself or a loved one.

How To Choose A Rehab

Are you looking for ideas on how to choose a rehab center for drug or alcohol use disorders? If so, then you have come to the right page.

Asking how to choose a rehab is a sign that you have recognized that you or a loved one need help.

And that is a great acknowledgment.

The truth is that choosing the right alcohol or drug use disorder rehabilitation center is not easy.

With over 14,000 specialized addiction treatment facilities in the U.S as reported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are so many options that make picking the best addiction treatment facility for yourself or a loved one hard.

However, there are many tips on how to choose a rehab center or program and we will be going over them below to help you choose wisely.

How to choose a rehab center

There are a few things that we recommend that you do first before choosing a rehab center.

Some of those things are:

  • Talking to your doctor first
  • Learn more about addiction and rehab centers
  • Have an idea of what you need

Consult with your doctor

Before choosing a rehab program provider it will be helpful to speak to your doctor or general practitioner first.

Doctors have a wealth of information about their clients and know a lot about so many diseases and substance abuse.

By speaking to your doctor or general practitioner, he or she can give you some general ideas on your needs and make some recommendations on treatment and coping et cetera.

Your doctor can also make some referrals.

Educate yourself about addiction and rehab centers

Part of solving any problem in life is to educate oneself on the issue or issues. It is no different from drugs, alcohol, and other types of addiction.

There are many well-researched and helpful resources like this website that provide information on various types of addiction.

This information includes the type of addiction definition, signs, symptoms, health implications, treatment options, treatment program length, treatment process, and how to pay for the treatment, etc.

The more you can learn about your type(s) of addiction and treatment options the better for you when it comes to picking the right rehab center.

Have an idea of what you need but be open-minded

As we mentioned before, learning about rehab options and one’s addiction problem is very important.

The reason this is important is that learning about your type of addiction or addiction will help you figure out your rehab needs and goals.

For example, by learning about the different forms of treatment facilities, you can decide which one is the best option for you based on your current job or family responsibilities, etc.

You always want to figure out your rehab goals.

If you have other mental disorders like anxiety or depression then your goal should be to choose a rehab facility that specializes in co-occurring disorders treatment.

Now just because you know your rehab needs and goals doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be open-minded and listen to sound recommendations when you talk to a rehab center.

For example, if your goal is to enroll in a 30-day outpatient program, but the facilities you are consulting with or your doctor recommends a longer-term or an inpatient program based on your history, it may be wise for you to listen to them.

Factors to consider when choosing a rehab center

When it comes to how to choose a rehab facility, there are some very important factors to consider based on your situation that will help you make the right choice.

Even though choosing a rehab can be very challenging, however, if you know the factors to consider, the whole process will be less challenging.

The factors you should consider before choosing a rehab center are:

  • Paying attention to the initial
  • The type of facility
  • The rehab facility treatment approach
  • The cost
  • The staff
  • The facility credentials
  • The facility aftercare programs or whether or not they will help you with finding one
  • Amenities
  • Detox
  • Location
  • Whether the place is insured & bonded
  • The facility program reviews

Below are the factors discussed further in detail.

Pay attention to the initial contact

When you call a treatment center and the admission counselors are rude or rushing you, that is not a good sign.

An admission counselor or treatment professional should be professional and take the time to answer your questions without you feeling rushed.

So when calling various addiction recovery facilities pay close attention to the first interactions.

Follow your guts and if things are off, cross that facility out.

The type of facility( Inpatient vs Outpatient programs)

Consider the type of facility or treatment settings that a rehab center offers and how they will affect you.

The facility types or treatment settings are:

  • Inpatient/Residential: This is a full-time program where the individual will live in the facility for the duration of the program. The individual will go to most of the sessions and therapies at the facility. This program is typically the most expensive. Even though, expensive, a lot of studies show that the success rate is high for inpatient addiction care.
  • Standard Outpatient: This is an option that allows an individual to receive treatment at a facility but goes home after each treatment. They are less intensive than the programs below and are typically used as a continuation program for the other type of programs. This program is cheaper than inpatient rehab and it allows the individual to keep their normal routine.
  • Partial Hospitalization Program(PHP): Typically the most intense of the outpatient programs. For some people, it is a full-time program like the residential program. The difference is that the individual will go home after each treatment.
  • Intensive Outpatient Program(IOP): This is another outpatient program that is intensive. The patient will go to treatment at a scheduled time.

The type of treatment setting that an individual picks may determine their rehab completion rate.

Some research has shown that those who go to a specialized inpatient program for a long time tend to have a better treatment outcome.

The truth is that each form of rehab has its pros and cons. So consider each seriously before picking a rehab center.

The rehab facility treatment approach

Most rehab centers may not advertise this but some still use the confrontational and shaming approach.

This approach to substance use disorder rehabilitation is so outdated and not recommended.

Make sure that you choose a rehab facility that uses evidence-based and research-based or scientifically sound approaches to rehab.

What is the evidenced-based approach? According to an article on the Nurse Publisher, an evidence-based approach is when a program is based on the fact that people who were previously in the same program have had a successful outcome.

The scientific or research-based program basically means that that a program has been tested and the outcomes measured by research experts and/or scientists to validate all or some of the results.

Some of the examples of evidence-based and research-based approaches in rehab are:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapies(CBT)
  • Motivational interviewing
  • 12-Step programs
  • Interactive Journaling:
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)

You can also learn more about evidence-based treatment methods from SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices.

It is a database that features a lot of evidence-based treatment methods for substance abuse.

The cost

Tips on how to choose a rehab wouldn’t be complete without mentioning that one should consider the cost.

The cost of a rehab provider program is usually one of the biggest factors that prevent people from seeking treatment or getting quality care.

Be careful about picking a rehab just on the cost alone.

Some rehab program providers advertise as low-cost providers but some of these facilities lack quality care.

The Staff

Everyone at a rehab facility doesn’t need to have a Ph.D. but the staffs have to be properly licensed and trained for each of their roles.

The staffs administering medications need to have the right licensing to do so.

The doctors, therapists, and counselors need to have the proper schooling and credentials from a licensing body.

Some alcohol, drug and other treatment centers lie about their staff credentials so watch out for this.

The facility credentials

Anyone can start an addiction rehabilitation clinic, however, the right ones will go the extra length to get credentials from reputable organizations like the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) and The Joint Commission.

  • Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF): This is a non-profit organization that is recognized worldwide. They provide an in-depth review of rehab centers. Being accredited by CARF also means that a facility has met CARF rigorous guidelines for service and quality.
  • The Joint Commission: This is also a not-for-profit organization that certifies and accredits health care providers such as addiction recovery services providers.

The point we are making is that you should sure that the rehab provider that you choose has the proper accreditation from a reputable body.

Aftercare options and/or assistance

Aftercare programs are very important in preventing relapse.

Studies have shown that going to aftercare programs such as Alcohol Anonymous(AA) or Narcotics Anonymous can help those dealing with substance abuse stay sober.

So you want to make sure that the treatment facility that you pick has an aftercare program or will assist you in enrolling in ones.

Their amenities

When it comes to choosing a rehab facility, the type of amenities provided by a facility is very important for some people.

Some people do not mind basic amenities while others want luxury.

You should consider picking a rehab facility that offers most or all of the amenities that you want.

You do not want to go to a rehab facility that doesn’t offer the amenities that you like as this could make you unhappy staying at or going to the facility.

The good thing about drug and alcohol rehab is that there are so many different facilities that provide all kinds of amenities.

So you shouldn’t have a problem finding one that will meet your amenity preference.

Detox programs available

Part of a successful drug, alcohol, and tobacco treatment is doing the right detox.

You want to make sure that you choose a rehab facility that follows evidence-based and scientifically researched methods recommended for detoxification.

There are many detoxes for substance abuse or addiction and the one recommended is the medical detox.

Medical detoxes are considered the best detox for drug and alcohol abuse or addiction.

So it is recommended that you choose a rehab center that does that.

Another good detox is the holistic detox approach. This approach focuses on both your body, mind and they also include medical detoxification.

Another thing to consider is whether or not the rehab center has its own detox program with its facility.

Some addiction treatment facilities have an in-house detox program while others outsource it.

Where the rehab facility is located

How do you choose a rehab based on location?

Location is a very important factor to consider because the location of the treatment facility that you choose for your rehab may affect whether you complete a rehab program or not.

For some people picking a location close to home is not a good idea as they might be close to temptations.

If you pick an inpatient program that you have to drive hours to, you might not be motivated to go to sessions some days.

And that is not good because consistency is very important for a positive outcome of any addiction treatment.

Location is also important when choosing an addiction rehab provider because who would like to go to a facility in a bad neighborhood or place with too many distractions such as bars and clubs?

A rehab facility by nature such as the ocean or mountain is just serene.

The calmness of such places can be helpful for people seeking addiction treatment.


Rehabs near me 

Inpatient rehabs near me

Outpatient rehabs near me

Are they insured and bonded

Make sure that the facility is insured and bonded.

This will make sure that if there is a medical emergency that they have the insurance to call an ambulance et cetera.

Reviews from past patients

When considering a rehab facility, you should also check their reviews online and be wary of providers with perfect reviews.

No business will get 100% satisfactory from all hundreds or thousands of their current or former clients.

Consider rehab facilities with ratings in the middle or above average as the ones showing perfect 5-star reviews tend to be fake.

Besides reviews online, you can also ask an addiction recovery services provider for testimonials.

Public vs private rehab center

One of the important factors to consider when choosing a rehab program provider is whether to go with a public-funded or private one.

Public rehabs

Public rehabs are the ones funded by the state or local government.

These rehab facilities are cheaper but you have to qualify and the waiting list tends to be longer and you can wait for months or years before you can get accepted.

You are not guaranteed a bed too.

Other things to consider are that public-funded centers may not be up to date on program methods because of fundings et cetera.

You may also not receive the tailored personal care that you need for a successful treatment.

Private rehabs

These are mostly rehab centers that are for-profit. Even though very expensive you have the options to pick based on your needs and wants.

If you want a luxury facility with golf, yoga, and luxury rooms you can have them if you are willing to pay for it.

Private rehab facilities also tend to offer various treatment methods.

Cost is the biggest issue with private rehabs as mentioned above.

Helpful questions to ask a treatment centers

Part of choosing the best rehab center for drug and alcohol treatment for yourself or your love is to ask a lot of questions when you call the facilities.

A lot of these facilities make a lot of false claims so asking great questions is very important in helping you narrow your selection down to the right rehabilitation center.

Here is a summary of some of the things we discussed above and how you can pose them as a question when you are speaking with various addiction treatment providers.

  • What type of detox do you offer?
  • What type of approach does your rehab facility use for addiction treatment?
  • Can you provide the exact evidence-based and research-based methods that your facility uses?
  • Do you guys employ the confrontational approach?
  • Who are on your staff and what are their credentials?
  • What’s your process?
  • Will my health insurance plan cover the entire rehab? If not, what will it cover or not cover?
  • Do you take care of many people with my type of addiction problem?
  • What type of aftercare programs or assistance do you offer?
  • What’s your follow-up plans after initial treatment?
  • What’s a typical day like at your facility?
  • What’s the breakdown of your addiction rehabilitation program cost?
  • What’s your facility treatment success rate and how does your facility determine success?
  • How many people from your program relapse?
  • What addiction treatment payment options do you accept?
  • Can you help get someone into rehab who doesn’t want to go?

Speak to and investigate various centers

We highly recommend that you speak to various rehab facilities and also investigate the information that they provide to you or a loved one.

Speaking to various addiction treatment providers will help you learn more and eliminate the ones that you feel wouldn’t meet your needs.

Also, make sure that when you collect the answers to your questions that you investigate those answers.

For example, if a facility tells you that they are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities CARF, look them up on the CARF website or call.

Other things to investigate are the credentials of their staff.

You can look up doctors, therapists, and nurse’s licenses by calling your state licensing body for the various disciplines.

Do not believe everything that you are told. The addiction treatment space has a lot of fraudsters.

The good news is that the reputable ones will help you investigate them and provide you with evidence to help you feel comfortable.

So you have learned how to pick the best rehab center. What’s next?

We hope that the tips on how to choose a rehab center for drugs, alcohol, and other addiction that we provided will help you in picking the right treatment facility for yourself or a loved one.

If you have more questions or ready to consider a treatment facility, please call to speak with a rehab center treatment professional now.

The call is free and there is no obligation for the consultation.


Updated on May 21st, 2023