Alcohol is by far the most common substance of abuse in America for a wide variety of reasons. It’s legal, inexpensive, easy to obtain and its use is encouraged in our popular culture. Sobriety Options understands that while alcohol is legal, it is also one of the most dangerous substances of abuse we treat at our 7 different locations. Not only is alcohol abuse common, it’s also difficult to find a well-rounded alcohol rehab program because the quality of treatment at different locations varies tremendously. This article is designed specifically with this difficulty in mind. The purpose of this article, then, is to help you gain some insight into alcohol rehab programs of all types and determine for yourself what program will help you or a loved one best.
Insight #1: The Quality of Alcohol Rehab Programs Vary Considerably.
One thing to keep in mind is that the cost of a program doesn’t necessarily relate to program quality. There are a wide variety of treatment methods and programs that span the spectrum of cost from being free to being very expensive. For example, millions of people have found sobriety in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and others have found long-term sobriety from free programs with a housing component like the Salvation Army. For-profit and non-profit treatment facilities that charge the patient fees or bill insurance to provide care vary in quality as well. There are plenty of horror stories of abuse in treatment facilities throughout the nation and that abuse ranges from physical to mental abuse as well as widespread fraud as in the case of the former owner of Community Recovery Los Angeles.
To determine program quality there are a number of things to consider. The first is licensure. Most states have a government entity that provides licensure to inpatient and outpatient facilities for alcohol use disorder. In California, for example, it’s the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS). DHCS publishes the names of licensed programs and their license status as well. They also maintain a page on their website that lists programs in probationary status as well as programs that have suspended or revoked licenses. To determine what agency licenses treatment programs in your state simply enter the following phrase in your browser of choice “Who licenses drug and alcohol rehab programs in my state.” You should find the department quite easily. Once you do, give them a call and ask about the specific program you are considering. Do they have an active license in good standing or is their license in probationary status, suspended or revoked?
Another thing that’s important to consider is accreditation. Not all treatment programs seek third-party accreditation and the reasons for seeking accreditation vary. It’s important to note that it’s possible to operate an alcohol rehab program with a valid, state sponsored license without being accredited. So, why do drug and alcohol rehab programs seek accreditation? First, it shows potential clients, employees and referring agencies that they care about quality of care because becoming accredited is not easy. Second, insurance companies increasingly deny billing claims from treatment providers that are not accredited. The two most common third-part agencies that provide accreditation to alcohol rehab programs are The Joint Commission and CARF International. The Joint Commission doesn’t just give accreditation to alcohol rehabs, but medical facilities of all types including hospitals. The Joint Commission accreditation is considered the gold standard of accreditation in the industry. CARF International, on the other hand, solely gives out accreditation certificates to behavioral health programs. There’s two things to do to determine accreditation status: (1) call the facility you are considering and ask them who provides their accreditation; and (2) call either The Joint Commission or CARF International and ask about the accreditation status of the alcohol rehab program you are considering.
The last thing to consider is reviews. Google reviews are perhaps the largest resource of reviews online for alcohol rehab programs. Just enter the exact name of the treatment program you are considering in the Google search bar and the facility’s Google maps location will have a link for reviews within it.
Insight #2: Treatment Methodologies in Alcohol Rehab Programs Vary Considerably.
There are a wide variety of treatment methodologies in alcohol rehab programs throughout the United States. Some are religious based, others hold the philosophy that going cold-turkey and maintaining complete abstinence without the use of prescription medication to decrease withdrawal symptoms or cravings is the best route. Other alcohol rehab programs may also treat co-occurring mental health disorders that contribute to substance abuse. The most important thing to consider is what you or your loved one is currently going through. High-quality alcohol rehab programs should not admit a new patient without a comprehensive assessment. Questions in the assessment are designed to determine the severity of alcoholism, namely, frequency of use, amount of use, medical history and mental health history and current mental health status. It’s important for a medical professional or clinician to ask these questions to determine an appropriate level of care for the person seeking treatment. For example, if you or your loved one has a history of delirium tremens, a clinician may suggest either inpatient hospital care or a medically supervised alcohol detox program prior to admission for inpatient alcohol abuse treatment. This is of vital importance because medically supervised detox programs for alcohol use disorder can be life saving. The key takeaway when considering an alcohol rehab program is this: if there isn’t a comprehensive assessment taken prior to admission don’t consider the program because alcohol withdrawals can be deadly.
Insight #3: The Treatment Team in Alcohol Rehab Programs is of Vital Importance.
Another thing to consider when choosing an alcohol rehab program is the Treatment Team. A well-rounded Treatment Team is staffed with a wide variety of licensed professionals. They should consist of medical staff such as M.D.’s, D.O.’s, Nurse Practitioners, LVN’s or LPN’s, Medical Assistants and/or CNA’s. Quality programs will have these professionals to address the dangerous medical aspects of alcohol withdrawal. They prescribe and administer FDA approved medications for dangerous withdrawal symptoms. They may also prescribe anti-craving medications like Naltrexone. These programs will also have a wide variety of clinical staff. They will have a Psychologist or Master’s level clinicians like Marriage and Family Therapists or Clinical Social Workers as well as counselors for group and individual therapy. These staff members specialize in addressing the mental health aspects of alcoholism and they are a vital component of the Treatment Team.
Living with alcoholism or watching a loved one suffer from any substance use disorder is challenging and painful. There are many options for treatment available and considering the quality of your provider can be the difference between long-term sobriety or continued use and severe adverse effects from withdrawal symptoms. Sobriety Options maintains 7 different locations to treat alcohol use disorder in inpatient settings. As well, they offer medically assisted detox for alcohol use disorder. If you or a loved one needs help finding an alcohol rehab program near you, please call our 24-hour hotline at (855) 485-0071 or Contact Us through our website.