If your loved one has decided to seek treatment for their substance abuse, you most likely feel relieved. After watching them struggle with their addiction, they have overcome enough roadblocks to realize how treatment will benefit them. This is most certainly a turning point in their life, a change for the better. Now that your loved one has reached this point, it is important to have a plan in place. The most crucial element to consider is treatment placement. 

Why Can Treatment Placement Be Difficult?

A quick internet search reveals a dizzying amount of information, some of it sending mixed messages. You might find that the nearest treatment center is far away, possibly in another state. Perhaps you are running into the opposite issue, where there are so many options you have no idea where to start. There are potentially many terms you are not familiar with, leaving you with little ability to effectively weigh the choices. 

This is complicated by the fact that many treatment centers promise much more than they can deliver. What you see is very often not what you get, and families do not realize this until they are in too deep. Additionally, there are conflicting messages about what treatment is and is not. For example, some people think that sending someone off to rehab to detox is all that is needed. 

Effective treatment requires long-term commitment, and stopping the use of substances is generally only the first step. Your loved one needs and deserves quality care and patience. Part of connecting your loved one to the proper resources is becoming knowledgeable about some of the options that exist.

The Many Options for Treatment 

You might have seen treatment being offered in different settings. This is a significant consideration in treatment placement. These settings are typically divided into two styles: residential and outpatient. 

#1 Residential Treatment 

Residential treatment centers are places where your loved one will stay for a period of time, ranging from weeks to months. This is an intensive form of treatment where an individual maintains a strict schedule. 

Each day will consist of a variety of therapeutic activities, including individual and group therapy, support groups, and psychoeducation. There most likely will also be medical support, especially in centers where individuals have very recently stopped using substances and are experiencing withdrawals. The emphasis of residential treatment is stabilizing a person and helping them to achieve a period of sustained sobriety.

#2 Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment is less intensive and is often part of the process of leaving a residential center. This setting allows individuals to live at home while accessing services, which typically include individual and family counseling. Rather than attending sessions several hours a day every day, individuals utilizing outpatient services will typically be in session a few hours a week.

An emphasis of outpatient treatment is empowering the individual to cope with the stressors and triggers of their everyday environment while not relying on substances. As time goes on, a person may attend sessions less frequently as they adjust to a sober lifestyle. Continuing to engage in services while not in a state of acute need can be an important maintenance tool and protect against relapse.

What to Look For

One of the most important criteria to look for in a treatment center is its treatment team. You should identify whether the center employs licensed clinicians. Quality mental health providers are protected by professional licensure. There are a variety of different mental health and substance abuse professionals, but they all are required to hold a state license. Licensed mental health professionals include social workers, counselors, marriage and family therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists. 

This license certifies that the individual has gone through the appropriate steps to practice in the field. These steps generally include receiving a graduate degree, passing a comprehensive exam, and remaining in good standing with the credentialing organization. Licensure ensures that all providers meet a certain level of competence and professionalism. If you see that a center has hired unlicensed professionals to provide therapy, you should look elsewhere. It is likely the case that these individuals are providing subpar care not based on current research, and this is not a situation your loved one should be in during their time of need.

In addition to ensuring that clinical staff members are licensed, it is important to determine whether the center is accredited. Accreditation is the process of ensuring that a treatment center is compliant with certain industry standards that protect the safety and privacy of patients. This process includes site visits and comprehensive audits. Some accrediting bodies to keep an eye out for include the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities and the Joint Commission. 

There are other elements that separate effective and ineffective treatment centers. Your loved one and your family will benefit from services that involve the entire family. This can include family therapy, education, and general family involvement in your loved one’s recovery. Choosing a center with a family recovery program can contribute to long-term recovery and well-being. Additionally, a treatment center should never advertise itself as a “quick fix.” It should instead offer a continuum of services to support your loved one during treatment and after discharge.

How a Treatment Placement Consultation Can Help

With all of these options and decisions, you might be feeling overwhelmed. Family-Centered Services offers treatment placement consultation to add clarity to any confusion you are facing. We have personally vetted many treatment centers to ensure they meet the high clinical and ethical standards your loved one deserves. After a comprehensive assessment, we will recommend some centers based on your loved one’s needs. Once they enter treatment, we will continue to support your family through comprehensive aftercare planning for your loved one as well as support and education services for the rest of the family to promote healthier family dynamics and healing.

When your loved one chooses to enter treatment for substance abuse, they are setting the stage for many positive changes that will impact them and the family as a whole. Not all treatment centers are created equally, however. Being able to navigate questions about licensure, accreditation, evidence-based treatment, and quality takes practice. When you are trying to get your loved one help with their addiction, you don’t have all the time in the world, and having a helping hand can facilitate decisions that are the best for your loved one’s recovery. Family-Centered Services can provide that help through our treatment placement consultation services. Call (509) 991-5822 to learn about how our services can help throughout the process.