Know Before You Go: Top 15 Questions to Ask Addiction Treatment Centers
When you decide to attend addiction treatment, there are actually many question you should be prepared to ask the individuals working at the center before you start your treatment regimen. In fact, it may be necessary to make phone calls to prospective centers before you even visit so that you can be aware of any issues you may have with certain policies or procedures of the facility.
As long as you are not in immediate danger from your addiction and need treatment right away, make sure to ask these questions before you commit to a facility. After all, the NIDA states that there is no one “single treatment… appropriate for everyone.”
1. What Will Be My Length of Treatment?
Some facilities may provide different treatment lengths for different patients, others may be the same across the board. This is why it is important for patients to know ahead of time if a facility provides every individual the same treatment length, as it may not be right for everyone. In addition, ninety days or more is usually considered to be the most effective so a center that does not provide even this could be risky.
2. What is the Cost of Treatment?
Even though it might sound strange to ask, it is important to discuss cost, even over the phone. Many addicts struggle with financial issues and are not able to attend certain facilities because of this.
3. Are There Payment Assistance Options?
Many treatment centers offer payment assistance options to patients, giving them either free, partially free, or sliding-scale fee treatment. These options may also be based on income or other important factors.
4. Do You Provide Language and/or Specialized Communication Services?
If you are more comfortable speaking another language or if you have a certain condition that limits your ability to communicate with others, it is very important to ask about these services.
5. Do You Accept Insurance as Payment?
It is very important to ask if your insurance will be a potential payment for the center’s fees and not to assume that it will. If they say yes, you should also ask which policies and providers the center accepts and check that they will accept yours especially.
6. What is the Setting of Your Center?
Inpatient facilities are very different from outpatient facilities; they are often more expensive and provide more treatments but are also necessary in many cases, especially for those with co-occurring mental disorders and extreme psychological and physical issues as a result of drug abuse. Knowing what kind of center you will be attending can help answer many questions you should have.
7. What Type of Addiction Treatment Do You Specialize In?
Some facilities will not have any one type of treatment and will be likely to take in any individual with a substance abuse problem. Others are more specialized and will focus on a certain substance of abuse, a population of abusers (polydrug addicts, for example), or another specific treatment type.
8. Are You a Privately Owned Facility or a Public Treatment Center?
This could make a difference in many ways, including cost, waitlist time, different treatments available, and others. Privately owned facilities can sometimes be non-profit but others are for-profit; it may also be pertinent for you to ask about this issue as well so you understand all the facts about who is running your facility before you decide to attend.
9. Do You Provide Treatment to Certain Groups Specifically?
According to the NIDA, “Research evidence supports the effectiveness of various substance abuse treatment approaches for adolescents.” A facility that provides treatment especially for adolescent addicts will likely be more helpful to these individuals (and provide more of these approaches) than one which provides treatment to any individual. This is also true for other groups who have faced substance abuse including women, veterans, individuals with co-occurring mental disorders, and formerly incarcerated people.
10. Which Treatments Do You Provide?
This is an important question but it can take some time to answer. Depending on your needs, it may be helpful if you tell the individual on the phone what you are looking for and let them help you by saying whether or not their facility provides it. Certain types of drug addictions, like opioids, have many potential treatments both medication and therapy-based while others, like amphetamines, are going to be heavily therapy-based.
11. Do You Provide Any Holistic Treatments?
If you can afford a facility that provides more treatment types, holistic treatments have been proven to be very effective in helping patients in other ways that medical treatments do not. Obviously, medical treatments should still be present in the center’s repertoire, but holistic treatments can, according to a study from the NCBI, provide patients an opportunity “to express thoughts and feelings through holistic modalities.”
12. What Do You Provide in the Way of Aftercare?
Some facilities will set you up with treatment at another center when you have finished––inpatient facilities often help patients attend a beneficial outpatient treatment program afterward. Others may provide living arrangements in a half-way house or sober living house if necessary. Still others may not make arrangements like these, which will mean that you will need to do them yourself
13. What is Your Rate of Treatment Success?
This question can help you decide if you want to attend the facility and if it will truly help you. If a center has a high success rate, it speaks well for their treatment. If not, it may cause you to have less faith in their abilities and choose another, which is absolutely your decision.
14. What are the Standards of Your Center?
Some facilities are very heavily managed by the government or other groups that ensure safe and beneficial care. Others are not required to meet some of these standards, and it is important for you to ask so that you know what you are paying for and likely to receive in the way of treatment.
15. Do You Allow Potential Patients to Visit Beforehand?
This is extremely important and that actual, onsite visit can help you decide if you truly will benefit from attending the facility or not.