Empowering Change
Share This Post:
The Top Questions to Ask a Drug Rehab Center

The Top Questions to Ask a Drug Rehab Center


Admitting you have a substance abuse problem is a challenging process, and once you choose to get help it can be even more overwhelming trying to decide the best course of treatment. Statistically speaking, rehab facilities and treatment centers are home to the most successful methods for beating addiction. However, with close to 15,000 specialized drug rehab facilities, and tons of privatized clinics in the US, you might be asking yourself, ‘how do I choose?’

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, over 2.5 million addicts entered a specialized treatment center, and approximately 80% of those patients completed their full treatment successfully. Unfortunately, the numbers of sustained sobriety after 5 years is only around 20%, but research shows that the most successful patients had tailored programs to fit their exact needs medically, socially, culturally, and economically.

The best way to choose a treatment facility is to ask questions, do research and educate yourself on everything that is available. The purpose of this page is to help you get started with your research into treatment, but first, we have to cover the various types of rehab centers.

Types of Rehab Centers

Inpatient Rehab

Residential Facilities

The most common and arguably the most effective type of treatment center — residential facilities feature around the clock supervision and firmly structured programs. The lack of distractions and variables from the outside world allow trained rehab professionals to guide every step of the treatment process and ensure that patients are in control. Addicts often have trouble making firm decisions and sticking to them, but having a daily schedule with specialized forms of support and therapy provide the discipline and structure needed to tackle addiction. These programs can last 30-90 days or longer.

Luxury Facilities

Rehab in a luxury facility is like an expensive all-inclusive resort vacation. You may have seen pictures or read stories about celebrities attending institutions like this. While the medical staff and treatment resources are top notch, it can be very expensive — upwards of $80,000 per month.

Outpatient Rehab

Outpatient Treatment – Patients spend the day, at a treatment facility participating in scheduled group and individual therapy sessions. Healthcare professionals are onsite and work with the user to overcome their addiction. The main difference is patients do not spend the night, so they can continue to meet their at-home or at-work responsibilities.

Intensive therapies – Similar to regular treatment programs, however, patients will typically have a minimum amount of hours per week which they must attend therapy. This is a good option for people who have daily responsibilities or for those who have completed inpatient treatment are just now trying to maintain sobriety through aftercare.

12 Step Programs – They are free and very accessible in most cities, which makes them a very popular option. One major benefit is that you have a strong support group and a safe forum to speak, which is a very therapeutic and effective method. A commonly known version of this is the 12 step program used at Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.

Holistic – It may not be for everyone, but many have found success with focusing in on specific spiritual, mental, physical and emotional aspects of addiction — something that common therapy doesn’t address. For instance, meditation, aromatherapy, acupuncture, and yoga can all help you regain balance in your life.

Youth & LGBTQ – There are specifically designed programs to meet the needs of specific groups, who may not feel comfortable in a regular treatment center. When overcoming addiction it’s very important to be comfortable and at ease — stress is a common trigger for relapse.

How to Research The Best Facility For You

Now that you have an idea of the common types, it’s time to do some research on individual treatment centers. Don’t be shy when gathering information. It can seem embarrassing or intimidating to ask questions, but remember that this is your life and your health. Getting sober is about taking control and making strong educated decisions. Here is a guide of questions to  ask to help get you started:

What’s the mission statement of your addiction program?

Finding a rehab center that matches your outlook on treatment is very important. For instance, some programs encourage spiritual healing, while some focus more on cathartic healing with a series of scientifically proven treatment methods such as cognitive behavioral treatment.

Does your facility use a harm-reduction program?

The efficacy of harm-reduction programs are questionable because ultimately they are just replacing one drug with another. For example, heroin addicts will be given methadone to wean themselves off heroin. But in many cases, addicts just become addicted to prescription drugs as opposed to their illicit drug abuse.

Do you rely on harmful prescription medications?

Some programs rely heavily on pharmaceuticals to get through withdrawals and recovery. Withdrawals is one thing, but when programs encourage ongoing use it can be a red flag because benzodiazepines like Valium can be addicting and harmful to the body. A more favorable approach is establishing mental and physical health through exercise, diet and social support.

How do you combat cravings?

Again, many facilities rely on drugs for all aspects of treatment, including cravings. Prescription meds can suppress the desire by inhibiting specific neurotransmitters. However, this can lead to psychological problems such as depression. Additionally, it does not address or identify the underlying cause of abuse. So once a treatment course is completed, the cravings will usually return.

Is your facility licensed and accredited?

It varies from state to state, but confirming that a treatment center is accredited and properly licensed is very important. Don’t be afraid to ask for specific credentials from staff and physicians. It’s also a good idea to speak with former patients for a first-hand account of the facility’s treatment program and testimonials.

Do you have a waitlist?

If you find a treatment center that you’re interested in, they may have a waitlist because there are only so many patients they can take on at once. If their wait list is too long, it’s a good idea to find another option — waiting in limbo is a risky precursor to relapse.

For residential programs – how long do you require patients to stay?

Some residential programs can be as long as half a year. These programs are highly successful because they allow for an extended amount of time to practice sober living habits. Some programs are much shorter (around 30 days). 30-day programs have a much lower success rate, but it all depends on your time constraints and whether you have work or socially related commitments.

What is your policy on family visits and participation in the program?

Research shows that patients who have family support are much more likely to get sober and stay sober. Also, once your treatment is completed, if your family has been educated and given proper resources from your rehab facility, they will be a powerful post-treatment tool for maintaining sobriety. Ask specifically about family counseling and their participation in therapy session and activities. If you have damaged relationships, family therapy can help you with reconciliation.

What is the cost of your program?

While different facilities and treatment companies will vary in price, to give you a general idea, here are some average cost breakdowns from The American Addiction Centers for the various types of common treatment facilities (out-of-pocket):

  • Intervention: $2500 plus additional expenses
  • Supervised medical detox: $500-650 per day
  • Inpatient care: $500-650 per day
  • Intensive outpatient care: $250-350 per day
  • Partial hospitalization: $350-450 per day

What are your payment options and do you accept insurance?

The sad truth is that many addicts are financially strapped once they’re ready for rehab. Some facilities offer financing options or specialized payment plans to help get you treatment right away. If you have access to insurance, as of 2008 insurance companies are legally required to recognize substance abuse as a real medical condition. Some facilities offer a sliding scale fee structure, which means that based on your income you pay a percentage that is deemed fair (this varies from state to state).

What scope of medical services do you provide?

Some patients may have co-occurring medical conditions which need to be concurrently treated. Ask if they have the resources to accommodate additional medical needs. It’s important to determine how supervised their detoxification process is, because it can be a very uncomfortable experience, especially if dependence is severe.

What therapy related activities do you offer?

There are many forms of treatment that have been proven successful, such as art therapy, animal-assisted therapy, group/individual therapy, yoga, exercise, etc. The more options a facility offers, the higher chances you will find a treatment outlet that works best for you. For instance, finding a passionate hobby like painting is what some people need to get sober and stay sober.

Do you offer instant cures?

It’s a red flag when facilities offer quick results. Some programs will promise rapid addiction cure through aversion therapy, hypnotherapy, of electrotherapy after just a few sessions. The truth is that addiction is not typically curable, it’s a lifelong condition which has to be managed and cared for. It requires a replenishing of the body and mind, while relearning how to function in society with new sober skills. This takes time and commitment.

What therapeutic methods do your therapists use?

One successful type of therapy is cognitive behavioral therapy, which uses attempts to alter the learned maladaptive behavior of substance abuse. It helps to identify early stages of cravings and teaches you to avoid situations which may pose a relapse risk. Another type is the 12-step program.

Do you offer nutritional support?

Establishing a healthy diet and building up robust vitals is integral to recovery. Many addicts are malnourished and vitamin deficient because of negligence. Research has shown that rehab programs with a nutritional support are almost twice as likely to find success with sobriety.

Does your staff have experience with all types of substance addictions?

Each substance addiction poses a different set of symptoms and challenges to overcome. Making sure the staff is experienced in handling patients with a similar addiction to yours will give you a better chance of success.

What type of aftercare do you provide?

Aftercare is the ongoing post-treatment you should receive as a recovering addict. Rehab centers who have a strong commitment to working with patients even after they’ve left treatment is a good sign that they have your best interest at heart. Scheduled visitation (i.e., once a month to check in) will maintain the structure and discipline necessary to combat addiction.

Once you leave a treatment program, you are going to be faced with many different situations that may tempt you into relapsing. Having an ongoing support group or counselor to check in with, can help you work through the challenges of high-risk situations and triggers. Some facilities can even help you set up a sober-forward living situation.

If I don’t live near the treatment facility can you help me find treatment in my neighborhood?

Most centers have access to a large network of similar facilities such as their own. In following up with good aftercare, they should be able to help you find ongoing support in your own community.

There are a lot of factors to consider before entering a rehab program and many questions to ask a drug rehab center before enrolling. You are placing your life and longevity in the hands of strangers. It’s especially intimidating at a time when you are emerging from the dark cloud of addiction. But doing your own research, and being confident and decisive will help you exercise the control you need to take back your sobriety.

Many factors come down to personal preferences, however, you may not even know what it is you’re looking for. The world of recovery can be hard to wrap your head around at first, that’s why seeking a professional assessment from a qualified physician can help you determine the best type of treatment for you. We can help you get started, and also find a scheduled program that meets the specific needs of your addiction. Contact our Orange County rehab center today to begin the road to recovery.

Contact Luminance Recovery - Start Your Recovery Now

Get the help you need – talk to our team to get started.

Please enter your first name.
Please enter your last name.
Please enter your email address.
This isn't a valid email address.
Please enter your phone number.
Please select an option.
Please make a selection.
Government insurance not accepted but financing available.

Luminance Core Values

It’s not easy to live up to these standards – to be the best, most compassionate, the most innovative. We take pride in what we’ve accomplished. But we’re constantly evolving because there’s always more we can do to raise the bar. It will take bravery and stamina to continue the legacy we’ve established. But in typical Luminance fashion, we’re always up for a challenge.

Our Core Values