What to Ask Before Choosing a Rehab for Your Loved One

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Each year in the U.S. millions of people enter rehabs for help with their addictions. For some, the results are successful and they go on to lead happy sober lives. But for many others, their stay in rehab offers them a short respite from using only to result in relapse after they return home. Most rehab patients have been to residential treatment more than once, with one in ten having been five or more times.

When a family has to decide which rehab will best help their loved one the choices may seem overwhelming. There are a variety of different approaches, programs, and levels of care for them to consider. When they know the right questions to ask, they are better able to choose the facility that will offer their loved one the most help and the best chance of long-term recovery.

Here are some of the questions families should ask before making their decision about where to send their loved one.

What Type of Results Do You Expect from Rehab?

Different facilities have different expectations, and what they consider success is subjective. Some programs consider it a success for patients if they complete a 28-day stay in residential rehab, while others view success as a patient who stays clean and sober after they return home. Still, others consider their programs as successful when a patient is able to assimilate back into normal life after rehab with gainful employment, improved relationships, and morality, etc.

The family has to decide which result is in line with what they are looking for before making a choice. Finding out how a facility measures their success and what their success rate is will provide valuable information.

How Long is the Program?

Most rehab programs are 28 days. Unfortunately, for many people with addictions that isn’t enough time to achieve stable sobriety. Whether a facility offers a longer period of time, or at least has the option of doing so, is a consideration that is worth looking at. Most people need longer than 28 days to become stable enough to return to daily life without a high risk of relapse.  

Does the Program Use Medication as a Substitute for the Individual’s Drug of Choice?

Many treatment programs use Suboxone, methadone, or buprenorphine to treat addiction to heroin or other opioids. This type of treatment is considered a harm reduction program and its goal is to reduce the harm created by illicit drug abuse rather than creating sobriety. While this type of treatment is shown to be successful at times, it may not be in line with your family’s goals.

Does the Program Use Other Medications that May Be Addictive Themselves?

Most rehabs use benzodiazepines like Valium and Xanax during the detox portion of the program. This helps patients maintain some level of comfort as they go through withdrawal. The goal is typically to use these types of medications only for a very short time and then to discontinue use, as patients can become dependent on them after only several weeks of use. However, some facilities continue to rely on medications like this as a way to lessen stress and anxiety while a person is in treatment. Making sure that addictive drugs are only used short-term and only for detox can help families narrow down their search.

Does the Facility Offer Psychiatric Evaluations and Care?

Most people with addictions have underlying psychological or psychiatric issues that need to be addressed in order to achieve long-lasting recovery. Whether a facility offers access to psychiatric care can be a huge factor in the family’s decision for their loved one.

Does the Program Teach Life and Coping Skills?

No matter how well a person does while they are in rehab, they have to return to daily life and deal with day-to-day situations that will be stressful. That combined with the anxiety and fear that comes with early sobriety can be a recipe for disaster if they have not learned sufficient life and coping skills while in treatment. Making sure that the program they choose offers enough education about dealing with life and coping with triggers is essential for families who are looking for a rehab for their loved one.

Does the Program Offer Family Participation in their Loved One’s Recovery?

Most treatment centers offer some level of family participation in their programs. Some have family days where the patients’ families are welcome to participate in some of the activities and therapy for their loved one. Others offer family members their own program – with some interaction with the patient – so that they can begin to heal as well. The level to which a family wants to participate in their loved one’s recovery is an important factor to consider when choosing a treatment facility.

What Is the Facility’s Recovery Model?

Different facilities have different views on addiction. Some believe that addiction is a disease and that it needs to be treated as such. Others treat addiction as a behavioral issue, a matter of choice. It’s important for families to find a facility that falls in line with their beliefs and that they feel will benefit their loved one the most.

These questions are just a starting point for families looking for help for their loved ones. At Serenity at Summit, we are happy to answer whatever questions you may have about our facility and programs, and to help your loved one get started in recovery.



Staff Writer

Serenity at Summit employs a diverse staff of writers that share a common passion for helping those who are struggling with substance abuse find the care they need. With years of experience in the substance abuse treatment industry and decades of experience in writing and research, our team of writers constantly strive to present accurate and helpful information that is easily digestible and encourages people to seek help.