Questions To Ask When Seeking Treatment


Questions To Ask When Seeking Treatment

Treatment outcomes are dependent upon:

  • The quality of interaction between the person and his or her treatment providers
  • Availability of additional services
  • Appropriateness of treatment
  • Extent and nature of the individual’s problems


When looking for the right substance abuse treatment center, it is important to ask several key questions:

1. Does the program include treatments that are supported by scientific evidence?

Effective drug abuse treatments can include behavioral therapy, medication, or ideally, both.

Behavioral therapies vary in focus and may include creating and maintaining improved personal relationships, strengthening problem-solving skills, ending drug-using activities through incorporating constructive, positive, and rewarding activities, building skills to resist using drugs, providing incentives to stop taking drugs, and discussing an individual’s motivation to change.

A few examples of behavioral therapies include:

Group Therapy

This helps clients face their drug abuse realistically, fully understand its harmful consequences, and increase their motivation to stay drug-free.  Clients will learn how to resolve their personal and emotional problems without abusing drugs or alcohol.

Motivational Interviewing

This includes using strategies to encourage rapid and self-driven behavioral changes to stop the use of drugs and helps a patient enter treatment.

Motivational Incentives

This uses positive reinforcement such as providing rewards or privileges for remaining drug free, for taking part in counseling sessions, or for taking treatment medications as prescribed.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

This functions to help patients recognize, avoid, and cope with the situations in which they are most likely to abuse drugs.


Medications are a crucial part of treatment for many patients, especially when added to counseling or other behavioral therapies.  Various medications may be useful at different stages of treatment: to stop drug abuse, to stay in treatment, and to avoid relapse.

2. Does the program have a customized approach to treatment for the needs of every individual patient?

The most ideal treatment is concerned with an individual’s different needs, not only the person’s substance abuse.

Pairing programs, services, and treatment settings to an individual’s particular issues as well as level of need is vital to the individual’s overall success in recovery.  It is vital for there to be a wide, extensive approach to treatment and also consider an individual’s gender, age, culture, and ethnicity.  A treatment approach may also be influenced by prior efforts to quit using drugs and the addiction severity level.

The most ideal programs encompass various therapies and additional services that will serve the needs of the patients.  Also, the individual may need additional medical services, legal and social services, support for parenting, family therapy, and job training.

In addition, due to addictive disorders as well as other mental disorders often occurring at the same time, an individual with one condition should also be checked for the additional condition.  When these problems occur at the same time, treatment needs to address all of the conditions.  This also includes using medications, if needed.

Medications That Help Treat Addiction To Drugs

Today, medications that treat tobacco, alcohol, and opioid addictions include:

  • Nicotine lozenges, patches, nasal spray, gum, as well as the medications bupropion (Wellbutrin) and varenicline (Chantix) are used to treat addiction to tobacco
  • Vivitrol, Disulfiram, naltrexone, and topiramate (Topamax), and acamprosate (Campral) are used for treating dependence to alcohol
  • Vivitrol, Methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone are used to treat people addicted to opiates (e.g., heroin, prescription pain relievers

3. Does the program adapt treatment as the patient’s needs change?

Service plans and individual treatment need to be evaluated and modified as needed to meet shifting needs.  A patient’s needs for support services should also be served during treatment.

Components of Comprehensive Drug Abuse Treatment


The best programs are comprised of a variety of therapies and other services to meet the needs of the individual.

4. Is the treatment duration enough?

It is vital to remain in treatment for the right amount of time.

The appropriate time in treatment depends on the degree and type of an individual’s needs and problems.  According to clinical research, most addicted individuals require at least 90 days in treatment to fully end or decrease their use of drugs and that lengthier treatment periods result in more favorable outcomes.  The most ideal programs will measure progress and suggest helpful plans to maintain strong recovery.  Drug addiction recovery is a long term process that often requires several sessions of treatment as well as continual support from family and/or community.

Please understand that relapse does not mean treatment failure.

The chronic nature of addiction means that going into relapse for drug abuse is not only possible, but likely.  This is also comparable to what happens with other chronic medical illnesses.  Addiction also needs treatment modification and continual evaluation, if needed.

5. How do 12-step or similar recovery programs align with treatment for drug addiction?

Self-help groups are able to enhance and prolong the effects of professional treatment.  The most well-known programs based on the 12-step model are Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Cocaine Anonymous (CA), and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).  This model for group therapy uses the social support that comes from peer discussion to help maintain and promote lifestyles that are free from addiction.

Therapy groups offer an added layer of community-level social support to help people in recovery with healthy lifestyle goals, such as abstinence.  During and after formal treatment, most drug addiction treatment programs encourage patients to participate in group therapy.

Contact us today to find out how we can help you through this process.
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