Five Things to Look for in a Treatment Center

Family searching for treatment on internet

Drug and alcohol addiction takes tens of thousands of lives each year. Yet every substance-related death is preventable, every addiction treatable.

Few addicts can overcome addiction on their own. Almost all will need help. Not only is seeking treatment for addiction crucial, finding the right program is likely just as important.

Treatment Needed to Overcome Addiction

America’s epidemic of drug and alcohol addiction has become painstakingly clear. It’s a crisis that has been growing since just before the turn of the century, and the last several years have seen skyrocketing overdose deaths, major headlines of entire cities and counties devastated by addiction, and such an extreme loss of life that substance abuse has even been attributed to the recent drop in life expectancy.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 96,779 Americans died from drug overdoses between March 2020 and March 2021. Those are still just provisional numbers. The real death toll may be much higher. But even if it isn’t, that figure represents the highest loss of life from drug overdoses in a 12-month period since recording began.

Alcohol-related deaths are also a serious, crisis-level issue. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, about 95,000 Americans die from alcohol-related causes each year, with both the death rate and the rate of alcohol-related emergency department visits on the rise.

Given the statistics covered above, the fact that drug and alcohol addiction is a lethal crisis for close to 200,000 people each year, one can safely say that getting into rehab and getting off of drugs and alcohol is literally life-saving. One can also say with no exaggeration that picking the right rehab for a loved one to go to will be one of the most important decisions that a family makes.

But once an addict realizes they need help, what then? How does one choose the right treatment center? If you are seeking help for yourself or a loved one struggling with an addiction to drugs and alcohol, what do you look for in a treatment center?

1. Opt for a Residential Center

As a general rule, the more comprehensive services a treatment center offers, the more likely such a program can deliver lasting resources and care that make a powerful difference in a recovering addict’s life. Drug rehabs should empower recovering addicts with the tools they need to tackle life without using drugs as a coping mechanism. Residential centers are far more equipped to offer such services, whereas outpatient facilities, Medication-Assisted Treatment, and more “quick fix” modalities never do more than scratch the surface of the complex crisis that is addiction.

To overcome addiction, a recovering addict has to overcome the reasons why they started using drugs in the first place. Most of the time, residential programs are better suited to helping recovering addicts do this. Furthermore, residential programs offer a level of safety and security from drugs. A residential facility is a drug-free location that will give a recovering addict the chance to experience zero drug use and zero exposure to drugs in their environment for an extended period; something that’s immensely helpful for an addict to overcome addiction.

interview with an addict

2. Find a Program that Focuses on Underlying Issues

Everyone has different reasons for turning to mind-altering substances. When someone begins using drugs or alcohol, they usually do so because the use of substances appears to solve some problem or give some relief to the physical or emotional pain they are experiencing.

A rehab center needs to have a program in place that helps the individual address these underlying issues. It needs to be a center that assists the recovering addict in finding healthy ways of addressing life’s hardships. A good rehab program has to offer healthy solutions for life’s endless array of problems and challenges, or the individual will just go back to seeking an escape through substance abuse.

3. Ask to Speak with Graduates of the Program

One of the most important things one can do when vetting a program to speak with program graduates. Ideally, one could speak with people who have been through the program, individuals who can talk about how that program operates, what types of services it offers, and what about the program worked for them.

C.J., Narconon Arrowhead graduate

4. Ask How the Program Works and What Makes it Effective

When speaking with staff at a prospective rehab center, find out what makes their program effective. If the staff doesn’t know how to answer this question, there is likely a reason.

5. Choose a Comprehensive Program

Choose a program that offers a comprehensive approach to addiction, tackling drug abuse from all angles, including the physical, spiritual, behavioral, and emotional. To be effective, a rehab center needs to leave no stone unturned. It cannot merely approach addiction from the physical, chemical angle because addiction is not limited to a physical crisis. Addiction is so much more complex and involved than that, and a rehab center must uncover the immense psychological and behavioral ties one has to their drug of choice and then address those ties.

A program that commits itself to uncovering and addressing all of the many facets and aspects of addiction will have a much greater chance of helping your loved one overcome their addiction for life.

Addiction Treatment Saves Lives

Daughter returns home after drug rehab

What could go wrong if an addicted loved one does not get into treatment? Given the recent data on fatal drug overdoses and alcohol-related deaths, there is no question that addiction is life-threatening. Over 500 Americans die from drugs and alcohol every day, nearly 200,000 deaths each year, or the equivalent of a large American city wiped off the map each year because of drug and alcohol-related fatalities.

All of these deaths were preventable. And all future addiction-related deaths are preventable. Don’t let your loved one be a part of the rapidly growing statistics of drug-related loss of life. Please seek help at a qualified residential drug and alcohol treatment center today.




After working in addiction treatment for several years, Ren now travels the country, studying drug trends and writing about addiction in our society. Ren is focused on using his skill as an author and counselor to promote recovery and effective solutions to the drug crisis. Connect with Ren on LinkedIn.