How Do I Find the Best Rehab for Myself?

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When searching for a treatment program for yourself, choosing a center can be overwhelming. Given the array of options, it can be difficult to know what to consider. Below you will find different options when selecting a rehabilitation center that’s a good fit for you.

Special Considerations

Quality of an Addiction Rehabilitation Center

When seeking a high-quality rehab or treatment center, it is essential first to know that no single treatment is appropriate for every person. In fact, treatment must be tailored to your individual needs. [3]

The best approach to treatment is a holistic one.  A plan that meets your needs related to medical, psychological, and social well-being, as well as any needed vocational and legal services. [3]

When considering a potential center, the center’s staff should be able to tailor treatment to your specific needs.

Additionally, you want to look for an accredited center. The highest accreditation level for rehab centers is the Joint Commission Behavioral Health accreditation. This accreditation means that the center opens its doors to a panel of outside experts for review.

The panel will validate the care, treatment, and services provided at the center. [4] Furthermore, programs of high quality will have fully-licensed staff who have received special training in the treatment of substance use and mental disorders. [1]

Some good questions to ask regarding accreditation and quality treatment include [1]:

  1. Has the program been licensed or certified by the state?
  2. Is the program currently in good standing in the state?
  3. Are the staff qualified and fully licensed providers?
  4. Does the program conduct satisfaction surveys?
  5. Can they show you how people using their services have rated them?

Evidenced-Based Practices

Quality programs offer treatments that have been proven to be effective in treating substance use disorders including medication management therapies. [1]

Evidence-based practices for substance use include motivational therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, drug and alcohol counseling, education about the risks of drug and alcohol use, pharmacotherapies, 12-step models, and peer support. [1, 3]

Affordability and Insurance

Woman by the beachYour access to a specific center may be determined by its affordability. If you have insurance, you may contact your insurer and ask about your coverage and whether they have a network of preferred providers for you to use or if a center you are interested in is in network with your insurance. [1]

If you don’t have insurance, know that your state may have funding to provide treatment for those without insurance coverage.[1] Also, some centers offer “sliding scale” rates, which are discounted rates for those in financial need who do not have insurance coverage, or they may be able to offer payment plans.


Location will likely influence your decision on selecting a center. A question to consider is if it is best that you stay local or go somewhere farther from home?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, people in the United States can choose from more than 14,500 drug and alcohol treatment centers. [3]

Location is especially important when considering if you’d benefit from family involvement (for example, family therapy, family groups, and on), if you plan to continue working while receiving services at a treatment center, as well as a plan for building your recovery community where you will be needing it, which is at home. [1]

Lifestyle Considerations

Lifestyle considerations may influence your decision on selecting a center as well. Some centers further specialize in or have special accommodations for: LGBTQ+, mental or physical disabilities, pregnant women, HIV/AIDS, religion, and so on. [3]

Level of Care

Another factor that plays a large role in selecting a center is the level of care that you may need in order to successfully recover. This is where a recommendation from a provider who specializes in substance use and co-occurring issues will come in.

This consists of seeking a formal assessment from a specialist. Know that prior to admission into a treatment center, you will be required to complete one of these assessments to ensure the level of care is a good fit for you.

During this intake assessment, a well-trained clinician should be assessing the following six areas that the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) has developed for determining the appropriate level of care for adolescents with substance abuse problems: [2]

  1. Level of intoxication and potential for withdrawal
  2. Presence of other medical conditions
  3. Presence of other emotional, behavioral, or cognitive conditions
  4. Readiness or motivation to change
  5. Risk of relapse or continued drug use
  6. Recovery environment (e.g., family, peers, school, legal system)

A level of care recommendation will be provided for you based on the findings of these six areas. Here is a breakdown of the different levels of care:

Outpatient Care

The most commonly offered and lowest level of care is known as “outpatient care.” This level of care consists of various outpatient services which may include one or more of the following: individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, psychiatric care, physical care, educational support, and/or legal support.

Woman struggling with addictionOutpatient treatment is traditionally recommended for those with less severe addictions, few additional mental health problems, and has a supportive living environment, although evidence suggests that more severe cases can be treated in outpatient settings as well. [3]

Individuals who are seeking outpatient care may be able to be employed, at least part-time. The frequency of appointments may vary based on your needs and your providers’ recommendations.

Appointments may vary between one or two times a week to a monthly or even on an “as needed” basis. The length of time that you will need to remain in outpatient care varies significantly based on your individual needs.

Intensive Outpatient Care

A step up from outpatient care is what is referred to as “intensive outpatient programming” or “IOP.” At this level of care, you will likely attend programming three to four hours out of the day for three or four days out of the week.

Programming may include individual therapy, family therapy, group therapy, multifamily group therapy, medication management with a provider, and perhaps adjunct therapies like equine, art, or yoga therapy.

The average length of stay in an IOP varies based on the program and your needs. Another factor that may, unfortunately, play a role is insurance coverage.

Typical average length of stay may be anywhere between four and twelve weeks.

Partial Hospitalization

Individuals with more severe substance use disorders but who can still be safely managed in their home living environment may be referred to a higher level of care referred to as “Partial Hospitalization Programming” or “PHP.” [3]

doctor with woman patient using Addiction Rehabilitation Center

This treatment often consists of the same services as IOP. However, more time is spent receiving these services. You may attend a PHP five to seven days out of the week for four to up to even twelve hours a day.

This program may interfere with employment, as it requires a large time commitment; however, most centers aid in clients seeking FMLA or short-term disability benefits if you’re eligible. Similar to IOP, the average length of stay in a PHP varies based upon the program, your needs, and insurance coverage.

Residential or Inpatient Treatment

Residential or inpatient treatment is a resource-intense high level of care, generally for individuals with severe levels of addiction whose mental health and medical needs and addictive behaviors require a 24-hour structured environment to make recovery possible. [3]

These individuals may have complex psychiatric or medical problems or problematic environments that interfere with their ability to avoid substance use. [3] Residential or inpatient treatment is as it sounds – the facility is where you live or reside, staying 24-hours a day.

Longer length of stays are associated with residential treatment, whereas inpatient treatment is associated with shorter stays, as individuals discharge when viewed as medically or emotionally stable (typically no longer than two weeks).

Centers can vary significantly in their offerings. It is often helpful to visit different centers and see which center may be the best fit for you.

The most important part of choosing a rehab center is selecting one that fits your unique recovery needs. Finding the right fit between you and the center’s offerings is essential for a successful long-term recovery.

About the Author:

Chelsea Fielder-JenksChelsea Fielder-Jenks is a Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice in Austin, Texas. Chelsea works with individuals, families, and groups primarily from a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) framework. She has extensive experience working with adolescents, families, and adults who struggle with eating, substance use, and various co-occurring mental health disorders. You can learn more about Chelsea and her private practice at


1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2018, February). Finding Quality Treatment for Substance Use Disorders. Retrieved from
2. American Society of Addiction Medicine. (2001). ASAM Patient Placement Criteria for the Treatment of Substance-Related Disorders, 2nd Edition. Chevy Chase, MD: American Society of Addiction Medicine.
3. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2012, December). Principles for Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition). Retrieved from
4.The Joint Commission. (n.d.). The Value of Joint Commission Accreditation. Retrieved from

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Published on April 9, 2018
Reviewed on April 30, 2018 by Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC

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About Baxter Ekern

Baxter Ekern is the Vice President of Ekern Enterprises, Inc. He contributed and helped write a major portion of Addiction Hope and is responsible for the operations of the website.