Finding Effective Alcohol and Drug Addiction Treatment Programs
Addiction treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD) and substance use disorder (SUD) is available in many different formats. When searching for addiction treatment and a residential rehab center – there are five main elements of best available quality treatment.
While there is never a guarantee of success regarding addiction treatment, rehab facilities with these five elements are more likely to provide effective evidence-based treatment (based on the latest scientific research).
Top Five Elements of Effective Alcoholism and Addiction Treatment
Staff Credentials – licensed professional therapists with addiction specialties, accredited alcohol treatment programs, and board-certified addiction doctors.
Comprehensive Assessment – a complete assessment of the person’s alcohol use and other medical and behavioral issues by health professionals.
Customized, Responsive Treatment Plan -Based on the results of a comprehensive assessment, the therapist or doctor should work with the person entering treatment to develop a customized treatment plan. Treatment is not “one size fits all.”
Evidence-based Therapies – Treatments with the strongest chances for success are those that are informed by the results of rigorous scientific research on alcohol use disorder. These evidence-based options include both behavioral treatments and medications.
Continuing Recovery Support – A good treatment provider will work with each of their patients to develop a long-term strategy for ongoing recovery support after the initial treatment plan ends. These are sometimes called “continuing care plans,” “discharge plans,” or “aftercare” plans.
Licensed and Accredited Addiction Treatment Programs
When searching for an addiction treatment program, look for a program that is both licensed and accredited. All programs must have a license to provide a service. However accredited programs have, in addition, gone through a rigorous review by an independent national review board; such as the Joint Commission. This indicates that the program meets widely accepted standards of clinical quality.
You want to get a sense of what the programʹs minimum standards are for counselors and what credentials most of them have. Virtually all counselors need to be licensed or certified to practice in their state. Look for programs that go ʺabove and beyondʺ the minimum requirements. Look for programs in which most of the counselors are licensed clinical professionals who have received formal education and training in alcohol and drug counseling.
You might also want to ask: ʺAre the counselors supervised by a primary care doctor or psychiatrist who is board certified in addiction medicine?ʺ While rare in most facilities, this would mean the clinical program is overseen by someone with the highest available credentials in addiction treatment.
[Note: The Arrowhead Lodge Recovery treatment programs are supervised by Dr. Rob Ashby, M.D., Medical Director: Pain Medicine and Addictionologist and Dr. Monica Faria, M.D. Addiction Psychiatrist and Neurologist. See Arrowhead Lodge Recovery Staff.]
How common is a “dual diagnosis” such as AUD, plus anxiety or depression—and how is this treated?
National data indicate that at least one-third of all persons participating in addiction treatment programs for alcohol use disorder (AUD) have a co-occurring mental health disorder; most often anxiety or depression. Likewise, about one out of every four people treated in mental health programs have a co-occurring substance use disorder—most commonly, AUD.
The co-occurrence of alcohol and mental health problems is challenging for treatment providers because each issue can complicate the other. It’s important that treatment providers be able to identify and address both issues at the same time. Treatment that focuses on one issue at a time (for example, treating the AUD before addressing a patient’s anxiety disorder) is less effective than a comprehensive, integrated approach to dual diagnoses.
How to Get Help for Problem Drinking and Alcoholism
We use a multi-disciplinary addiction treatment approach implemented by licensed professionals. The Arrowhead Lodge Recovery Staff includes a Physician-Addictionologist, Addiction Psychiatrist, Physician Board Certified in Pain Medicine, Doctor of Clinical Psychology, Registered Nurse, several Licensed Therapists, and an addiction Nutritionist.
We assist our clients in finding their personal connection to the spiritual. Through years of experience, we believe in the power of spirituality in the addiction healing process. We assist our clients in discovering their unique path to living a more authentic and joyful life. See our article on Mindfulness Meditation – The 10th Step.