There’s no way to overstate the devastating power of addiction, which has now become more common in the U.S. than all forms of cancer combined. According to the Surgeon General, substance abuse is likely to directly affect one in seven Americans. Tragically, though, only an estimated 10 percent of people struggling with addiction get any treatment at all.
Even for those who are lucky enough to receive treatment, it isn’t always effective. A large number of people — including those who complete their full treatment — suffer from relapse. Whereas a longer or differently designed treatment plan might be the answer for many, that option is sadly often unaffordable.
The median savings account balance across American households is $4,830, and a full 40 percent of adults in the U.S. can’t cover a $400 emergency. With the average cost of outpatient addiction rehab ranging from $1,000 to $10,000, and the average cost of inpatient rehab anywhere from $12,000 to $60,000, it’s no wonder that so many with substance abuse problems go untreated.
What is needed most is a massive shift in the way addiction is treated. However, that’s no simple task, and in the meantime, it’s crucial that people undergoing treatment for substance abuse issues get the most value for their money. If treatment is ineffective, there’s no guarantee they’ll be able to afford another round.
The following are seven important questions to ask a rehab facility before getting out your precious debit or credit card:
Do You Diagnose and Treat Health Problems other Than Addiction?
Chronic substance abuse can cause many physical health problems, ranging from mild to severe. Additionally, substance abuse nearly always occurs alongside other mental health issues. A comprehensive treatment of all the above is necessary for a full recovery.
What Do You Offer in Terms of Long-Term Recovery Plans?
Relapse is a major concern for anyone with a substance abuse problem. Failing to account for the possibility of it renders initial treatment all but worthless. It’s a good idea to stay away from any program promising a “cure,” and look for one that puts an emphasis on lifelong recovery.
How Do You Manage Acute Relapse or Continued Drug Use?
Some facilities will release a patient from care if the staff becomes aware of any continued substance abuse. That can be devastating, however, as this behavior is usually a sign that the patient needs more intensive treatment. Instead of kicking patients out of the program, look for a facility that promises to connect those patients to additional levels of care.
How Do You Measure Success? What Kind of Success Rates Do You Have?
There’s a lot you can learn from asking this question — including whether or not a facility can really be trusted. With the average rate of rehab success sitting around 50 percent, anyone promising you 80 or 90 percent is almost certainly misleading you. Unbridled hope won’t help you or your loved one — but frankness and transparency might.
How Do You Screen Your Patients?
There are numerous types of programs available, from simple detox to 30-day outpatient to 90-day inpatient … and everything in between. You don’t want to pay for unnecessary treatment, and you certainly don’t want less than is needed. What you’re looking to avoid is any facility that seems to offer a “one-size-fits-all” approach.
How Qualified is Your Staff?
A facility that treats substance abuse problems should be staffed similarly to your primary physician’s office, with medical doctors, licensed nurses, and physician assistants. If this level of care isn’t available, consider it a big red flag.
What Relationships Do You Have with Other Healthcare Facilities?
You want a rehab facility with connections to broader healthcare systems, and mutual relationships with other nearby facilities (like hospitals and emergency clinics). These relationships mean improved access to care, and a lack of them may be a sign that the facility in question isn’t taken seriously by other providers in the area.
In addition to asking these questions, look online for reviews and/or complaints about the places you’re considering. A facility might mislead you, but it’s past patients typically won’t.
Again, finding the right facility and program might make the difference in effective addiction treatment, as they’re far from equal. While there may not be an exact science to making the determination, it’s certainly worth putting in an effort to become educated on available options. The goal is always to be as empowered as possible to make the right choice for you and your loved ones.