This article will give you some questions you can ask and give you information that will help you make the best choice. It is hoped it will make it easier for you to find one that meets the needs of your child (this is the most important thing) as well as offer you and your family support as your child undergoes his or her treatment.
Remember that the sooner your child starts receiving treatment, the sooner his/her recovery can start. If you even suspect that addiction struggles may exist, you may want to go ahead and start gathering information. This will prevent you from having to make an “on-the-fly” decision at what may not be the best time for such a decision.
There are several organizations that either operate treatment facilities or are affiliated with them. These can include counseling centers, hospitals and medical clinics, and even some religious organizations or denominations. Support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous can also provide information on the names and locations of area treatment centers.
You can also utilize Internet searches and the business section or “yellow pages” of your local phone book. Internet searches may allow you to enter your zip code or city, thus providing information on local facilities only, which will make your search easier and faster. The same holds true with “yellow pages” information sources; those facilities that are within a reasonable distance from where you live will be listed.
There are several ways you can determine this. Most likely, the first thing you are going to want to know is how much it will cost. This should not, however, be a deciding factor. If your health insurance covers addiction treatment, but it is obvious that full coverage means only getting “bare bones” treatment, you may want to consider a facility that will accept the coverage your insurance offers and pay the rest “out of pocket.” Remember, your child needs the best treatment he/she can get in order to overcome his/her addiction.
After you have obtained financial information on the facilities that you are considering, then it’s time to start contacting them and asking questions. Here are a few examples of questions you may wish to ask:
- What are your success and failure rates? If you are wondering why you would want to know about a facility’s failure rate, consider this: the reluctance of a facility’s personnel to share both good and not-so-good information means you are not getting as complete a picture as possible of the facility and, this is what you want.
- What type of treatment program is utilized? Different facilities offer different types of programs. Some may be faith-based – that is, the facility is affiliated with a specific religious organization and the doctrines and tenets of that organization are a large part of the program. Others may be more secular, but pattern their treatment programs on the 12-step method used by such support groups as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.
Inpatient treatment is exactly what it sounds like. Your child will enter the facility and not leave for a specific period of time. This may be a few days or may be as long as six months to a year. During this time, your child may not be allowed to have any contact with “the outside world” to begin with, and may have to “earn” such privileges as the treatment program progresses.
Outpatient treatment means that your child would come and go from the treatment facility. Depending on the facility’s practices or the severity of your child’s addiction, she may be allowed to leave the facility during the day to attend school and work (if she has a part-time job) but would have to return each afternoon, and would not be allowed to leave at all on the weekend for a while. Or, she may remain at home once she has finished the inpatient portion of the program and have scheduled appointments, just as she would with any other health care professional.
In some instances, inpatient treatment may not be needed at all. This can be especially true if the addiction was caught in time and your child is very receptive to attending and participating in the treatment program. You should let professionals determine this, however. Remember, you want the best for your child.
Earlier, it was stated that treatment costs should not be a deciding factor. Likewise, neither should convenience to home and school; however, since you’ve most likely utilized information sources that helped you find local addiction treatment facilities, this may not even be an issue.
Keep this in mind, though. Even if your child enters as an inpatient first, and you are not allowed any contact, knowing you are just a few miles away can have a big psychological impact. And, once outpatient treatment is implemented, how easy it is to travel back and forth (both for you and your teen) can make a difference in how willing she is to participate in or continue the treatment program.
You’ve narrowed your search down to one or two facilities, and have obtained as much information as you can over the phone or through other types of communication. Now, you want to see the place for yourself. (Remember, you started your research, or should have, in plenty of time to give yourself the chance to do this).
Many facilities offer tours; if the ones you have chosen don’t, simply ask if you can visit the facility sometime. If they say no, this is a good sign that it’s not the one for you.
You want to focus on cleanliness, safety, and security for your child. It won’t do her/him any good to receive treatment at a high-priced facility with all the “bells and whistles” for her comfort and convenience if she has access to drugs or alcohol due to lax security.