How to Choose the Right Rehab the First Time

How to Choose the Right Rehab the First Time

By In Addiction Recovery, First Steps, Tools for Recovery
Posted October 25, 2017

If either you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, you may be considering rehab. You can’t recover from addiction on your own, and rehab is a place where professionals can work with you on your recovery.

You’ll also be away from responsibilities, distractions, and temptation, giving you time and space to focus on your recovery.

But there’s no guarantee that rehab will work. Joe Shrand, MD, medical director at the High Point Treatment Center in Brooklyn, Massachusetts, estimates that at least 30% of his patients go through rehab facilities more than once.

However, you can increase your chances of long-term recovery by choosing the right rehab the first time. Here are some qualities you should look for in order to choose the best rehab for you or your loved one.

Evidence-Based Treatment

First and foremost, you should look into the treatment protocol at the rehab facilities you or your loved one are considering.

The most effective rehab facilities will use evidence-based treatment protocols. This means that the rehab center treats patients using methods that have been researched by outside sources. These methods have likely been published and implemented with success in various treatment centers.

Additionally, it’s best if the rehab center has a proven success rate. Some centers create “rehab addicts” and rely on repeat customers to boost their profits. You want to find a treatment center that truly cares about obtaining lasting results, not just profit.

Licensing and Accreditation

paper with checklist on it

One simple way to determine that a rehab facility is legitimate is to check its licensing and accreditation.

In Florida, rehab centers are licensed by the Department of Children and Families, but in most states, drug and alcohol rehab centers are licensed through the state.

A licensed rehab center will be operating correctly, is likely to have a solid success rate, and will be employing licensed doctors, nurses, and therapists.

You can also check to see if the facility is accredited through an organization like the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP), The Joint Commission, or another accreditation organization.

In order to earn and maintain accreditation, rehab centers must demonstrate a high standard of care.

Individualized Treatment

Long-lasting addiction treatment must identify and address the addiction’s underlying causes, which will vary for each individual.

For this reason, it’s best to find a rehab that incorporates individual therapy and a personalized treatment plan.

The more the rehab facility focuses on the individual needs of you or your loved one, the likelier it is that sobriety will last.

After-Care Program

Rehab isn’t a magical cure for addiction: maintaining sobriety will be a lifelong journey. An effective rehab center will offer a personalized after-care treatment plan to continue supporting you as you leave the facility.

The staff should help recovering addicts locate nearby AA or NA meetings, and they should continue to check on you or your loved one to ensure that recovery is progressing.

Consider Location

When looking for a rehab facility, it’s common for people to begin their online search by typing the phrase “rehab centers near me.”

While it can be convenient to find a nearby rehab center, there are a few reasons to consider a facility that isn’t so close to home.

First, you don’t want to limit your search by only looking close to home. Perhaps the best rehab for you or your loved one doesn’t fall into this category. Finding the right rehab the first time, even if it isn’t close to home, will save you time and money in the end.

Also, traveling away from your familiar environment is sometimes best for treatment. Putting physical distance between yourself and your triggers can lessen the desire to use.

road on a sunny day


It’s common for rehab to become a revolving door as recovering addicts relapse and return to treatment. It isn’t easy to conquer a drug addiction, but you can increase your chances of long-term sobriety by choosing the right rehab the first time.

Look for a rehab that’s licensed and accredited and uses research-based treatment protocols, including some degree of individualized treatment. An effective rehab facility should also offer some sort of after-care plan, and you may want to consider facilities that aren’t close to home.

Following these tips can help you find a rehab facility that’s the right fit for you or your loved one.


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