Seek guidance from a qualified and unbiased professional who has experience referring people to addiction treatment and can help you identify your needs.
Find a treatment setting — inpatient, residential, or outpatient — that will meet your needs.
Ask for program information to narrow down your options to a few that would work for you.
Once you’ve made the decision to seek treatment for an alcohol or substance use disorder, you’ll need to choose a program that will meet your needs and circumstances.
There are lots of different treatment options, but how do you find the best addiction treatment setting for you? Here are some key things to consider.
Before selecting a treatment program, seek help from a qualified and unbiased medical professional who has experience referring people to addiction treatment and can help you identify your needs.
To get help seeking treatment, dial the SAMHSA helpline at 1-800-662-4357.
Non-clinical professionals, such as experienced recovery coaches, can also help you find treatment. Learn more about finding a recovery coach.
Rehab centers and other treatment programs differ by where care is given, how long treatment lasts, and how intensive and structured the program is. The health care provider who assesses your condition can help you choose the treatment setting that will meet your specific needs.
After identifying the best treatment setting or rehab center for you, you will want to narrow down which program best meets your needs. Ask the staff of each program you are considering to provide the following information.
Find out if the program provides a wide range of effective treatment methods. Treatment programs that offer only one or two therapy types may not be able to customize care to your specific needs. In addition, a program that offers a variety of evidence-based therapies — therapies that have proven to be effective in practice and scientific studies — may be able to meet your changing needs as you continue in your recovery.
If you are also experiencing mental health challenges, it’s also important to find a program that can provide treatment for those specific conditions. Mental health challenges can contribute to substance use disorders, and vice versa.
To help you compare rehab programs, get a sense of whether and how the program tracks its patients’ progress and recovery. Ask:
As with other medical conditions, it takes time to achieve recovery, and you may encounter some setbacks as part of the process. Resuming alcohol or drug use during treatment — sometimes referred to as a relapse — is common during the recovery process.
It’s important to understand how the treatment program responds if a participant begins using drugs or alcohol again. Ask:
Rehab programs should not discharge patients for resuming substance use. Rather, the use of alcohol or drugs during treatment should be handled on a case-by-case basis. And as long as it is safe to do so, the treatment plan should first be adjusted so the patient can remain in the same program.
If adjusting the treatment plan is not successful, or if the patient cannot safely remain at the current program, then the rehab program should facilitate transitioning the patient to a higher level of care as seamlessly as possible.
Understand your rights and responsibilities and what will be expected of you and your family during treatment. Ask:
It’s important to know that some programs offer features that are not proven to effectively treat addiction. Review the quality care checklist below with your qualified addiction professional to determine if the program you are considering meets the following basic standards:
These credentials show that the program meets standards set by a state, if it has licensing standards, or a professional organization. However, licensing and accreditation don’t necessarily mean the program offers effective treatments. So it’s important to also look for other indicators of quality.
Ultimately, the question isn’t “What’s the best rehab?” but rather, “What’s the best treatment for me?”
Work with a qualified clinician to use the guidance here to make the right treatment choice for you and start your recovery today.
Content reviewed by Dr. Jasleen Salwan, MD, MPH, FASAM, February 2023.