If you’re researching alcohol treatment centers in Los Angeles, it’s important to recognize that, when it comes to addiction treatment, one size does not fit all. What’s more, not all alcohol treatment programs are created equal. Consequently, if you’re considering options for treatment, here are the top questions to ask each alcohol treatment center that you visit. These questions can help you decide which alcohol treatment program in Los Angeles would best serve you or your loved one as you begin the recovery process.
Is the facility licensed and accredited?
In Los Angeles, we recommend finding an alcohol treatment center that is licensed in the state of California and is accredited by one of the following:
- The Joint Commission
- CARF (the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities)
An accredited alcohol treatment center operates at a higher standard than is required for state licensing. This is because accreditation involves a thorough review of treatment practices, the program’s structure, and patient outcomes. Reputable treatment centers will most likely have accreditation listed on their website; however, you should always ask the alcohol treatment center to provide proof of licensing and accreditation.
What are Staff Qualifications?
Reputable alcohol treatment centers should have licensed and experienced staff members to help guide your loved one in the recovery process. If you’re visiting alcohol treatment centers in Los Angeles, ask about staff qualifications. Most top-notch treatment centers will even have a staff section on their website which clearly lists and describes all staff’s licenses, experience, and qualifications. When researching staff members, some key items to look for include:
A board certified physician
While researching alcohol treatment centers, look for those that have a board certified physician on staff. Ideally, this physician should specialize in addiction medicine or psychiatry. Since many individuals enter treatment with a co-occuring disorder or dual diagnosis (meaning they present with both a mental illness and substance use disorder), it’s important to have a board certified physician as part of the treatment team. Physicians can prescribe and manage medications as well as arrange for any necessary medical care.
Licensed therapists and counselors
All therapists and counselors on the treatment team should be licensed. After all, addiction is a serious issue and should be treated by those with education and experience in the field. Credentials may vary depending on their specialty, but some accronyms to watch for include:
- LPCC: Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor
- LCSW: Licensed Clinical Social Worker
- LMFT: Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
- AMFT: Associate Marriage and Family Therapist
How Long Is the Program?
Alcohol treatment programs commonly vary in length and can last anywhere from 28 days to over a year. When researching treatment centers, it’s important to ask about the length of the program and what the protocol is in regards to discharging individuals from treatment.
It’s important to remember that when it comes to program length, longer does not always mean better. However, there has also been talk in the recovery community that the standard 28 to 30 day rehab stay is not based on scientific evidence and may not be long enough for some individuals to get a good grip on the recovery process. Since there are many factors that come into play here, including cost and time away from work or family, the ideal treatment program length will vary for each individual. To help decide which program length may be best for you or your loved, be sure to discuss treatment options with a trusted physician, therapist, or recovery advisor at the alcohol treatment center in question.
Do You Use a 12-Step Program?
Many alcohol treatment centers use a 12-Step program as part of treatment. The 12-Step program is founded on the belief that addiction has both physical and spiritual components and that a higher power can aid in recovery. This program is not strictly religious; however, some individual may prefer to take a non-spiritual approach to recovery. In this case, many treatment centers offer non-12-step alternatives. If you have a preference, be sure to talk to each alcohol treatment center about your options in regards to 12-Step and Non-12-Step groups.
What Recovery Services Do You Offer?
Each alcohol treatment center will offer different recovery services. Just like with program length, the best recovery services for each person will vary based on their individual circumstances. Consequently, while doing your research, it’s important to discuss the recovery services offered with each alcohol treatment center, as well as your own personal physician or therapist. While individual and group therapy are common treatment components, keep an eye out for other valuable services such as:
- Family therapy
- Psychiatric assessment
- Case management
- Psycho-education groups
- Mindfulness practices such as yoga and meditation
- Spiritual counseling
- Nutritional counseling
- Career and educational goal setting
- Group outings
- Mentorship opportunities
- Holistic therapies like acupuncture and EMDR
Do You Treat Dual Diagnosis?
As mentioned previously, many individuals seeking treatment for alcohol addiction also have underlying or untreated mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, or ADHD. This is referred to as dual diagnosis. These co-occurring disorders may have developed as a result of alcohol abuse or could be a factor in why an individual began drinking to begin with. Regardless of when the disorder began, it’s vital that it be addressed during treatment in order to give individuals the best chance in recovery. Without proper treatment, affected individuals may return to their community without tools to deal with any underlying mental health disorders and find themselves turning to alcohol as a way to self-medicate.
If you’re concerned that a friend or family member is suffering from alcoholism in addition to a mental health disorder, be sure to ask each alcohol treatment center if they treat dual diagnosis. If they say yes, a board certified psychiatrist or addiction medicine specialist must be on the treatment team in order to provide proper care to the person in question.
Does Your Facility Offer Inpatient or Outpatient Treatment or Both?
When it comes to alcohol treatment centers, there are likely to be variances as to whether the facility offers inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, or both. Inpatient treatment is where individuals live and receive care at the treatment center, whereas outpatient treatment is where individuals take part in treatment programming during the day and then return home in the evening.
There may be many reasons why inpatient or outpatient treatment may be the best option for your loved one. Inpatient treatment may be the preferred choice if your loved one is struggling with a severe or long-term alcohol addiction, has a history of relapse, or has been unsuccessful in an outpatient program. Outpatient treatment may be ideal if your friend or family member has a milder addiction, cannot afford inpatient treatment, or is not able to be away from work or family for an extended period of time.
Studies have shown that what may be most effective for people seeking treatment for alcohol addiction is a mixture of inpatient and outpatient treatment with a gradual decline in intensity of care. Consequently, when thinking about alcohol treatment for your loved one, you might consider having them start treatment in an inpatient facility and transition to outpatient care. This approach allows individuals to slowly transition back to “normal life”, which helps reduce the amount of overwhelm that can occur when a person completely leaves the heavily structured inpatient treatment environment.
When researching alcohol treatment centers, be sure to discuss what levels of care they offer. If, like Nexus, they only offer outpatient care, ask if they have relationships with inpatient treatment centers where your loved one may be able to begin their recovery journey. Conversely, ask inpatient treatment centers if they have an outpatient program that individuals can transition to or if they would be able to refer your loved one to an outpatient treatment center when needed.
How Do You Handle Detox?
When your friend or family member begins the recovery process, they will need to go through a detoxification period, also known as “detox”. During detox, your loved one will stop all alcohol consumption (unless advised by a doctor) and allow the body to rid itself of any alcohol in the system. While in detox, it’s likely that your loved one will experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms such as shaking, nausea, sweating, etc.
Some alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening. Consequently, before your loved one stops drinking, you should ask their physician if they should undergo detox under medical supervision. Many inpatient treatment facilities offer medical care while an individual detoxes on-site. However, you should always ask what type of medical care is available during detox and what medical staff will be monitoring your loved one. Some questions to ask include:
- Is 24-hour supervision available?
- Is medication therapy offered?
- What is protocol in the case of a life-threatening emergency?
If your loved one has been cleared to detox at home and is attending treatment at an outpatient treatment facility, be sure to ask who to contact in case a crisis occurs during the detox process.
What Kind of Aftercare Support Do You Offer?
When your loved one graduates from an alcohol treatment program, they may still require ongoing care to help manage symptoms and get support in their newfound sobriety. Reputable treatment centers should help individuals come up with a aftercare plan that will best serve them during their transition out of full-time treatment. While aftercare support will vary by treatment center, ask about available aftercare options such as:
- Sober housing
- Sober mentoring
- Educational programs
- Alumni activities
- 12-Step groups such as AA
- Non-12 Step groups such as SMART
What Type of Help is Available for Families?
Recovery from alcoholism is typically an adjustment for everyone. When a person is struggling with alcohol addiction, it’s common for negative behaviors, feelings, and coping mechanisms to manifest within the family unit. People may feel anger, sadness, guilt, or resentment, and can act out, shut down, or be in denial about the situation. Consequently, many reputable treatment centers will offer some form of support for families, such as family therapy, so that family members can recover alongside the individual struggling with addiction. The ultimate goal is to create a support system between family members that is crucial when the affected individual returns home.
If you feel that your loved one’s alcohol addiction has affected your family, talk to each treatment center about your options. If your family would benefit from more in-depth healing, reach out to Nexus to hear about our Family Intensive Program.
What Payment Options Do I Have?
For many people, one of the biggest factors in deciding on an alcohol treatment center is the cost. Luckily, the majority of alcohol treatment centers will have staff on hand to discuss financing your loved one’s treatment. While each alcohol treatment center may come with a different price tag, be sure to discuss possible financing options such as:
- Health insurance
- Payment plans
- Sliding scale fees
- Grants or scholarships
Remember that more expensive does not always mean better care. However, if you feel a certain alcohol treatment center will give your loved one the best chance at achieving long-term sobriety, don’t let the cost deter you from considering that program. Know what you can afford while also considering the best level of care for your loved one.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse or a behavioral addiction, we are here to help. Give us a call at 888.855.6877 or send us a message below and one of our admissions counselors will do their best to get you the help you need.