How to Evaluate an Addiction Treatment Facility for Your Client

Are you a psychiatrist, general practitioner or mental health professional looking for an effective addiction treatment facility for your client? Referral to the right treatment program is a critical component of the process.

All effective addiction treatment facility programs should have the following three general goals:

  • Decreasing substance abuse or maintaining a substance-free life
  • Improving multiple areas of the client’s life functioning
  • Prevention or reduction of the frequency and severity of relapse

Let’s explore in greater detail how to evaluate an addiction treatment facility for your client.

Addiction Treatment Facility Program Characteristics

The first step is to evaluate the general factors associated with a program’s structure, policies, services, treatment orientation and social environment.1

  • Organizational and structural variables: the facility’s physical layout, number of clients, client group’s characteristics, staff, policies and lengths and levels of treatment available
  • Policies: procedures that the facility uses to address different scenarios, for example, disagreements among clients, handling relapses and addressing non-compliance
  • Program services: the specific services utilized in treating substance use disorders, as well as issues your client may have in other areas
  • Treatment orientation: the modalities used, the treatment setting and approach and the components of treatment
  • Environmental characteristics: the social environment of a program

More on Treatment Orientation and Length

The principle foundations of specialized modalities at an addiction treatment facility should include:2

  • Pharmacological therapies used to discourage substance use, alleviate withdrawal symptoms, decrease cravings or treat dual-diagnosis psychiatric issues
  • Psychosocial or psychological interventions to change destructive emotions attitudes, and behaviors through individual, group or family therapy
  • Behavioral therapies to reduce or eliminate undesirable behaviors and cultivate desired behaviors
  • Self-help groups for peer support and to encourage abstinence before, during and after a program at an addiction treatment facility

Addiction treatment facility programs vary in length of time. The length of care needed at an addiction treatment facility will depend on the severity of your client’s addiction.

Ongoing Support for Your Client

Depending on the time and resources you have available, you can offer ongoing support to your client who attends a program at an addiction treatment facility. Staying in touch with your client’s specific treatment program will help you track the quality of services provided. You can also request reports from the addiction treatment facility detailing the treatment plan and progress of your client. Offering support to your client’s family to encourage continuing treatment will also help improve your client’s treatment outcomes.



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