I work in the Admissions Department for a Nashville-area recovery center, and I’m also in recovery from alcoholism and opiate addiction. These two qualifications give me a unique perspective when it comes to considering drug treatment options for yourself or your loved one. Quite often, the calls I receive are crisis situations. Family members are seeing their loved one in dire need of help. Drug overdoses, legal problems, and financial difficulties are common themes. The emotional turmoil and stress that accompany drug addiction and alcoholism often lead to rash decisions. For this reason, I’ve incorporated some helpful advice if you or someone you know is in need of a residential alcohol or drug recovery program. Did you know there are various kinds of treatment centers? Educating yourself on this information may prove invaluable to you or your loved one’s recovery from drug addiction and alcoholism.
The first question to consider when exploring drug and alcohol rehabilitation is whether you or your loved one is substance-dependent (addicted to one or more substances such as alcohol or prescription drugs). Drug addicts and alcoholics frequently deny their problem with substance abuse, even in the face of incredibly negative consequences.
According to the Mayo Clinic, these are some typical signs of alcohol and drug addiction:
- Feeling that you have to use the drug regularly (daily, several times a day, etc.)
- Failing in your attempts to stop using the drug
- Making certain that you maintain a adequate supply of the drug
- Spending money on the drug even though you can’t afford it
- Doing things to obtain the drug that you normally wouldn’t do, such as stealing
- Feeling that you need the drug to deal with your problems
- Driving or other risky behavior while under the influence of the drug
- Spending increasing amounts of time, energy on obtaining, using the drug
One can often identify drug addiction and alcoholism based on an individual’s behavior. Although the “drug of choice” may vary from person to person, certain behaviors are quite typical of the addict or alcoholic. These behaviors and related symptoms may differ slightly due to the drug of choice and progression of use, but many alcoholics and drug addicts suffer from at least one of the following:
- Memory problems
- Dizziness/slurred speech
- Decreased appetite/weight loss
- Sleeping too much
- Decreased desire to engage in activities they have historically enjoyed
Once you have determined that you or your loved one are suffering from symptoms of drug addiction and/or alcoholism, the next step is to chart a course of action.
Having confirmed active alcoholism or drug addiction, it is time to explore the options available. The first thing to consider is whether you or your loved one requires detoxification (“detox”) services. Years of drug and alcohol abuse can cause devastating, and sometimes fatal, withdrawal symptoms. Alcohol withdrawal (including delirium tremens, or DTs) and benzodiazepine (“benzo”) withdrawals can cause seizures – or even death, in some severe cases. Opiate & heroin withdrawal, while not fatal, can be a painful process characterized by intense feelings of isolation, flu-like symptoms. and suicidal ideation.
Several factors influence the decision to seek detox:
- Drug of choice
- Frequency of use
- Duration of use
- Quantity used
- Overall health, medical background of the individual
After weighing the necessity for detoxification services, it is time to consider treatment options. There are three types of treatment centers: (1) State-funded treatment centers, (2) Treatment centers that accept health insurance, and (3) Private-pay treatment centers.State-funded treatment centers are often the only option available for addicts and alcoholics with no financial resources and no immediate family or friends willing to help shoulder the cost of treatment. These treatment centers are often characterized by participants seeking to complete a treatment program as the result of a criminal conviction. For this reason, many state-run facilities are locked down and heavily populated with individuals convicted of drug-related offenses. Thus, one of the biggest obstacles to recovery in a state-funded treatment facility is the potential effect on the environment by the criminal element; however, some people do manage to complete these programs and transition into life successfully. The second type of treatment center is one that accepts health insurance. These centers are usually well funded, employ a medical staff and offer a plethora of amenities. Facilities that accept insurance reimbursement typically employ a variety of treatment options including therapy and medication. They are often equipped to deal with cases of dual diagnosis – that is, alcoholism/ drug addiction together with mental illness. The downside to these treatment facilities stems from their involvement with and dependence upon insurance companies. Some insurance plans do not cover a residential stay in a drug and alcohol rehab while other plans cover a portion of the cost. In the majority of cases, an insurance company will not approve payment for a residential drug and alcohol rehab stay until the individual has completed an “intensive outpatient program” (IOP).
back porch of main house – Discovery Place, TNParticipants in these programs usually attend drug and alcohol-related sessions several times a week and receive weekly drug tests. These programs generally have a very low rate of success. Unfortunately, few insurance plans cover the entire cost of treatment. So-called “Cadillac” health plans generally cover 80% of the cost of a residential drug and alcohol treatment program, leaving the individual and family to shoulder the remainder. It’s best to check with your medical insurance provider or the treatment facility being considered to see if your health plan will cover treatment costs.
One thing to consider when using insurance to pay for treatment is that the drug and alcohol rehab stay will be recorded in the individual’s medical records. Such documentation usually remains a part of one’s medical file for life. Because potential employers are able to view this information, it could adversely affect your ability to acquire a job in a professional field. The third type of treatment center is a private-pay facility. These centers do not accept health insurance for a variety of reasons. One of the reasons may be the fact that centers accepting health insurance are required to conform to what are sometimes seen as high-handed, bureaucratic insurance company rules & standards. Many of these facilities offer their clients complete confidentiality – a luxury not offered by insurance-accepting drug and alcohol rehabs. The cost for a residential stay at a private-pay facility can range from extremely affordable to incredibly expensive. Such facilities often offer excellent amenities and programs, though this can vary quite a bit. It is important to know whether the facilities under consideration are profit or nonprofit. Profit-oriented facilities exist primarily to generate a profit. On the plus side, for-profit treatment centers typically have more funds available, thanks to relatively plentiful resources. IMHO, the spirit of alcoholism and drug addiction recovery is not one that should be driven by profit. In my own experience, mixing recovery with profit motive tends to create a dangerous cocktail. Financial motives often cloud or confuse the message of recovery and can lead staff to make suggestions based on a facilities’ bottom line. Discovery Place drug rehab/treatment center in Middle Tennessee, a nonprofit drug and alcohol rehab which exists solely for the recovery of their guests. Not-for-profit alcohol & drug treatment facilities are less likely to allow financial considerations to influence the recovery mission despite the fact that they charge for their services. These services, however, are offered for a fraction of the cost of a for-profit treatment facility.
Discovery Place, is a nonprofit drug and alcohol rehab and does not employ any commissioned staff whatsoever. In addition, Discovery Place employees are prohibited from owning recovery-related businesses (e.g., sober-living houses, halfway houses) due to the potential conflicts of interest that would almost certainly arise. Such conflicts could affect the design of Continuing Care planning and other post-treatment options of our guests. The absence of profit motive allows Discovery Place to approach recovery from drug addiction and alcoholism from a more altruistic perspective. Complications often arise at co-ed treatment centers when individuals in early sobriety associate with members of the opposite sex. Early recovery is an emotionally vulnerable time; furthermore, many addicts and alcoholics also battle codependency issues. At Discovery Place, we have found that a men-only policy truly works wonders in avoiding the distractions that can result from the commingling of the sexes.
One of our employees with co-ed treatment experience said, “…all I did was spend my time delaying the inevitable.”
Here are a few more points to consider when making a drug and alcohol rehab-related decision:
Treatment does not need to be voluntary to be effective (interventions can be help in this regard)
Remaining in treatment for an adequate period of time is critical
Higher-quality alcohol & drug treatment centers tend to track their results, or outcomes, to ensure effectiveness
Is your facility same sex or co-ed?
Is your facility non-profit or for-profit?
Are any of your staff members, including your admissions department, commissioned?
Do any staff members own recovery-related businesses?
Does your facility offer long-term programs?
Does your facility track their results, or outcomes, and if so, how effective are your programs?
How much does a residential stay cost?
Will my insurance plan cover the entire cost of treatment, or will I be responsible for some of the cost?
Is your facility state-funded, insurance-accepting or private pay?
What kind of recovery community is located near your facility?
What types of programs do you offer?
Will your organization facilitate an intervention if it is needed?
Does your center offer detoxification (detox) services?
If you have questions or concerns regarding drug or alcohol rehab, please call 1.800.725.0922 to speak with a non-commissioned member of the Discovery Place Admissions team.