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Choosing a Rehab Facility That Sets You Up for Recovery

Choosing a rehab facility that’s right for you can be overwhelming and confusing. Understanding what to look for when choosing a rehab facility can help you make the best decision. There are a few things to consider before you pick a drug rehab.

How to Find a Rehab

Before you choose a drug rehab, you have to be able to find one. This step alone can be intimidating for some people. There are a few ways to find a rehab. You can:

  • Ask the mental health provider who diagnosed you with a substance use disorder: It can be helpful to ask a mental health professional who is familiar with you and your unique circumstances and needs. Some mental health professionals may be knowledgeable of certain treatment facilities that could be a good fit for you.
  • Ask your insurance provider for referrals: Your insurance company can provide you with a list of in-network rehab facilities. From here, you can contact each one or search for them online to get a sense of what type of services they offer.
  • Search online for “rehab centers near me”: An internet search can help direct you towards rehab centers in your area.
  • Ask peers in a peer support group: If you attend 12-step meetings, you can consider asking other group members if they are familiar with any rehab facilities. That can give you a sense of what a facility is like from a client’s perspective.

What to Look for in a Rehab

There are several factors to consider when choosing the right rehab, such as their accreditation status or therapeutic modalities use.

Accreditation and Rehab Centers

There are two accrediting boards, the Joint Commission and the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), who set standards for care in rehab facilities. These standards help ensure client safety and improve a facility’s overall quality of care. A drug or alcohol rehab becomes accredited after a thorough evaluation through either of these companies. After the initial evaluation, a rehab is periodically audited to ensure they continue to uphold and adhere to these standards.

When choosing the right rehab, you can ask a rehab about accreditation and their status. This can give you a sense of the quality of care that rehab provides and if they provide safe and effective client care.

Another way to evaluate a treatment center’s credibility is to evaluate them yourself using Shatterproof National’s Principles of Care.1 Shatterproof National is a national nonprofit that aims to support people who need addiction treatment in America.1 Shatterproof National has set standards of care. Some of these standards are:1

  • Personalized treatment plans: A rehab should offer individualized treatment plans for your care. This means a treatment center should factor in your unique needs and goals when they figure out the best plan for your care. Addiction treatment is not one-size-fits-all.
  • Long-term management: While rehab is not a long-term treatment, it is considered best practice for your residential treatment provider to give you referrals for ongoing care after you complete rehab.
  • Coordinated care for other co-occurring conditions: It is common for people with substance misuse to also deal with other conditions, such as health issues or mental health conditions.2 A treatment center should be able to provide treatment for these other conditions or be able to connect you with other providers during treatment who can help you.
  • Proven and legitimate therapeutic methods: You can ask a treatment center how they treat substance misuse. Ask if these techniques are evidence-based.
  • Treatment from qualified professionals: You can ask a facility about the qualifications and training that staff members have completed. Some states also require that mental health professionals have their licenses on display for clients. You can ask a mental health professional at any time about their license information and the status of their license.

Rehab Centers and Treatment Approach

There are evidence and research-based treatment approaches for addiction. Some of these are:3

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is a therapy approach that aims to help people change unwanted behavior by changing the way they think. CBT therapists believe that behavior is directly linked to the way you think. A CBT therapist can help you identify and correct illogical thinking that contributes to your substance use. CBT therapy also focuses on helping you develop coping skills that can help you manage urges or cravings to use in the future. Research shows that people who receive CBT can maintain these skills even after therapy is over. This modality is used to prevent drug use that is a result of illogical thinking or lack of coping skills.
  • Contingency Management: Contingency management is essentially providing rewards for positive changes. Research shows that people rewarded for positive behavioral changes, such as abstaining from substances, are more likely to stay in treatment and continue making progress towards their recovery.
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET): MET is a therapy approach that helps people work through any ambivalence or barriers to choosing to recover. This can help you become and stay motivated for treatment and recovery. Research suggests that MET can help people stay in treatment, increasing the odds that someone will recover.
  • 12-step Meetings: 12-step meetings are peer support groups that aim to help you achieve sobriety or recovery.
  • Family Behavioral Therapy (FBT): FBT is shown to be effective for adults and adolescents in treatment. FBT aims to help family members learn techniques to support their family and improve the relationship and home environment as a whole.

Another aspect of the treatment approach that should be taken into consideration is how long the program lasts. Some residential treatment centers offer treatment that lasts for a month, while others can last for a year. Residential rehab requires you to live at the facility. Ask a treatment center how long it takes to complete their program.

Choosing the Right Teen Rehab

If you are a teen or have teen children who could benefit from rehab, there are certain therapeutic techniques to look for in rehab. Research shows that treating teens with substance misuse is somewhat different than adult treatment.4,5 Things to look for in a teen rehab are developmentally appropriate treatment and strategies to keep teens engaged in the treatment process.4,5

Developmentally Appropriate Treatment

Treating teens is different than treating an adult. Adolescence is a critical time of psychological development. These unique developmental needs should be considered and integrated into the treatment approach. For example, many teens are beginning to explore their independence and need for autonomy for the first time. Treatment providers should emphasize this in treatment for treatment to be effective. This could look like making sure their teen client is an active participant in creating the treatment plan or with vital treatment decisions.

Strategies to Keep Teens Involved in Treatment

Teen treatment centers need to find ways to keep teens interested and engaged in the treatment process. This could be through positive incentives or focusing treatment on things significant for teens, such as peer relationships, hobbies, or school. Making treatment fun through experiential therapies like art therapy or animal-assisted therapy is another way to keep teens engaged. You can ask a treatment center how they keep teens interested in treatment or about adolescent-specific techniques they use.

If you or a loved one could benefit from a drug or alcohol rehab, please call 866-470-3561 (Who Answers?) to speak with a specialist.


  1. Shatterproof National. (n.d) Shatterproof National Principles of Care.
  2. Findtreatment.gov (n.d). Understanding Mental Health. Findtreatment.gov.
  3. National Institue on Drug Abuse. (2020, June 1). Behavioral Therapies.
  4. Maurer, M.A., & Fields, S.A. (2022, Jan) How to screen for and treat teen alcohol use. The Journal of Family Practice, 71, 31-34.
  5. National Research Council and Institute of Medicine Committee on Developing a Strategy to Reduce and Prevent Underage Drinking. (2004) Reducing underage drinking: A collective responsibility. National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Where do calls go?

Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Calls to any general helpline will be answered or returned by one of the treatment providers listed, each of which is a paid advertiser: ARK Behavioral Health, Recovery Helpline, Alli Addiction Services.

By calling the helpline you agree to the terms of use. We do not receive any commission or fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a caller chooses. There is no obligation to enter treatment.

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