There’s not much you can do to prepare yourself for the fear, anger and pain that accompanies learning your child has a drug or alcohol addiction. Substance abuse affects the whole family, and the best way to help your child get the help needed to recover is to thoroughly educate yourself on finding the right treatment center.
The more you know about addiction, the better you can help your child come to terms with their addiction, find helpful resources, choose the right treatment program and become involved in your child’s treatment and aftercare in the most effective ways possible.
This 14-part series is designed to help provide you with the information you need to face this struggle and help your child and your family find the path to recovery.
Evaluating a Treatment Center
Choosing an appropriate treatment center for your child can make a significant difference in her recovery. Not all treatment centers are created equal, and it’s essential to find one that uses research-based therapies and best-practices treatment protocol, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which also points out the importance of the involvement of friends and family in the treatment process.
Finding a high-quality program near you may be difficult, depending on where you live, but many facilities like Gracious Care Recovery Solutions, are only a quick plane ride away.
Researching Treatment Programs
Begin your search at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Drug and Alcohol Treatment Service, which provides you with information about treatment options available. You can contact them at 1-800-662-HELP, or you can use their online search tool.
When you start researching various treatment centers, you’ll want to get a big picture of their services, including the types of programs they offer and the nature of their approach to treatment. You’ll also want to pay attention to some of the smaller details that can make a big difference in your child’s satisfaction with the program, such as the quality of the food and information about the living arrangements. For example, Gracious Care is a faith-based substance abuse treatment facility, which may be a selling point for you.
Types of Treatment Programs: Inpatient vs. Outpatient
An inpatient, or residential, program is typically the best choice if your child has a long history of drug abuse and addiction, a co-occurring mental illness or ambivalence toward recovery. Inpatient programs are intensive, and they provide around-the-clock care, a strong network of support and a high level of structure. Inpatient programs are most effective when patients stay at least three months.
A therapeutic community is a type of residential program designed for those with more severe problems, including engaging in criminal activity or having deeply impaired social functioning, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Therapeutic community programs are highly structured, and they typically last six to 12 months—considerably longer than standard residential treatment programs. The treatment staff and patients in therapeutic communities form a close-knit group that’s used to precipitate changes in attitudes, behaviors and beliefs associated with drug abuse.
An outpatient program or intensive outpatient program can be successful as long as your child is committed to recovery, has a high level of intrinsic motivation, and can count on a strong support system at home and in the community. Outpatient treatment enables your child to keep working or attending school, and it offers more privacy, since there’s no need to explain away an extended absence.
“When Your Child Has an Addiction” Continues
In the next entry in this series, learn about best-practices treatment approaches and therapy programs. Continued in “My Child Has an Addiction, Part 9: Treatment Center Practices and Programs”.