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8 Things to Ask When Seeking Addiction Treatment

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By Kerry Coyle, MSW – Vice President of Clinical Operations

With treatment in South Florida under scrutiny, identifying red flags that signal corrupt and criminal practices is vital. Here are 8 questions to ask before selecting a treatment provider for a loved one or yourself.

Does the facility offer residential care which also provides 24-hour support to its patients?

Some programs may illegally offer free rent for “sober homes” — offsite homes where patients are often housed — in exchange for attending a particular drug treatment program. Along with engaging in criminal behavior, these flophouses are poorly managed, do not provide licensed support, and leave patients unmonitored for extended periods of time. Truly residential treatment is vital for acute cases of addiction.

 

Are the program offerings accredited by a nationally-recognized addiction organization?

Beware of treatment centers that do not tell you who they are accredited by. Accreditation by independent organizations supports the validity and effectiveness of treatment programming. All of Origins’ facilities are certified by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), which is often considered the gold-standard for addiction programs. Along with this, we are licensed by Texas’ Department of State Health Services and the Florida Department of Children and Families.

Does the program offer to provide airfare/travel expenses or waive insurance deductibles?

Waiving deductibles and paying for travel expenses is illegal. In fact, it is insurance fraud. If a facility is engaging in these practices, this is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Ask yourself: If the program is willing to do this, what other corners will they cut in treating your loved one?

 

What kinds of support are offered after treatment? Is there an alumni program that offers follow-up and aftercare services?

Accountability is a vital component of recovery from addiction, and it can be the difference between relapse and sustained recovery. Look for programs with dedicated alumni support staff who can focus on providing the informed, compassionate aftercare services necessary to foster a sustainable, sober life. The Alumni Services Team at Origins is dedicated to offering a strong network of lifetime support which includes follow up calls along with weekly, monthly and annuals events as an integral part of each patient’s post-treatment experience. Good programs will never send a patient on their way without a lifeline.

Does the facility incorporate families into the treatment process? Do they help patients and their families put together an aftercare plan?

Facilities that do not incorporate family members in the treatment process often have something to hide. When searching for a program, find treatment centers that offer family programming as well as family-oriented aftercare services. Each of our patients is assigned a family therapist who will work specifically with their loved ones to create a recovery plan for the entire family system. Be cautious of programs that do not provide similar services.

 

Does the program incorporate the medical history, trauma background, culture or gender identity of the patient?  

Beware of programs that offer a “one size fits all” approach to programming. Humans are complex beings and addiction is a complex disorder. Look for programs that gather in-depth information about their patients prior to admission in order to set up the appropriate care and treatment planning. At Origins, we offer patient-driven, age-specific, gender-separate or gender-specific treatment, but understand that we cannot treat everyone with addiction. When we are not appropriately suited for a patient, our team works to find an appropriate placement. Professional organizations will always do the same.

Can the treatment center handle medical needs other than addiction, such as mental health issues or diseases like Hepatitis C that often occur alongside substance use?

According to addiction studies and clinical experience, 70-80% of all those who experience addiction also suffer from mental disorders such as anxiety or depression. Likewise, many have placed their bodies at risk for illnesses through their drug misuse experience. These conditions must be treated simultaneously with the disease of addiction in order to achieve sustained recovery. Origins’ addiction specialists include not only board certified medical doctors but psychologists and psychiatrists who are trained to treat patients with co-occurring conditions throughout primary treatment and often in continuing care. Look for programs with staff who are qualified to handle dual diagnoses and other health concerns.

 

Is the program transparent, or do they simply tell you what you want to hear?

Be sure to look for treatment centers with a clear website and a firm social media presence. Read reviews and learn what others are saying about their treatment experiences. Generic websites or advertisements that don’t clearly identify what treatment program the site or advertiser represents may signal that the “organization” is merely collecting phone numbers and email addresses for patient “brokers,” who will then try to connect you with whatever treatment center is paying them.


 Kerry Coyle, MSW – Vice President of Clinical Operations

As Vice President of Clinical Operations, Kerry brings almost 20 years of behavioral health experience to Origins Behavioral HealthCare. She provides essential leadership and management to a multidisciplinary clinical team. Kerry is responsible for the strategic planning, implementation and operational oversight at all Origins Behavioral HealthCare facilities across the country.