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Criteria For Finding Inpatient Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers
Below is a list of criteria we believe will help you make the most informed decision on which treatment center to enter. It is important to do your research, especially as the decision to get sober is such an important and potentially life-changing choice.
Look For Joint Commission Accreditations
The Joint Commission (JCAHO) is a non-profit organization that assesses healthcare organizations and programs based on a set of standards. It is difficult to receive the Gold Seal accreditation from them as this requires the utmost quality of care and signifies that an addiction treatment center meets the highest standards for patient care. There are over 250 standards used to evaluate facilities, some of which focus on:
- Patient Rights and Education
- Medication Management
- Prevention of Medical Errors
- Methods Used to Verify Staff Qualifications
- Emergency Preparation
- Data Collection on Performance (and how that data is then used to improve the facility)
Finding a center with the Gold Seal from The Joint Commission means that you will be receiving drug or alcohol addiction treatment from an organization that not only has quality services in place but is also committed to continuously improving upon those services to maintain the highest level of care possible.
While a Joint Commission accreditation is one of the best, and should play into your decision on picking a specific treatment center, you can also look for CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) certifications or NAATP (National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers) certifications as well. These are both well-respected healthcare accreditation organizations, and a certification from any of these organizations is a very good sign.
What Is The Staff to Client Ratio?
When you are looking for a dual diagnosis treatment center, it is important to consider the quality of care that their staff provides. The lower the client-to-staff ratio is, the higher quality of care you should receive from your specific clinician. This means that the fewer clients a clinician is in charge of, the better able they are to spend time addressing your specific needs in a focused and personalized way. Ideally, you want to look for a treatment facility with no more than 10 clients to one staff member in order to comfortably feel that you are receiving the comprehensive care that is so helpful to successful treatment.
Is This Facility Experienced With Your Specific Disorder or Addiction?
Mental health conditions can be classified in a variety of ways, and it is important to understand those classifications when searching for a dual diagnosis treatment center to treat your co-occurring substance abuse. These classifications include:
- Mood Disorders (depression and bipolar)
- Anxiety Disorders (generalized anxiety and obsessive-compulsive)
- Personality Disorders (borderline)
- Psychotic Disorders (schizophrenia)
- Eating Disorders (anorexia or bulimia)
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Neurodevelopmental Disorders (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder)
It can sometimes be confusing to experience substance abuse alongside a mental health condition, especially if that condition was previously undiagnosed making it difficult to know which came first, the substance abuse or the mental illness. Seeking treatment from a competent dual diagnosis center that specializes in your specific mental health condition is critical for treating both conditions at the same time, offering the best possible chance for achieving long-term recovery. If you are unsure whether or not you suffer from a specific mental health disorder, undergoing a psychological evaluation is a necessary step towards choosing the right rehabilitation center and the right treatment plan for you.
Most recovery websites will list the services they offer for the mental health conditions that they treat, but it can also be helpful to call the facility and ask them specifically how many people they treat with your specific condition alongside substance abuse, what mental health professionals they employ that specializes in your specific needs, and what services they offer that target your condition.
Do They Have a Well-Rounded Staff?
Evaluating the individual staff is just as important, if not more so, as evaluating the treatment facility itself. Not only do you want to be surrounded by a well-rounded staff of professionals and people experienced with addiction recovery, but you also want to make sure that the people leading your treatment have the qualifications to do so. Ask yourself the following questions when researching the staff:
- Do the clinical therapists at least have a Master’s in Psychology?
- Do the psychiatrists and medical professionals have their doctorate?
- Look for clinicians that are licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFT) or licensed professional counselors (LPC).
- Is there someone that specializes in my specific co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorder?
- How many people visit this facility with the same conditions as me, and were they able to get the help that they needed?
Surrounding yourself with trained medical professionals is equally as important as being around people recovering from the same conditions as you are. And honestly, sometimes it helps to hear it from someone who struggled with addiction just like you rather than sitting in a chair listening to someone tell you how to feel, in their expert opinion because they have a degree. Treatment is most successful when you are surrounded by people you can trust and who understand and respect you, not who look down on the choices you’ve made.
You also want to look at how many different types of professionals work at that specific treatment center. The most effective team is one that incorporates a variety of people from all different backgrounds, like:
- Medical Doctors
- Clinical Therapists
- Wellness Specialists
- Spiritual Care Counselor
- Life Coach
- Fitness Instructor
A combination of people from different medical, therapeutic, and wellness backgrounds specializing in different treatment options are going to give you your best chance at a successful journey through the treatment process and early recovery.
What Level of Psychiatric Care Does The Facility Provide?
Questions to ask yourself when evaluating the specific programs and services offered:
- Do they provide different options that I am able to choose from?
- How extensive are their programs, and can I customize them to my specific needs?
- Do they offer medication management?
- Are they also a trustworthy detox center or will I have to go somewhere else if I need that service?
- What do their inpatient and outpatient services look like?
- Is there a sober living option?
- Is nutrition part of the treatment plan?
- How long do these programs last and can I stay longer if I feel that I need to?
- What specific therapies are offered?
- Does the treatment center combine holistic techniques?
- Can my family and friends be involved in my recovery journey, and if so, how?
- Does the treatment center provide aftercare services for continued recovery and sobriety?
Addiction treatment is important and often necessary when it comes to ensuring that you make it through early sobriety successfully and as safely as possible. This is your life we’re talking about, so the more questions that you can ask of the people, programs, and facilities that are going to be taking care of you, the better. You need to be as informed as possible when making this decision, so ask any and every question that comes to mind. You are your own best advocate, and at the end of the day, you are responsible for your treatment goals and recovery plan.
Are The Programs Evidence-Based?
Though some addiction centers focus treatment around the 12-step program and other faith-based techniques, and though these can be helpful to some people and to some degree, it is critical to receive treatment at a facility that focuses on evidence-based treatments. The best dual diagnosis treatment centers will use a combination of the most effective and up-to-date techniques possible. Consider the following:
- Do the treatments, therapies, and techniques provided have research backing them up, and are the people treating me qualified and trained to do so?
- Are the people in charge of my treatment plan able to adapt my plan as needed based on evidence and research that proves those methods are the most beneficial?
- Does my treatment plan meet my specific goals and needs in a way that is scientifically proven to provide support and resources for me as I travel along my recovery journey?
Evidence-based treatments are critical to success, as these methods are proven to benefit recovery. These types of programs provide interventions and different treatment techniques to effectively treat substance abuse and co-occurring mental health conditions alongside one another, providing clients with the best outlook for sobriety.
On-Site Holistic Services
Holistic therapies are a critical piece of dual diagnosis treatments. Not only can they reduce stress and help with cravings, but they can also provide positive, healthy coping mechanisms that can be used well after treatment is over. Holistics can bridge that gap between treatment and long-term recovery. Look for treatment centers that provide:
- Art Therapy
- Massage Therapy and Chiropractic Care
- Therapeutic Fitness
- Nutritional Classes
The best inpatient drug treatment centers will offer these services and more on-site. If the facility you’re looking at claims to be near a horse farm or has connections to a yoga studio or offers discounts for chiropractic care nearby, then they most likely do not offer holistic services on-site and may not be your best option. You want to seek treatment from a center that incorporates all of their services under one roof, led by a team of people you already know and trust, and you want to be somewhere that holistic treatments are easy to access.
Look At The Reviews…And Actually Read Them
People typically only go out of their way to leave reviews when they have either had a really great experience somewhere or a really horrible experience somewhere. And there are a lot of cases where fake reviews are left in order to make it seem like one treatment center is exceptionally fantastic. Do your research and take star ratings and reviews with a grain of salt. Look at multiple websites (Google, Facebook, and Yelp) and take the time to read each review. If the name of the reviewer is extremely generic (John Smith) and there is no photo, or if it is written very poorly and repeats the exact same phrases, then the review is probably not real.
Pay attention to whether or not the company responds to any of the reviews, too. The best treatment centers will listen to their clients and improve upon the things that their clients either didn’t like or wish they had more of. Active participation shows that they care enough to make their client’s voices feel heard.
We recommend choosing a facility that has a three-star rating or higher, as well as a facility with a decent number of reviews that span a period of time. If a facility has 100 reviews all in one day, it is unlikely that those are honest.
How Long Have They Been in Business?
Though this is not the most important measure of the quality of care a facility can provide, the length of time a treatment facility has been open can point out some things that should be taken into consideration.
If a facility has been open for 30 years and only has a few reviews and most of them are not that great and they have little to no accreditations, this can indicate that there is little emphasis placed on growing and changing. You want to go to a treatment facility that is always going to strive to implement the most up-to-date and most effective treatments available. Likewise, if a treatment center just opened yesterday and has no accreditations, and you are in the thick of crystal meth addiction with co-occurring bipolar disorder, it is probably better to seek help from a treatment group that is experienced in your specific areas of need.
Other Questions to Ask Yourself Before Choosing a Treatment Center
Finding the right dual diagnosis treatment center for you is a process, but it is a vital one. Some other questions to ask yourself when picking a dual diagnosis treatment center include:
- What are my personal treatment goals?
- What are my values, and what are things I will not compromise when it comes to my specific care plan?
- How am I going to pay for this and what options are available to me at this specific treatment center?
- Do I have any pre-existing medical conditions that might affect my treatment options?
- Does the treatment center have a high success rate?
- Does this rehab facility split clients based on gender?
- Is the location convenient for me?
- What are the amenities?
- Will I have to live on-site or will I have the freedom to live at home? If I do have to live there, am I going to have to share space with others?
- What is the treatment philosophy of this specific rehab center? What is their mission statement? What are their values?
What To Avoid
If a treatment center guarantees to “cure” your substance abuse or mental health conditions, they are probably not the place you want to go. Unfortunately, substance abuse and mental illnesses are things that require ongoing care. They aren’t conditions that can be cured. You can get sober and live a life of recovery for the rest of your life, but there may a little bit of an internal struggle and there will always be some mental health side effects that require extra work throughout one’s life. If a treatment center is promising a one-time fix to all your problems, they are already showing that they don’t have your best interest at heart.
It is also best to steer clear of places that guarantee quick success and rapid detox. The road to recovery is often a long process that requires time and care. If rushed, the risk of relapse is inevitable and can lead to dangerous consequences. There have been documented cases of rapid detox programs resulting in fatalities and other serious negative outcomes. Detox is an extremely critical phase of recovery, and promising a rapid detox can actually be life-threatening.