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How To Choose Your Most Effective Drug Or Alcohol Treatment Program By Melanie Solomon
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By: Melanie Solomon Email Article
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1. What kinds of treatment programs do they offer? Is it primarily 12-step based, or do they offer other self-help options as well, i.e. SMART Recovery, SOS, or Women For Sobriety? So they match treatment settings, interventions and services to each individuals particular problems and needs, since this is critical to one's ultimate success in returning to productive functioning in the family, workplace and society?

2. Does the program address multiple needs of the individual, not just his or her drug use, such as any associated medical, psychological, social, vocational and legal problems?

3. What types of credentials does the staff have, such as doctors, counselors, and anyone else who has contact with the clients, and what is the ratio between the staff and clients?

4. Is there a doctor on the treatment's premises 24 hours a day, or just a couple times a week to dole out medication?

5. What is the treatment program's philosophy or theory towards addiction? Is it religious, bio-psycho-social, psychological, neurological, physical and psychological, trauma-based (addiction that has stemmed from a sole traumatic event in one's life), and does their particular approach suit your own personality, beliefs and values, or is it one that you can believe in, and rebuild your life based on it?

6. Does the treatment program detail positive approaches towards treatment, using up-to-date methods, such as motivational therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, stress personal responsibility, this is a disease/not a disease but a choice among many others?

7. Do you think this approach resonates with you, or your loved one, that may need inpatient help?

8. Does the program offer counseling (individual or group) and other behavioral therapies, where issues of motivation, building life-skills to resist drug and alcohol use, relapse prevention, improving problem-solving skills and facilitation of interpersonal relationships and ability to function in the family and community often take place?

9. How does the rehab program assist an individual during the withdrawal process, i.e. medical treatment for withdrawal provided, or must this be done somewhere else, prior to entering the facility?

10. To what extent is the family involved in the treatment process?

If a treatment program is determined to be necessary, asking these critical questions will at least give you the important information of whether or not they are simply a traditional treatment center, only offering one option, the 12-step method, or whether they have taken all the vital research into account and have now incorporated many different alternative modalities into their program. Remember, the notion that "one size fits all" in the treatment of alcohol and other drug problems has been completely destroyed by the scientific evidence, and therefore, there can not be a "one size fits all" solution.

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Ms. Solomon is the author of the newly released 2nd Edition of "AA-Not the Only Way; Your One Stop Resource Guide to 12-Step Alternatives, which can be found on She also used to speak to teens at The Huntington Beach School District Drug & Alcohol Program, and has led workshops at The Learning Annex in California. Ms. Solomon is always available for questions and individual consultations.

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