Drug and alcohol rehabilitation is an individualized process. What works well for one person may not help, or might even be detrimental, to others. Ensuring that the treatment you seek out matches your particular needs will help you be more successful in establishing and maintaining sobriety.

A mental health professional, medical doctor, or substance abuse specialist can help you determine your individual treatment needs. You can also learn about the different methods of substance use disorder treatment to help you determine the best course of action for your unique circumstances. A study published by the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment found that matching drug treatment services to client needs improves treatment retention and encourages positive long-term treatment results.

Checklist

Determining the Needs of Treatment

See a process of how to decide on the best treatment option based on your needs.

Step 1: Visit a medical doctor.

Medical professionals are often the first point of contact between someone suffering from addiction and treatment services. Drugs and alcohol can do extensive damage to the physical body, and some health problems can exacerbate, or even contribute to, a substance use disorder. Visit your general practitioner and have a full physical exam performed. The doctor will likely want to take blood and urine samples in order to establish the extent of the substance use.

Effectivetreatment for a substance use disorder will address not only your addiction, but any medical problems you face. Visiting a doctor to receive any applicable diagnoses will help you determine the type of treatment you will need going forward. Make sure your medical records are made available to the rest of your treatment team if you choose to enter a rehabilitation facility. Your doctor may be able to refer you to a mental health professional or substance abuse specialist.

If you are entering treatment at an addiction treatment center, a complete medical assessment is often part of the intake process. This assessment will help to determine the presence of any co-occurring medical issues as well as the severity of the addiction issue.

Learn About Our Programs & Services

Programs:

Medical Detox | Residential Treatment | Intensive Outpatient | Traditional Outpatient | Aftercare Planning

Services:

Motivational Interviewing | Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy | Weekly Exercise Classes | Dietician on Staff

View Our Levels of Care Page

We Offer Detox, Outpatient, and Inpatient Options

Do You Have Questions? | We Are More Than Happy to Provide Answers

Step 2: Receive an evaluation from a mental health professional.

The best way to determine your treatment needs is to be evaluated by a mental health professional. A psychologist can administer questionnaires and conduct interviews that are used to diagnose mental health disorders. Your treatment plan will need to acknowledge all of the mental health disorders you suffer from, so a full assessment will be necessary.

In your first meeting, a therapist will conduct an interview to gather information about you and your needs. The information your therapist gathers will be used to determine if you qualify for a diagnosis of a substance use disorder. Interviews may follow a specific structure, during which the therapist will ask particular questions, or it may take place in the form of a more relaxed conversation. Questionnaires can also be used, which you may fill out independently or with the assistance of the therapist. Addiction Science and Clinical Practice has published a study listing many different tools that can be used to assess an addiction, including the Addiction Severity Index (ASI) and the Alcohol Use Disorders and Associated Disabilities Interview Schedule (AUDADIS).

Receiving a formal diagnosis is a vital step in determining treatment needs. A mental health professional can help you determine exactly what problems you are facing and what kind of treatment tends to work best for your individual diagnoses.

Again, if you are entering a comprehensive rehabilitation program, a mental health assessment is often part of the intake process.

Step 3: Explore treatment methods.

Once you have been evaluated by a medical doctor and a mental health professional, you will need to determine how you would like to move forward with treatment in conjunction with treatment professionals. Many different treatment methods can be used to facilitate recovery from a substance use disorder, all of them varying in length and intensity. Treatment protocols published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) list four levels of care: outpatient services, intensive outpatient (also called partial hospitalization), residential or inpatient services, and medically managed intensive inpatient care.

The appropriate level of care depends on several factors, including the severity of your addiction, the amount of support you receive from friends and family, and the substances to which you are addicted. A person with a severe addiction and a lack of outside support may do best in a highly structured, inpatient program, where 24-hour supervision and care are available. Some people prefer to receive treatment in an outpatient setting, so they can stay in contact with family or friends and possibly continue to work, or care for family members, while in treatment. Addictions to opiates and alcohol can be treated with medication, in combination with therapy, so someone who abuses these substances may want to seek out a treatment facility that can offer appropriate pharmacological interventions.

Creating a Treatment Plan

Addiction can be a pervasive, overwhelming disorder, and it can be difficult to recover without help. The best way to determine your treatment needs is to consult a professional. You may struggle to be fully aware of the problems you are facing, which can make it difficult to ask for the level of care you need. Talk with a doctor or mental health professional to establish the best treatment plan for you.