FAQ: Treatment

Residential treatment is the

  • The support of peers who have been through or are going through the same issues in recovery
  • Constant access to therapeutic professionals who can assist with any emotional challenges
  • Physical and emotional separation from the stressors and situations that may be triggers for relapse
  • Time and permission to focus on nothing but healing
  • Constant access to medical care
  • A personalized treatment plan created to address individual treatment goals
  • Long-term detox and promotion of physical health through healthy cuisine and exercise opportunities

Deciding on a Residential Treatment Facility

There are common consideration a patient and their loved ones need to consider when chosing a residential rehab. A good facility will be able to give you information on how all of these are handled at their location. Here is what we recommend you consider:

  • The structure of a residential facility
  • How families can communication with loved ones
  • Therapy process at an inpatient treatment setting
  • Communication with a client’s doctor
  • Family involvement during recovery
  • Types of programs are available
  • Addressing a client’s medical health
  • How long do programs last
  • Is aftercare included

There are a number of treatment philosophies, structures of care, locations, and foci, and each treatment program will offer a unique combination to potential clients. The benefit is that you can explore your options, choose which one best suits your needs, and get comprehensive care that will best support you in your journey toward stability in recovery.

The best way to determine which one is best for you is to ask questions:

  • What is your philosophy of care? What style of treatment informs how you help clients to choose different goals, therapies, and treatments?
  • What are the types of treatments and therapies available to clients? Do those change? Are they expected to change while I would be in residence?
  • Do you offer medical detox or medication-based treatment? What medical care and support do you offer for underlying disorders?
  • What experience and credentials do your staff members have? What licenses does that facility hold? Are they current?
  • Do you provide treatment for co-occurring mental health disorders or process addictions?
  • How long can clients stay in the program? Is there an ability to extend the length of time in treatment if necessary?
  • What are your options for support for family members? Do you offer personal counseling for family members, family therapy sessions, family support groups, and/or educational workshops for family?
  • What aftercare support do you offer? How do you address the issue of relapse among alumni?

What is a residential facility?

A residential treatment facility should be structured to support the growth and healing of the individual. This means that each client’s experience in treatment should be varied according to need. However, every treatment program will be guided by a general schedule. For example, group meal times occur at the same time each day. There is a block of time set aside for showers, shared chores, and group meetings. In most cases, lights-out and wakeup times are standard for everyone, and personal time is built into the schedule as well as time for clients to branch off and take part in individual therapy sessions.

Additionally, time is set aside on some evenings and/or weekends for family visitation, celebratory events, visiting speakers, and trips into the community.

In some circumstances, accommodation may be made for family emergencies or other personal commitments that arise unexpectedly. In later stages of treatment, it may be an option to volunteer, attend 12-Step meetings in the community, work, or take classes. These activities may be worked into a client’s schedule if the individual is ready.

How can a family communicate with their loved one in rehab?

In the first couple weeks of rehab, clients are encouraged to focus solely on recovery. This often means avoiding contact with friends and family outside of the facility via any means, including letters and phone calls. The idea is that it takes time to transition from the mindset of active addiction to that of active sobriety. It is an easier process when one is not distracted by the worries of loved ones or any issues happening at home. Additionally, the first weeks of treatment are often defined by intense physical and mental withdrawal symptoms. It can be easier to navigate this experience by fully committing to the process of recovery.

After the first few weeks, however, regular communication and interactions with family members are not only provided for but encouraged. The support of family can be a critical part of recovery, and the more informed that family members are about the nature of treatment and recovery, the more effective they will be in positively supporting their loved one when they transition back home. Regular communication during the rehab period is an essential part of that process and may include family visitation days, family therapy sessions, regular phone calls or emails, and more.

How intensive is the therapy process at an inpatient treatment setting?

Comprehensive care requires intensive therapy that addresses the many different issues that can arise during early sobriety and make it more difficult to avoid relapse. The number of different types of therapies incorporated into treatment is chosen based on the needs of the individual. In general, however, most clients will take part in:

  • Personal therapy: These one-on-one sessions provide for private interactions with a case manager/therapist who can discuss issues with treatment overall as well as personal concerns and goals throughout the treatment process.
  • Group therapy: These sessions include others in residence at the treatment facility and may be specific to a shared concern (e.g., parenting, a specific drug of choice, a mental health disorder, etc.) or shift focus to help participants learn coping mechanisms in recovery while providing them with a safe forum to practice positive communication skills.
  • Peer support or 12-Step meetings: Working the steps and learning how to take part in 12-Step meetings in the context of rehab can help to work through some of the underlying issues that may have informed active addiction. Additionally, when it is time to transition into independent living, 12-Step meetings in the community are often similarly structured and will thus be a familiar support option.
  • Alternative therapies: There are literally hundreds of different kinds of alternative therapies that can provide new paths of personal exploration and growth in recovery. Sports therapies, adventure therapies, psychodrama, dance and movement therapies, and artistic therapies – depending upon the client’s interest and treatment goal, different therapies will be beneficial.
  • Holistic treatments: Yoga, meditation, massage and bodywork, acupuncture, and other treatment options can serve to lower stress and assist the client in making the body-mind-spirit connection that is so critical to a full recovery experience.

How does a treatment center communicate with a client’s doctor?

If a client would like to release medical information to another medical professional, this can be facilitated by signing a waiver. The medical professional may contact the treatment program at any time after that has been processed to access the client’s records. If appropriate, the treatment team at the rehab may be able to build a treatment plan in conjunction with a client’s personal doctor and/or work together to create an aftercare plan.

Do residential centers require or allow for family involvement?

Most residential treatment centers with available resources will reach out to family members to provide them with support and information as needed. It can be helpful to the person enrolled in rehab to know that concerned family members are available and supportive, thus rehab programs often make an effort to include them whenever possible.

However, in cases where a family member is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction issues, it is recommended that everyone undergo treatment as needed. It is difficult to remain clean and sober if returning to a home where someone is actively living with a substance abuse problem, thus family involvement may be limited when untreated addiction is an issue.

What types of programs are available to assist in the recovery process?

Every rehab program has a different set of offerings to support clients in recovery. Most residential treatment programs will offer:

  • Medical detox assistance, as needed
  • Treatment for co-occurring mental health disorders, as needed
  • A comprehensive evaluation and assessment process at the start of treatment
  • A unique treatment plan, making use of a range of different styles of therapy
  • Family support programs
  • Programs to support clients facing different challenges in life (e.g., legal issues, parenting, employment, etc.)
  • Aftercare and alumni support

How do inpatient facilities address a client’s medical health?

Medical care is often part of the treatment included at an inpatient treatment facility. It is usually available onsite and the main reason why many clients choose a residential program over outpatient care.

Just as with psychological treatment, medical care at an inpatient facility begins with stabilization if the client is in crisis and is followed by an intensive evaluation and assessment to identify all issues. A treatment plan to address all symptoms and disorders is created, allowing residents of the inpatient facility to enjoy ongoing medical monitoring and care as needed throughout their treatment program. At the cessation of treatment, an aftercare plan is built based upon new treatment goals that will facilitate ongoing care in recovery.

Many residential treatment programs begin with a recommended standard length of time – 30 days, 60 days, or 90 days, in most cases – and ask that all new clients commit to the minimum length of time with the understanding that if more time is needed, then extension is available.

In most cases, 30 days is the bare minimum and does not provide a very solid foundation in long-term recovery. A minimum of 90 days helps to ensure that the client is not only through the heaviest of the detox symptoms but is knowledgeable and practiced in the coping skills that will help to avoid relapse for the long haul. If more time is needed because the client does not yet feel stable, an extended stay can provide more time to develop the skills necessary to thrive in recovery. For every client, the length of time needed in residential treatment may vary, so it is important to be aware and communicative with the therapeutic team in determining the appropriate length of stay.

Do most residential centers provide aftercare?

Every residential treatment program should provide assistance in creating an effective and informed aftercare program. Based on the treatment goals met during the time in residence and the client’s personal goals for the future and resources near home, an aftercare plan should allow for:

  • Continued mental health treatment
  • Ongoing engagement with addiction treatment services
  • Connection with therapies and treatments that proved effective during rehab
  • Connection with a supportive community in recovery
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