Choosing a rehab for alcohol or drug problems is a very personal decision. It’s best to take your time and investigate carefully.


I.   Rehab Essentials

II.  Rehab Really Necessary?


However, here are some things that should never be ignored.

I. Rehab Essentials

A. Accreditation

The most important indicator of quality is accreditation by a recognized organization. Look for accreditation by one of the following.

  •  Joint Commission.
  • Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP).
  • Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC).
  • Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).

When choosing a rehab remember that every facility should meet the minimum standards of one of these accrediting programs. This is a no-brainer. And don’t confuse so-called accreditation by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), which is completely unrelated to healthcare accreditation.

B. Health Insurance Standards

It’s also important in choosing a rehab to make sure that the facility meets the minimum standards necessary to receive health insurance reimbursements. Even if you won’t be using insurance, you should avoid any facility that is unqualified to receive such payments. That’s a very big red flag.

C. Qualified Staff

The facility should obviously have an on-site staff of fully qualified professionals. Look for licensed medical doctors, registered nurses, Ph.D or Psy.D. psychologists. Does the rehab have Certified Addiction Counselors (CAC), Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselors (LADC) Certified Co-occurring Disorders Professionals (CCDP), or Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC)?

Failure to provide fully qualified personnel shows either an inability or unwillingness to provide essential resources.  Don’t be fooled by any facility that tries to mislead by creating its own “certification” for its employees. That’s meaningless and deceptive.

D. On-site Detox Availability

You or your loved one may not need detox. Yet the availability of on-site detox is another sign of quality.  It also makes a seamless transition into the program for those who need detox. One rehab actually sends clients to detox centers halfway across the continent! This causes needless waste of time, expense, and anxiety.

After narrowing the search to facilities that meet minimum standards, it’s useful  to begin additionally narrowing in choosing a rehab. After all, you want a place that does more than simply meets minimal standards. You want the one that best meets your desires and needs.

E. Program Philosophy

The rehab should be based on a philosophy with which you are completely comfortable. Some people prefer a program based on the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (about 75% of rehabs). Others prefer non Twelve Step programs (about one-quarter of rehabs). Some prefer a religiously-based program whereas others prefer a non-religious program, and so on.

F. Therapies/Techniques

These are some of the many treatments available at both 12 step and non12 step programs.

G. Location

Many people prefer a location within their state, if not quite close to their home. This reduces expenses, makes it easier for friends and relatives to visit, and is more comforting. In addition, some prefer urban locations whereas other prefer rural locations.

H. Helpful Staff

In addition to being highly qualified, most people want a staff that is friendly, helpful and approachable. This is a very important to most people in choosing a rehab. The staff makes a big difference.

I. Facilities

Most people expect clean, attractive, well-maintained facilities, although not all are. Some also prefer facilities with swimming pools, tennis courts, and golf links.

J. Clientele

Some facilities have separate accommodations and programs for men and women.  Some are sponsored by religious groups.  Some cater to wealthy clients. Some cater to young people. In choosing a rehab, find one where you’re comfortable.

K. Testimonials/Reviews

The rehab industry is highly competitive and marketing is aggressive so don’t be fooled. Ignore self-serving and meaningless testimonials. And be wary of glowing reviews. There’s an entire industry devoted to padding and otherwise manipulating reviews. Instead, search Ripoff Report and other independent sites.

L. Visit

Choosing a rehab

Choosing a rehab is difficult

Once you narrow your choices to two or three, try to visit each one.  Spend as much time as possible talking with staff and clients. Choosing a rehab is an important decision that shouldn’t be rushed. Treat it as carefully (or more so) than you would treat the purchase of a house. After all, it’s really a more important decision.

Remember that operating rehabs is a multibillion dollar business. It’s highly competitive and salespeople (“admissions consultants”) are anxious to sign you up. They may do or say almost anything to get their commissions.  So in choosing a rehab ignore any  promise or anything else that is not in writing.

II. Rehab Really Necessary?

Although they may not realize it, most people don’t really need to enter a rehab facility. Most can achieve success overcoming drinking and drug problems with alternative programs.

Many Alternatives

A very affordable alternative to rehabs is the Life Process Program, which has a consistently high proven success rate of over 65% in rehab facilities, and is now available for use at home. It offers internet interactivity and online support.

A number of effective free programs are also available, including

There are also controversial programs whose effectiveness is widely debated:

Non-rehab programs are very popular with people who

  • Want to avoid the costs of rehab.
  • Don’t like the typically long travel to a rehab.
  • Want to avoid a long disruption of their lives.
  • Don’t like the idea of living with strangers.
  • Prefer to complete their program at their own pace while living in the comfort, privacy, and security of their own homes.

III. Resources

Alcohol & Drug Rehabs: What to Look For

Alcohol Rehab Accreditation is Important

Alcohol/Drug Retreats & Rehabs: Often More about Money than Helping People

Be Skeptical of Claimed Success Rates

Drink Too Much Alcohol?

Disclaimer: This website is informational only. It makes no suggestions or recommendations about alcohol, drinking, rehabs, programs, or any other matter and none should be inferred. Neither this website nor your host receives any compensation, directly or indirectly, from listing or describing any program. Such listing or description does not imply endorsement. [+]

Filed Under: Alcoholism General Information