What Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Rehab

Before committing to a drug or alcohol rehab program, it’s important to do your research and find the program that’s right for you and is going to give you the best possible treatment outcome.

Everyone’s treatment needs, preferences, and priorities are different—what works for one person may not be beneficial for you and vice versa. Once you’ve finalized your list of addiction treatment programs, you’ll want to call each one and ask them these questions to determine if they are the best rehab for you.

Do They Have Experience Treating Your Addiction?

You’ll want to make sure that the treatment program you choose has significant experience treating your particular addiction. For example, if a rehab specializes in alcohol addiction, then you may want to look elsewhere for heroin addiction treatment.

Additionally, if you know that you have a co-occurring mental health condition, such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder, then you’ll want to ask if they have experience treating dual diagnoses. Co-occurring conditions require integrated and specialized care to fully address the unique challenges presented by both disorders.  

Do They Offer Medical Detox Services?

Many rehabs offer medical detox services prior to beginning your addiction treatment program. Medical detox entails 24/7 medical care and monitoring to ensure your safety during drug or alcohol withdrawal. The withdrawal syndrome for several substances can be life-threatening without medical oversight, which is why it’s recommended to seek medical detox.

If you’re addicted to alcohol, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, or opioids, you will want to make sure that the rehab of your choosing offers medical detox, which may include withdrawal medications, supportive care, and counseling.

Do They Take Your Insurance?

Most insurance plans provide at least partial coverage for substance abuse treatment services, so you’ll want to take advantage. Going to a rehab that accepts your insurance will help keep your costs down.

If you want to check your insurance coverage now, you can verify it using our insurance form.

Do They Offer Financing Options?

If you don’t have insurance, you’ll want to ask the treatment center if they offer financing options for people who need assistance. Many treatment programs offer sliding scale fees, payment plans, scholarships, and more, to help make treatment more affordable.

You may also want to check out grants for rehab. For example, New York City offers nearly 2,000 grants for individuals seeking addiction treatment.

What is Their Treatment Philosophy & Approach?

Every alcohol and drug rehab is going to have a slightly different treatment philosophy and approach, from holistic rehabs and Christian rehabs to luxury rehabs and 12-step rehabs. Some treatment programs use a secular approach while others integrate 12-step models into treatment.

You’ll want to decide what type of treatment approach makes the most sense for you. For example, if you already do yoga or meditate, a holistic treatment program may be the way to go. Meanwhile, if faith plays a huge role in your life, you may want to opt for a faith-based rehab.

Do They Use Evidence-Based Treatment Methods?

Regardless of the rehab’s treatment approach, it’s essential that you ask if they use evidence-based treatment methods. Evidence-based treatment (EBT) means that the rehab uses therapies and modalities that are backed by scientific research. This includes both behavioral therapies and addiction treatment medications.

Evidence-based therapies for addiction include:1

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Contingency Management
  • The Matrix Model
  • Family Behavior Therapy
  • Community Reinforcement Approach
  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)

What are Their Program Rules?

If you are going the inpatient route (which is recommended for severe addictions, polydrug addictions, and co-occurring disorders), you’ll want to ask the rehab what their program rules are. Some rehabs allow visitors, others do not. Some allow you to bring prescription medication, while others forbid all medications. One rehab might allow electronics, such as laptops or tablets, and another one may want you to be distraction-free while receiving treatment. No set of rules is more correct than another, but you’ll want to get a clear picture of what to expect throughout your program.

What Amenities & Features Do They Offer?

Your comfort is a priority while you recover from a drug or alcohol addiction. You will want to ask the rehab what amenities and features they have. Examples might include:

  • Gourmet meats
  • Swimming pools
  • Gyms
  • Equine therapy
  • Spa services
  • Massage services
  • On-site beautician or barber
  • Art and music therapy

What is the Patient-to-Staff Ratio?

The patient-to-staff ratio refers to how many patients are at the program compared to the number of staff members. If there is a high patient-to-staff ratio, that means you may receive less individualized attention since the staff has to split their attention between more patients. For the most attentive treatment, opt for a rehab that has a low patient-to-staff ratio.

Are They Accredited?

This is an extremely important question because accredited facilities have gone through a series of assessments in order to confirm its standards of excellence in addiction treatment care. The accreditation process is a long and shows a rehab’s commitment to its patients.

The two main accrediting organizations for drug rehab include the Joint Commission (previously known as JCAHO) and the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). If a rehab tells you they are accredited, you’ll want to check that it’s by one or both of these organizations.

What Credentials Do the Staff Members Have?

You’ll want to ask the rehab what credentials the staff members have. Some treatment facilities may staff people without professional degrees in substance abuse and mental health, and that is a huge red flag. A quality treatment program is going to staff people with credentials, such as:

  • LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker)
  • MFT (Marriage and Family Therapist)
  • Psy.D. (Doctor of Psychology)
  • LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor)
  • MSN (Master’s Degree in Nursing)
  • PMHNP (Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioners)
  • CCAPP (Certified Alcohol Drug Counselor)

How Long is the Treatment Program?

Most inpatient rehabs range from 28 days to 90 days, although you may stay longer if necessary. You’ll want to ask the rehab you’re researching how long their particular treatment program is and if there is the option to stay longer if you feel you need added support once you’re there.

Do They Offer Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)?

If you’re addicted to a prescription opioid or heroin, you’ll want to find a program that offers medication-assisted treatment (MAT). MAT is a combination of counseling and opioid addiction treatment medication, such as methadone or Suboxone. These medications curb opioid cravings, decrease withdrawal symptoms, and reduce the risk of relapse. When combined with behavioral therapies, these medications can help you achieve long-term abstinence.

What is Their Success Rate?

You’ll want to ask the drug or alcohol rehab if they keep data on the success rates of their patients. While there is no established way to determine success in such a complicated process such as addiction recovery, many rehabs will track the following data:

  • Treatment completion rates
  • Sobriety rates immediately after rehab
  • Sobriety rates one year after rehab

Many treatment programs follow up with their patients post-treatment to see how they’re doing. These rehabs show that they care about patients well after rehab and that they prioritize the continuum of care. You may want to put these rehabs at the top of your list. 


  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Behavioral Therapies.

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