Avoiding the Snake in the Treatment Center Grass
By Ashley Harms
No matter where in the United States you live, you’ve probably seen a commercial, heard a radio advertisement, or seen something on the internet about getting help for alcohol or drug addiction. These include some promising that the patient be cured after a short stint in treatment, some having websites with misleading photos and information, and some using means of enticement to get people into their treatment center. With so many options out there, how does someone decide where to go, especially if it’s a long flight away?
While touring a facility might be the best option for ensuring a right fit, it might not always be feasible. If someone has made the commitment to come to treatment after months or years of active addiction, now is not the time to wait before getting them there. A good alternative to a site visit would be centers that have a live video tour of the facility since videos tend to be less misleading than photos. Most reputable programs also have an active alumni community that is willing to share their experience of treatment and early recovery; talking to an alumnus that has completed the program is another great option.
A lot of people believe that gauging an addiction treatment center from online reviews provides a good depiction of what to expect, but in this day in age, online reviews can be the most misleading means of assessing a facility. With the increasing use of the “Google Search” many facilities will post false reviews or pay other companies to “clean up” their online appearance. Internet searches have become a game of “whoever pays the most gets the top spot in the search results,” no matter if they meet the specific specs that were searched for or not. A way around this would be finding out tangible things such as: what accreditation’s and licensing has the facility received, what type of education credentials do the therapists have, are there nursing and medical staff on site at all times, and what a typical day looks like.
In the field of addiction treatment, there are many modalities of recovery. There’s not a one-size-fits-all center, so it’s important to take into account that a facility may not be “good” or “bad,” but just a wrong fit for someone. The most important thing a facility can do is tell the truth and be transparent about what they offer. The most ethical phrase a treatment center can say is, “I don’t think we’re the right fit for you, but let me give you a few other options that will meet your needs better.” Any facility that is unwilling to assist someone in finding treatment due to a lack of finances, having the wrong diagnosis, or having the wrong type of insurance is not acting ethically.