7 Characteristics of a Good Drug and Alcohol Rehab

mental health expert at a drug and alcohol rehab

7 Characteristics of a Good Drug and Alcohol Rehab

a female client inquiring on a drug and alcohol rehab centerIf you or a loved one is struggling with a substance use disorder, getting help and going to rehab is the best way to get started turning your life around. Unfortunately, even choosing a rehab center can be a challenge. In 2022, there were 17,353 registered substance use disorder treatment facilities in the United States. This means you’ll have to navigate a large number of options, look at different treatment methods, and put in work to find the treatment center that works for you.

Those facilities also vary considerably in treatment options, luxury, treatment type, and treatment delivery. For example, you can go to a simple outpatient program where you visit the clinic daily. You can also go to a high-end luxury resort that looks and feels like a vacation with therapy on top. There’s also a large range of options in between, which is the best fit for most people. Whatever you go to, the following 7 characteristics of a good drug and alcohol rehab are crucial for your treatment.

1. They Accept Your Insurance

Substance abuse treatment can be extremely expensive, especially if you’re going to an inpatient treatment facility. Having the surety that your program is covered by your insurance allows you to get the help you need without adding on extra financial stress. In addition, if your treatment facility accepts insurance, that means it’s offering medically recognized treatment, has gone through the process of being locally licensed and certified, and meets the standards for quality set by whatever region it is in.

Of course, that’s not always the case. Some insurance programs simply won’t cover inpatient care. Others require that you go to outpatient care first and only cover inpatient care if you relapse after an outpatient program. So, your rehab center not being covered by your insurance provider may be about policy rather than about the rehab facility being part of an established medical network. However, in general, it’s best to work with rehab centers that work with medical providers, that are part of your network, and that can share data and medical files to your doctor and vice-versa, so you get the best possible care.

2. The Facility and Staff are Licensed

It’s important to check who you are working with and who is providing treatment as part of your rehab program. For example, are you working with registered nurses for your detox program? Are counselors licensed? Is there a psychologist or psychiatrist on the team? How much interaction will you have with those people?

Depending on the drug and alcohol rehab team, you’re likely to work with a mix of counselor, nurses, and doctors. You’ll want to see what staff are like and how qualified they. The best programs largely rely on skilled specialist counselors with therapists and doctors to back up those programs, so you get a mix of treatment.

3. The Facility Offers Personalized Treatment

Whether it’s called personalization, trauma-informed care, or a program that’s adjusted to your needs as you move through it, you want to look for personalization. This means that the facility adapts your treatment to you and your needs. This is important because many people going into addiction treatment struggle with unique problems like trauma, co-occurring mental health disorders, and behavioral problems. If you’re having trouble motivating yourself to believe in therapy, therapy should adapt to offer you a motivational program. If you’re struggling to commit to treatment because you’re feeling suicidal, therapy should adapt to address that first.

Personalized treatment means you get the care you need, when you need it, instead of being forced through a cookie-cutter program. That will improve your outcome and will ensure you get the support you need as you need it. However, it can also mean programs last much longer, as you might have to delay treatment to address other symptoms or slow down treatment to your pace.

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4. Low Patient to Staff Ratios

mental health expert at a drug and alcohol rehabThe more one-on-one time you get with staff and counselors, the more value you’ll get from the treatment center. Of course, you also benefit a great deal from interacting with your peers and from group therapy. That’s why basically every treatment option incorporates group therapy as a baseline. It’s good for you to see and experience how others are going through and have gone through addiction, it’s good for you to understand your peers, and it’s good for you to be able to see which aspects of your personality and behavior are you and which are “just” addiction. At the same time, the best drug and alcohol rehab centers maintain a low staff to patient ratio.

In general, ratings are:

  • 14+ patients per staff member – High
  • 4-14 patients per staff member – Average
  • 4 or less patients per staff member – Low

It’s also important to keep in mind that the lower staff to patient ratios are, the more you’ll pay for treatment. However, you’ll also get more direct attention, more personalization, and more insight into your own personal needs. And, that can be extremely valuable, whether you’re going to an inpatient or an outpatient program.

5. Diverse Treatment Options

Most people are aware that there are dozens of ways to treat substance use disorders. Here, you want to look for a program that uses multiple treatment options so that they can adapt your treatment and your program to your needs. For example, if your treatment center is only offering counseling, it might not be a great resource for you.

A good mix of treatment options looks like:

  • Diverse behavioral therapies like CBT, DBT, and EMDR
  • Counseling
  • Group Therapy
  • Motivational Therapies like ACT
  • Complementary therapies like music therapy, nutritional therapy
  • Exercise and fitness programs

Essentially, you want a program that uses a mix of resources, so it can offer you what you need, when you need it.

6. Aftercare Programs

The dream is that you go through rehab and you walk out the other side, a new person, ready to recover. Unfortunately, that’s rarely the case. Most people end up needing aftercare including ongoing therapy and counseling. Sometimes that’s to give you the support you need to stay clean and sober. In other cases, it’s to give you the support you need to go back to recovery after a relapse. However, any good rehab program will realize that you need this aftercare. Aftercare can mean sober homes, ongoing support and counseling, telehealth support, fast-track readmission in case of a relapse, an outpatient program, checkups and key dates, etc. The important thing is that it’s there, that you discuss with your rehab center what you need and why, and that you have the tools to get that ongoing support.

7. Support for Co-occurring Disorders

More than half of all people with a substance use disorder also have a co-occurring mental health disorder. Many of those include disorders that require medication and treatment. You need to ensure that your facility has the tools to help you manage co-occurring disorders, to help you treat the symptoms of substance use disorders around mental health disorders, and that address how substance use disorders impact your vulnerability to substance abuse and to relapse.

There’s a lot that goes into choosing a drug and alcohol rehab program. Often, you should start by talking to your doctor, decide what you’re looking for, and then figure out where you’re looking for treatment. From there, it’s easier to narrow down treatment options – and you may find that there are only a few that meet the criteria you’re looking for. Hopefully, you can find a great rehab center that meets your needs and helps you take the next step towards recovery.

The Differences and Similarities Between Meth and Crack


The Differences and Similarities Between Meth and Crack

Various-colorful-pills-and-syringe-on-black-backgroundRecreational drug use is at an all-time high in the United States, with an estimated 48.7 million Americans struggling with a substance use disorder. Crack or crack cocaine and meth are two of the most common of those drugs, although both fall well behind opioids, sedatives, and tranquilizers like heroin, sleeping medication, prescription pain pills, and benzodiazepines in popularity. Crack and meth have many similarities on a surface level. For example, both are sold as “crystal” and both are called “rock” in some street language. And, both are often smoked using a glass pipe but can be injected. In fact, if you don’t know what you’re looking at, it can be difficult to tell the difference between the two when you catch someone using.

For many parents, crack was the concern when they were kids. Today, methamphetamine is the new drug of choice for kids, often because it’s accessible and cheap, rather than because it’s cheap. At the same time, it’s important to understand the differences, because both have different effects, different risks, and require different strategies to use safely.

What is Crack Cocaine?

Cocaine is a processed product from the coca plant, which is made by processing the leaves into a paste and then further processing it with ammonia to remove the pulp to create pure cocaine. Crack is cocaine that has been processed a third time with solvents to further remove any non-active ingredients, creating a hard, rock-like substance that is sold in chunks known as “rocks”. It’s also generally mixed with sodium bicarbonate, which allows it to be smoked at a lower temperature (cocaine doesn’t start to smoke until almost 400 degrees Fahrenheit, which also destroys the drug but bicarbonate smokes at 208 F, which doesn’t destroy the drug).

The result is a highly concentrated form of cocaine that offers a significant high and euphoria. Unlike cocaine, crack is also highly addictive. And, unlike cocaine, smoking it means it results in significant physical health risks including burns, damage to the lungs, tooth loss, and more. Cocaine also only lasts about 15 minutes, meaning that users frequently consistently pass a pipe around to stay high – resulting in increased risk of overdose and danger.

What is Meth?

Meth or “crystal meth” is an illicit drug that’s sold in a number of ways but most famously as crystals or “rock”. Methamphetamine is an amphetamine drug, similar to what you get if you buy Ritalin or Adderall. However, meth has more of the psychoactive amphetamine salt, meaning that it creates a more intense high, more euphoria, and more risks of side-effects.

Meth is typically made illicitly by distilling the active ingredients out of other products, such as cold and cough medicine. However, in other cases, it’s synthesized directly. In either case, the drug is typically sold as powder. In some cases, it’s solidified and sold as crystal meth, or dry rocks known as “rock”, “crystal” and sometimes “shatter” (although the latter is more often reserved for hash and concentrated THC products from marijuana.

Like crack, meth is a stimulant. However, it lasts 4-16 hours. In addition, it can be more noticeable than crack, as users may not sleep for the entire period they are high. For people who continue to smoke while high, that can mean periods of 32+ hours of being awake. Meth is also more common, with almost twice the number of regular users as crack cocaine.

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What are the Similarities Between Meth and Crack Cocaine?

Asian-men-are-drug-addicts-to-inject-heroin-into-their-veins-themselves.Flakka-drug-or-zombie-drug-is-dangerous-life-threatening,Thailand-no-to-drug-concept,The-bad-guy-drugs-in-the-desolateMeth and crack cocaine have a lot in common. For example, they are both stimulant drugs. This means that both impact the central nervous system causing a high, euphoria, and feelings of being powerful. People using crack or meth will show signs of hyperactivity, wakefulness, and restlessness. They might not be able to sit still, talk at a normal pace, or they might talk with nervous energy or jitters.

  • Crack – Users are likely to experience euphoria and a high, with paranoia, hallucinations, anger, psychosis, and some hostility or aggression towards others.
  • Meth – Users are likely to experience euphoria and a high with paranoia, hallucinations, anger, psychosis, and some aggression and hostility towards themselves and others.

Crack cocaine and meth are also both schedule II-controlled substances. This means that they’re both illegal to poses or use in the United States. They’re classified as dangerous, and addictive and it can be a crime to be caught with either drug in your possession.

Crystal meth can also look very similar to crack cocaine. However, “standard” meth is more likely to be sold as a powder.

As stimulant, both also have similar long-term effects. For example:

  • Cracked and blistered lips from smoking
  • Weight loss
  • Tooth decay
  • Paranoia and psychosis

A heavy crack user will look similar to a heavy meth user in many ways. Both also have similar overdose risks and similar risks of cardiovascular and heart failure.

  • Both can be smoked or injected
  • Both are often consumed from glass pipes
  • Both cause a euphoric high with nervous energy

What are the Differences Between Meth and Crack Cocaine?

Crack and meth are very different drugs. As a result, there will be many differences. However, you’ll most often notice them in how long the drug acts and what the long-term side-effects are. Here, meth mostly stands out by lasting for longer. Users are also less likely to sleep and more likely to start showing ticks and psychosis over time.

  • Meth lasts for up to 16 hours while crack only lasts for about 15 minutes
  • Meth tends to result in a more haggard appearance over time and weight loss may be more extreme – because it causes more loss of sleep
  • Meth highs tend to result in sugar and junk food binges
  • Meth tends to result in more symptoms of psychosis over time, meaning that individuals are more likely to twitch, show paranoia, and to show side-effects even when not high.

Eventually, both meth and crack cocaine are dangerous drugs that can result in mental and physical health problems including overdose, death, and addiction. Of the two, methamphetamine is more popular. Today, an estimated 1% of the population use meth. About 0.4% of the population use crack cocaine. Therefore, if you’re not sure, you can generally assume that methamphetamine is more than twice as common.

Getting Help

Both crack cocaine and meth are dangerous, addictive, and potentially deadly drugs. Both cause long-term side-effects to mental and physical health. And both can have markedly similar side-effects and risks. Eventually, if you or a loved one is using either, it’s important to realize that you are putting yourself at risk every time you use. Stepping back and looking into getting help, detox assistance for getting clean, and long-term support and rehab to help with substance abuse recovery can be an important step. Here, modern drug addiction treatment means counseling and behavioral therapy to help you identify the underlying causes behind substance abuse, to find coping mechanisms for cravings, and to build life-skills that allow you to navigate life in a happy and healthy way without drugs.

Meth and crack are both extremely dangerous and addictive drugs. If you’re using them, it’s important to talk to your doctor, get help if you need it, and make sure you’re doing everything you can to stay safe.