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Overcome your drug addiction and get clean with an inpatient treatment center

Mark Myers LCSW, CADC Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor Myers Counseling Group

Inpatient treatment, whether it be for drug abuse or mental health, is a stressful challenge some individuals and families have to face. It is a huge decision that is based upon their history and life events. It is a decision that should not be made casually. Having to be admitted or having a loved one admitted is emotional and and scary. If you have made this decision to pursue inpatient treatment, you should understand there are certain qualities to look for in choosing a treatment center. The more you know what to expect, the more possibility this experience will wind up to be productive.


Do get an assigned counselor

Most insurances view inpatient treatment as crisis stabilization or detox. The criteria to be admitted into treatment for mental health is being a threat to yourself or other people; for substance abuse the criteria is usually for detox issues. Although there are inpatient substance abuse programs that are 4-6 weeks, they most likely have limited, if any, insurance coverage. Therefore, if you are going into an inpatient setting, right from the beginning it is important to have a main contact person that should be a primary counselor or therapist. This person will be responsible for facilitation of care and the main person to coordinate services. Discharge planning needs to be addressed almost from the beginning and the assigned individual should be the one facilitating it.

Do have support groups in and out of the facility

For most individuals, inpatient treatment is just the start of their journey. Utilization of support groups, in and out of the treatment centers, is an integral part of therapy. All facilities should have group therapy as part of their treatment. This also should include outside community groups as well. For substance abuse treatment, it should include a 12 step program or other types of drug support groups like Narcotics Anonymous. For mental health it could vary according to the diagnosis. Having an aftercare group component is essential for any treatment facility.

Do check health care benefits

Make sure that your insurance covers this type of treatment. Most treatment facilities have someone there to check, but this is something that you should be aware of as well. Also, make sure that the facility is in your insurance plan. Most insurance cards have telephone numbers on the back to call. If you cannot find it, check with your insurance policy book or human resources department to find out. Even if it is covered, know what your financial responsibility is. Discuss this with the facility prior to going in. A good majority of treatment facilities will discuss the payment options with you.

Do make sure there is structure

Ask to see schedule. Not every moment of the day will be occupied by activities. There should be some structure to the day with groups, individual therapy, and educational components included in your treatment.

Do ask for referrals from others

It could be helpful to solicit opinions from others regarding a potential admittance to an inpatient facility. Ask a primary care physician, a therapist, family and friends about their experiences with treatment centers. If you get some good recommendations for rehab facilities from other people, do some research yourself to make sure they are the right fit for you.


Do not rely solely on geographical location

Convenience is certainly going to be a factor. That is understood. However, basing a decision exclusively on location will limit you. A few extra miles could make a difference between making your recovery a productive and helpful experience or it being a waste of time and money.

Do not be afraid to ask questions

Deciding to go into a inpatient treatment facility is a huge decision. Discuss it with your family prior to meeting with facility personnel. If you come up with a list of questions, it will certainly make the transition easier. Treatment centers understand there is a lot of anxiety getting admitting to a inpatient setting. They should be accommodating in addressing questions that lessen anxiety. If you are not getting your questions answered, talk with someone who will answer them.

Do not focus on only one aspect of treatment

A treatment facility should include a multidisciplinary approach. It should focus on things like exercise, diet, spiritual (not necessarily religious, but could be), emotional, and also social areas. An inpatient facility should include assessing your needs in these areas. This also includes exploring medication. Medication will most likely be used to help with detox. A thorough psychiatric evaluation should be done to determine if there are other issues that need exploring or adjustments made to current medication. Also, ask what type of treatment style they use. Make sure it will be a good fit for you.

Do not assume they will involve family

If your family is involved in your life, they need to be involved in your treatment. This does not mean every aspect of it because some discussions will be kept confidential between you and your therapist or therapy community, but enough to keep them in the loop. This is especially important in discharge planning. Family and/or couples counseling during recovery are not going to focus on issues that are long standing. The focus will be on stabilization and aftercare. Some of the deeper issues should be addressed in therapy at a later time.

Do not wait until the last moment

Most inpatient treatment decisions are usually reached when life situations are at a turning point. Most of the time a crisis presents itself and planning is not possible, but there also may be situations where individuals and families see themselves going in the direction of needing treatment options. If possible, spend some time looking into options prior to having to follow through. Planning ahead will relieve anxiety of the unknown. This will also give you a sense of control over a situation that could appear dire.

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When you make the decision to pursue inpatient treatment, you and your family are facing a crisis and the events in your life, whether mental health or substance abuse related, have reached a critical stage. All parties involved should take action quickly, because people’s lives are at stake and motivation could change. With all that being said, there should be lots of thought and consideration put into making this decision. Although some inpatient treatment programs can be short, careful consideration should be given in deciding which treatment facility to commit to. The choice that you make could have a huge impact on how successful your recovery could be.

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Mark Myers LCSW, CADCLicensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor

Mark Myers received his Master of Social Work Degree from Loyola University. He has been practicing in the helping profession for over 20 years. He is an Illinois Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Certified Alcohol and Other Drug Counselor. ...

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