How to Choose the Right Rehab Program: 5 Essential Tips

Last Updated on August 16, 2023

tips to finding the right addiction treatment center

Once you’ve made the difficult decision to accept help and go to treatment for drug or alcohol abuse, you’re past the first hurdle. But how do you choose the right rehab program? Here are five essential tips on finding the right rehab facility for you.

1. Do Your Research to Choose the Best Drug Rehabilitation Program

Before you can choose the best drug rehabilitation program that suits your unique needs, you must do your research. This holds true whether you are the person seeking treatment or you’re conducting a search on behalf of a loved one, family member or friend. Keep in mind that there are many different treatment choices available to those who want to get sober and begin a life in recovery. However, not all of them will be appropriate for your needs. If you put in the time to do a thorough search, you are much more likely to find a treatment program that will provide you with the best foundation for living a drug and alcohol-free life.

2. Ask Questions to Find the Right Treatment Plan

An important part of research is asking the right questions. While leisure activities and luxury amenities help with ambiance and overall comfort, these qualities shouldn’t be at the top of the list of things to look for. Of course, these are legitimate considerations, but they should be prioritized after other critical treatment areas are addressed. A guide published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) lists five main questions to help guide your search for a treatment program:1

Does the program use treatments backed by scientific evidence?

One of the first considerations in selecting a treatment program that is right for you is to find out if the drug rehab center uses scientifically-backed treatments.2 The NIDA says that these types of treatment methods include behavioral therapy, medications, and ideally a combination of both. As for types of behavioral therapy, there are many, such as:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)3
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)4
  • Motivational Incentives5
  • Motivational Interviewing6
  • Group Therapy7

While some therapies may be more appropriate for those with certain addictions than others, with the right screening, evaluation, and ongoing monitoring of your progress, scientifically-backed behavioral therapies can help you work toward your goal of long-term sobriety.

Does the program tailor treatment to the needs of each client?

More than likely, you want confidence that the treatment program you choose will provide personalized and tailored treatment to meet your needs.8 Certain individual factors may affect the type of treatment approach that is best for you, including:

  • Your age
  • Your gender
  • Your cultural heritage/background and ethnicity
  • The severity of your addiction How long you’ve been addicted
  • Whether this is your first time in treatment or you’ve been in treatment multiple times following relapse
  • Other efforts you’ve used to stop using drugs and/or alcohol

Does the program adapt treatment as the client’s needs change?

Whatever drug rehab or alcohol rehab center you choose, the only way treatment will have a chance of success is if it evolves and adapts9 to meet your changing needs. This means the treatment professionals assess and modify treatment to meet these needs.

Built-in drug monitoring is one aspect of adapting program treatment. Medications are adjusted based on tolerance and effectiveness in treating your addiction. Meeting your needs for certain support services is another way the best treatment programs help adapt to meet your needs.

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Is the duration of the treatment sufficient?

Research from NIDA suggests that effective treatment lasts three months or longer.10 Long-term rehab is necessary to better ensure that you’re able to stop or reduce drug or alcohol abuse. In addition, there’s considerable documented evidence that longer treatment times produce better recovery outcomes.

While there is no one-size-fits-all treatment approach, and how long you remain in treatment will depend on the type and degree of your addiction and your needs, the fact that drug addiction treatment experts recommend longer treatment duration of at least 90 days in a long-term rehab center is a good parameter on which to select the treatment center for you.

Remember that recovery is an ongoing process. Relapse is not only frequent, it is expected. This does not constitute failure, however, as many in recovery experience multiple relapses before they’re fully self-confident and have a firm grasp of effective strategies to maintain their sobriety. Longer stays in alcohol treatment centers and drug rehab centers also provide the opportunity to cultivate and maintain ongoing support with members of your family, other loved ones, 12-step, and self-help groups and the community.

How do 12-step or similar recovery programs fit into drug addiction treatment?

Two statements you’ll often hear about addiction and recovery are that you’re not alone in recovery and you never recover alone. What this means is that those in recovery need the support and encouragement of others like themselves to help maintain their sobriety and adopt other healthy lifestyle goals. They find this in 12-step and other self-help groups, the oldest and most widely recognized of which is Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).11

Where 12-step programs fit within the treatment program is another key question to ask before you enter a drug or alcohol abuse treatment program. Many drug and alcohol treatment facilities strongly encourage participation in 12-step group meetings both during their treatment stay and upon entering recovery. Some drug rehab centers incorporate 12-step principles into their overall treatment philosophy.

3. Consider the Options: Residential or Outpatient Treatment?

If you have adequate insurance coverage to pay for residential treatment12, particularly in a long-term drug rehab center, this may be the best way to go to overcome your addiction. Even if you lack coverage for the full amount of treatment, inquire about financing, sliding-scale payment plan, scholarships, and federal, state or local assistance. Inability to pay should never stand in the way of getting treatment.

For some seeking the best treatment for their addiction, physical residence at a drug rehab center is not the most accommodating choice. They may have work or family obligations that preclude being away from home for an extended stay. Intensive outpatient treatment may prove to be the smart choice here.

4. Decide if You Prefer to Be Close to Home or Far Away

For many individuals considering drug rehab, the final selection process comes down to an alcohol or drug treatment center that’s either close to home or some distance away. Finding a treatment center near you may seem easier, and if you want loved ones and family members to be able to visit and participate in family therapy, a nearby inpatient drug rehab center is likely the way to go.13

Sometimes, however, your personal circumstances are such that you don’t have family or don’t want them to visit for any number of reasons. This could include other members of the family currently addicted and refusing to go into treatment, being estranged from the family, or other negative influences that might jeopardize your treatment. You might also feel that you need a complete, clean break from all home influences to get the most out of your treatment. If these reasons apply to you, you may want to consider an out-of-state rehab center or an alcohol or drug treatment center several hours away from home.

5. Visit the Rehab Center

You wouldn’t buy an expensive item or service without checking it out firsthand ahead of time. One of the most reassuring ways to ensure you’ve chosen the right treatment program is to pay a visit to the facility. There’s nothing like walking the grounds, taking a guided tour through the communal areas of the facility, checking out the lifestyle activities offered, and meeting with some of the staff to get an overall feel about the place. If a physical visit isn’t practical, look for addiction treatment program centers that have virtual tours available on their website.

Finding a drug rehab center can be an overwhelming prospect, especially if you’ve never had to search for professional addiction help before. Our hope is that these tips on finding the right rehab facility make your search much easier! If you’re searching for rehab in Austin, a representative from Nova Recovery Center is also available to answer questions about our programs and help you find the right fit. After rehab, we can also help you locate sober living in Austin if you need it. Call today to get started!


  1. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/seeking-drug-abuse-treatment-know-what-to-ask/introduction
  2. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/seeking-drug-abuse-treatment/1-does-program-use-treatments-backed-by-scientific-evidence
  3. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/evidence-based-approaches-to-drug-addiction-treatment/behavioral
  4. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/evidence-based-approaches-to-drug-addiction-treatment/behavioral-0
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64964/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64223/
  7. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/seeking-drug-abuse-treatment/3-does-program-adapt-treatment-patients-needs-change
  8. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/seeking-drug-abuse-treatment/2-does-program-tailor-treatment-to-needs-each-patient
  9. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/seeking-drug-abuse-treatment/4-duration-treatment-sufficient
  10. http://www.aa.org/
  11. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/evidence-based-approaches-to-drug-addiction-treatment/behavioral-5
  12. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/drug-addiction-treatment-in-united-states/types-treatment-programs

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