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How Do I Choose Between Different Rehabs?

Two things are true: There are simply not enough rehabs to help everyone who struggles with addiction. We need more. But there are enough of them to require you to choose.

The treatment of drug and alcohol addiction is, in fact, a rapidly growing “industry.” It seems crass to frame it that way, but it is true. (More on this, if you are interested.)

Among the more interesting reasons for the growing number of rehabs is expanded coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA” or, unfortunately, “Obamacare.”) More people have health insurance than ever before because it’s easier to get. And the persons who need treatment for substance-use disorder are often the persons who could not otherwise get health insurance until the ACA.

The opioid epidemic has also made the need for treatment more urgent. Sadly, the overdose death of a long-term heroin addict in her 50s has always been an acceptable casualty. But when honor-roll kids in high school die, people notice.

As a result, there are more options for drug and alcohol treatment than ever before. No treatment center is perfect or has all the answers, but it is worth considering some things before you choose which one is right for you or a loved one.


For good or ill, the availability of insurance coverage is the primary driver for both what treatment services are available and what services one can afford. For this reason, it is also the most important factor to consider when choosing between rehabs. Some treatment centers do not take insurance at all, some treatment centers only accept certain insurance companies, and some treatment centers are funded through the government.

Before going any further, it is worth saying that your options for drug and alcohol treatment expand dramatically if you are covered under a good, private insurance option. If you do not have health insurance, it is easier and cheaper to get than you may think. The Arkansas marketplace is a good place to start. You can click here or, if you want an easier experience, contact an agent directly here who can walk you through the process.

When you first contact a treatment center, someone will probably ask you whether you have health insurance and for specific information about your coverage. It is helpful to have that information available.


There are drug and alcohol treatment centers scattered throughout the United States in virtually any context you can imagine. There are beach rehabs and forest rehabs; rehabs in the city and in the rehabs in the country. Unless you are not close to anything, you are probably pretty close to a rehab.

There are good reasons for choosing a rehab that is close to home—beyond the mere convenience. The more hurdles and steps there are between a person and treatment, the more opportunities there are to decide not to go. The difference between a person making the decision to enter rehab and a person actually entering rehab is all the difference in the world.

Another advantage of choosing a treatment center close to home is the ability to become plugged into your local recovery community. Treatment centers are often staffed by persons active in the local recovery community. Also, the persons who “bring a meeting” into the treatment center are likewise involved in the local recovery community. Upon leaving treatment, it is incredibly helpful to know you can attend meetings with familiar faces. The rehab staff will also have a good working knowledge about local meetings, which is more inviting than simply looking for meetings online.

On the other hand, a geographic change may allow someone to do the early work of sobriety away from convenient temptations. Addiction can be closely tied to “people, places, and things,” so replacing those, especially early on, is important.

Specialty programs

With the proliferation of treatment centers has come an accompanying variety of approaches to

treatment itself. Some rehabs strictly adhere to a 12-Step approach, while others may offer that as one of but many options, e.g., SMART Recovery or Dharma Recovery. Many treatment centers are able to treat co-occurring disorders, which simply means they are able to address both mental-health issues and substance-use issues.

Some treatment centers may also have programs geared toward certain types of people or occupations, including medical professionals, legal professionals, or business professionals. While there is not a special way for different people to get sober, it is true that learning recovery principles surrounded by people with shared concerns and backgrounds may eliminate some of the usual barriers to early sobriety.

Finally, some rehabs may place a particular emphasis on things like nutrition and yoga. When a person already trusts that these practices have value, an environment where these things are incorporated into sobriety can similarly eliminate objections.

After care

Whatever pathway that a person takes to get sober, it is widely acknowledged that staying sober requires a long-term commitment. Typical residential programs last approximately thirty days, and that is simply not enough time to solidify the new habits and thought patterns to stay sober. Also, staying sober in an environment surrounded by people whose job it is to help you, without access to drugs and alcohol, is not representative of the struggles and challenges present under normal life circumstances.

The first and most obvious line of defense is the option for outpatient services. In certain circumstances, a person may not need or may not be able to enter a residential facility for treatment. Either for those persons or persons who have just completed residential treatment, an outpatient program is vital.

Outpatient programs can be as varied as residential programs, whether in length or time or focus. But they typically begin with a person attending classes or groups several hours a day, like a normal work day, and leaving for off-site housing. Over time, the person’s level of care may be reduced to half-days and fewer days per week.

Outpatient programs allow a person to put recovery principles into practice in the “real world” while maintaining structure and accountability. For many people, this exposure to life outside residential treatment without simply being cut loose is an opportunity to discover how life in recovery practically works.

Another helpful means of accountability is recovery (or “chem-free”) housing. Some treatment centers are better able to help you make a seamless transition into recovery housing. Living in a chem-free generally requires a person to pass random drug screens and attend meetings. Perhaps the most important benefit of living in a chem-free during early sobriety is living among people who are also going through the inevitable issues that appear in early sobriety. Recovery housing can often make a difference for people because the environment supports the new changes they’ve been encouraged to make.

If you are considering treatment for alcohol or drugs, please reach out to us. It may be that Natural State Recovery Centers is the right fit for you; if not, we can help walk you through that decision and connect you with the resources you need to make the best decision for your own journey.


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