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Choosing an Inpatient Addiction Treatment Centre

two women talking to each other

The process of choosing an alcohol or drug rehab center for yourself or a loved one can be overwhelming. Addiction is incredibly complex, and for some, the opportunity to participate in inpatient treatment is rare. A program which suits the unique needs of the individual is critical to their recovery journey.

This article includes a few considerations when evaluating treatment centers, and a checklist of questions you should ask when you call and talk to someone at a drug and alcohol treatment center is included at the end to help you make an informed decision that is right for your situation.

Accreditation: Treatment Centre and Staff

The best inpatient drug rehab centers are licensed and accredited, as are their staff. Access to a multidisciplinary team that works under provincial standards is necessary for providing comprehensive care.

To ensure access to effective treatment programming, look for the following team structure within the rehab centre you are evaluating:

  • Counsellors and therapists with masters’ degrees or at least a decade of experience working with patients with addictions
  • Medical doctors with specializations in addiction medicine
  • Nurses
  • Psychiatrists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Nutrition informed doctors and nurses
  • Certified fitness and yoga instructors

Canadian inpatient drug rehab centres should also maintain a provincial license, which is required for all residential care facilities. EHN Sandstone is proudly licensed as a Residential Addictions Treatment Service Provider under the Mental Health Protection Services Act.

Detox and Addiction Treatment Programs

An accomplished drug or alcohol treatment program should provide timely, comprehensive, individualized, evidence-based care. It should address and consider the full range of human needs, including medical, psychological, social, physical, nutritional, and spiritual needs. Then the program is further customized to the needs of the individual. To accomplish this, the patient should undergo a thorough psychological and medical assessment upon admission to evaluate and understand their unique needs.

A typical day of programming will use evidence-based treatment with an established track record of helping people achieve successful long-term recovery, delivered through a full range of therapy formats such as individual counselling, group therapy, self-help groups such as 12 Step and SMART recovery, or expressive arts therapy.

Evidence-based treatment types:
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
Motivational interviewing (MI)
Accelerated resolution therapy (ART)
Prolonged exposure therapy (PET)
Cognitive processing therapy (CPT)

Medical detox and medication assisted treatment

Detoxification (or detox) is the process through which a person with addiction stops using drugs or alcohol. Detox should always be done with medical supervision, because withdrawal symptoms that occur when someone stops using drugs or alcohol can not only be intensely uncomfortable, but may also be life threatening if not managed properly. The best inpatient drug rehab centres use medication assisted treatment (MAT) to minimize patients’ withdrawal symptoms and help them detox as safely, comfortably, and quickly as possible.

Specialized Rehabilitation Programming

If a concurrent mental health disorder, such as depression, anxiety, or trauma exists, the best inpatient drug rehab center will offer integrated programs that treat drug or alcohol addiction together with concurrent mental health disorders, then customize to the unique needs of the individual.

Length of drug and alcohol treatment programs

Longer treatment programs tend to produce better results for patients with addiction compared to shorter programs. However, if you need a shorter program due to your particular life situation (e.g. family or work demands) then the best inpatient drug rehab center for you may be one that offers a flexible length of stay.

Aftercare Programs and Post-Treatment Recovery Support

Participation in aftercare is essential for successful long-term recovery after completing a residential drug or alcohol treatment program. The best inpatient drug rehab centers know this and they continue to support their patients after they complete treatment. If you don’t live near the treatment center, ensure that they provide online aftercare options. The treatment center should also help you find additional continuing care options in your own community if you don’t live nearby.

Questions to Ask About an Inpatient Drug Rehab Center

(1) What accreditations and licenses do they have?

(2) What are the credentials and experience of their counsellors and therapists?

(3) Where are they located? What are the surroundings like?

(4) Are they affiliated with any established healthcare institutions?

(5) How quickly can you get admitted? Do they have a wait list?

(6) Do they do detailed assessments of new patients and create individualized treatment programs?

(7) Which evidence-based therapies do they use in their drug and alcohol treatment programs?

(8) Which types of therapy and support are incorporated in their drug and alcohol treatment programs?

(9) How long is the treatment program that they’re suggesting for you?

(10) If you need detox—do they offer medically supervised detox with medication assisted treatment?

(11) What relapse-prevention skills do they teach during treatment and how do they help with recovery planning?

(12) What nutrition education, and physical education and training do they provide in their drug and alcohol treatment programs?

(13) What self-care and life skills do they teach in their treatment programs?

(14) Do they teach meditation, mindfulness skills, and yoga?

(15) Do they have family programs? Would they arrange counselling sessions for a patient and their family, while the patient is in treatment, if needed?

(16) What are their rules regarding visitors and contacting people outside the treatment centre while you’re in treatment?

(17) Are their drug and alcohol treatment programs abstinence based or harm reduction?

(18) What is the availability of counsellors for patients? What is the availability of medical care for patients? 24/7 or less?

(19) What amenities are available for patients in residential programs?

(20) What are your rights as a patient in one of their residential drug or alcohol treatment programs?

(21) What happens if you relapse during treatment?

(22) What aftercare is included with their residential treatment programs? How do they connect you with other continuing care options after you complete treatment?

(23) What is the cost of their residential drug and alcohol treatment programs? Are all the services included or are there any extras?

(24) Can they help you figure out if your insurance or employee benefits will cover all or some of the cost of treatment?

(25) How long have they been providing residential drug and alcohol treatment?

Sandstone: Calgary Addictions Treatment Centre

At Sandstone, we offer customized addiction treatment programs strategically designed to address the unique needs of each patient. Our full continuum of care and unparalleled clinical expertise reduces the probability of relapse.

If you’d like to learn more about the addiction and mental health treatment programs provided at our Sandstone facility, enrol yourself in one of our programs, or refer someone else, please call us at the number below.


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