How to Choose a Ontario Drug Rehab Center
Every year, more than 25 million Americans need help for a drug or alcohol problem, but only about 10% will seek the help they so desperately need and deserve. If you have an addiction, know that you’re not alone. It’s not your fault, and not something you chose. But you can control what you do about your addiction, and drug rehab treatment is vital for your recovery journey.
Not all drug rehabs are the same, though, and not all treatment is of equal caliber. If you need to explore the services of drug rehab centers in Ontario, here’s what you need to know.
What Is Drug Rehab, and What Happens There?
Drug rehab is an umbrella term that refers to a host of different drug rehab treatment programs. In the popular imagination, rehab refers to a very specific kind of treatment: inpatient drug rehab. Inpatient care remains the gold standard in addiction treatment for at least three reasons.
First, inpatient care removes you from the environment in which you used drugs, reducing temptation and potentially eliminating many of your triggers for use. Second, inpatient care offers you a sober living environment that can reduce your temptation to use. And finally, inpatient care merges an array of effective treatment options under one roof.
If you opt to pursue treatment outside of inpatient care, you can pick from the most effective treatments, or blend several. The most effective, scientifically proven treatments for addiction include:
- Therapy: Cognitive-behavioral therapy and trauma-informed counseling have proven especially helpful in scientific studies, so consider choosing a therapist with experience treating addiction who specializes in these treatment modalities.
- Group treatment: Group treatment may include group therapy, as well as informal support groups. In rehab, you get the added benefit of access to other addicts whenever you need someone to talk and many folks in recovery find that having other addicts to lean on offers much help as they navigate the recovery process.
- Medical care: You may need the help of a doctor to safely navigate detox. And if you have any underlying medical conditions, a doctor can help you assess how best to treat them—in addition to helping you understand how these conditions interact with your addiction. If you take prescription drugs, your doctor can help you determine which drugs are safe, and which are likely to ignite your addiction.
- 12-step programs: 12-step programs such as Narcotics Anonymous help you work through 12 steps, steadily moving toward sobriety. These programs remain the most popular recovery programs in the world.
- Lifestyle skills building: Addiction affects every area of your life, so if you want to recover, you’ll need to begin piecing your life back together. Education on healthy living, assistance getting an education, and instituting a healthier lifestyle can all make recovery easier. Additionally, lifestyle changes can offer you a distraction from your cravings, as well as help you develop a newer, healthier “addiction” with which to replace your old habit.
Inpatient or Outpatient?
Outpatient care runs the gamut from weekly therapy to more intensive programs, such as partial hospitalization or intensive outpatient care. The latter option provides most of the benefits of rehab, but you’ll return home at the end of each day.
There’s no right or wrong answer, but inpatient care is generally best for addicts with a long and challenging addiction history. You should consider choosing inpatient care if:
- You do not have supportive friends or family.
- You spend a significant portion of your time with other addicts or are regularly exposed to drugs, alcohol, or peer pressure.
- You have a mental or physical health condition.
- You take prescription drugs that are potentially addictive.
- You are addicted to multiple substances.
- You have a previous history of relapse.
- You are in serious legal trouble; in some courts, attending rehab may get you a lighter sentence.
- You feel hopeless about your ability to get sober.
- You live with someone who abuses you.
- You live within or feel trapped by a dysfunctional home or family environment.
- Your living situation is a source of ongoing stress.
Inpatient care isn’t for everyone, though. Career and family obligations can make it impossible, and while everyone needs treatment, not everyone needs inpatient care to get sober. You may be able to recover with the assistance of an outpatient program if:
- You have a strong support network.
- You don’t spend much time around other addicts.
- You’ve been addicted for a relatively short period of time.
- You are fully dedicated to sobriety, and confident you can get clean.
- You’re good at self-direction and are willing to work hard and spend lots of time researching the most effective treatment care.
- You’re willing to work on your recovery in between treatment sessions, not just when you meet with your therapist or 12-step group.
- You have no serious medical or psychological conditions.
- There is no history of addiction in your family.
- You are not currently in an abusive or dysfunctional environment.
Principles of Effective Drug Treatment
It’s not enough to simply choose between inpatient and outpatient care, then sign on the dotted line for the first program that you find. Instead, good treatment should follow these scientifically-backed principles:
- No single approach to treatment works for everyone; a program that tells you you must follow a specific protocol or embrace a specific philosophy to get clean is promoting religion or philosophy, not treatment.
- Addiction is a disease, not a personal failing. The disease of addiction is treatable, and with proper management, cravings will eventually subside; don’t believe people who tell you you’ll have cravings forever. While periodic cravings may rear their ugly heads, getting sober doesn’t mean wanting drugs every second of the rest of your life!
- Treatment should be accessible and affordable. A place that obscures its price schedule or that has a long waiting list—or that requires you to meet certain criteria before participant—cares more about its bottom line than treating addicts.
- Treatment should be holistic in nature, addressing the complex needs of addicts, not just getting them sober. This means talking to you about your values, experiences, and the factors that contribute to your addiction.
- Behavioral therapies are highly effective.
- Treatment should be sufficiently long to help you gain the skills you need to defend a lifetime of sobriety; you can’t get sober in a day or week.
- Treatment should be continually assessed and modified based on your needs.
- Treatment should involve your family and loved ones where possible, without neglecting your privacy needs.
- Medication, where appropriate and beneficial, can aid the treatment process.
- Detox is the first stage of recovery, not the sum total of recovery.
- Treatment must address addicts’ mental and physical health needs.
- Relapse is common, and treatment should address issues of relapse.
- Treatment programs should test for, treat, and offer tips on managing common addiction-related diseases, such as TB, HIV/AIDS, and hepatitis. Treatment should never expose addicts to risks from these diseases. Proper medical hygiene and disposal practices are vital for the safety of all addicts in recovery.
Additionally, a good treatment program should respect your values and make you feel welcomed and supported—not ostracized or judged.
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NIH: Drug Addiction Treatment in the United States
NIH: Principles of Effective Drug Addiction Treatment