14 things to look for
in the best drug rehab in thailand

Addiction is a complex disorder, and the process of finding the best rehab for your particular situation can be overwhelming. The challenge is particularly acute when doing research online, as the only point of reference tends to be the information provided on each rehab centre’s website. Yet there are clear signals to look out for when doing research on rehab destinations. Finding the best rehab in Thailand is all about knowing what kind of services you need, and ensuring that the centre you select takes a clear, professional approach to delivering personal care.

Some rehabs may specialise in addiction treatment, with others focussing on general mental health. Some may invest in luxury amenities, with others emphasising low cost and basic accommodation. Rather than diving into such differences, this article aims to help you identify quality in all its forms – highlighting the common elements that effective rehab centres share, regardless of your own specific needs.


By following the guide below, you’ll be able to conduct your own research from an informed foundation, knowing what to look for as you choose a place to recover from addiction and mental health problems, and improve your wellbeing.

Best rehab in Thailand - what do i look for?

1. evidence-based treatment

Treatment is the core service of every rehab centre, and every facility will invest in putting together a compelling description of why their treatments work. When looking through this material, however, one question should be foremost in your mind: Has this treatment been proven to work?

Respectable independent sources¹ can help you navigate the main claims that rehab centres make about their treatments. We advise you to cross-check the particular types of treatment programmes that each rehab centre offers, together with recommendations from experts. There is now plenty of data on addiction recovery worldwide, and no reason to put your recovery in the hands of an unproven idea.

For this reason, behavioural therapy is at the core of most modern approaches to rehab treatment. Its focus on helping clients reduce stress, identify and redirect harmful thought patterns, and deal with complex emotions has been instrumental in the recovery of countless addicts. Various other forms of psychological treatments have also been shown to be effective, as have approaches such as 12-step programmes and community-based reinforcement.
2. Qualified Staff
Qualification requirements for addiction professionals vary by country – but as a general rule, it is best to choose a rehab centre whose staff has real experience in this field, as well as relevant education at a Bachelor’s degree level or higher. The best rehab in Thailand should also have at least one psychologist on staff, as well as an addiction therapist and a social worker.
Ideally, the rehab centre you choose should have clinical staff who hold a degree or licence from the UK, USA or Australia. Educational institutions in these countries have a greater amount of experience and expertise in training therapists to apply modern, evidence-based methods.
3. Accreditation and Licensure
It is important to ensure that the facility you choose is accredited by the Thai Ministry of Health, and has the appropriate medical licensure to deliver all of the levels of medical care they offer. Any “proper” rehab centre in Thailand needs to have a rehab licence, in order to have official permission to operate a rehab. This licence, however, is not sufficient to let any facility have medication onsite or prescribe it to clients. A medical clinic or hospital licence is therefore needed in addition, so that the centre can prescribe medication.
Some rehabs bend the rules by having offsite medical clinics, even though they actually write their prescriptions onsite. The practice of exploiting these kinds of gray areas may appear at first to be harmless – but it is worth remembering that licensing exists for reasons of safety.
4. Multidisciplinary Treatment Team
Addictions are complex phenomena, and are often best addressed through a combination of approaches. When implemented properly, multiple types of concurrent treatment can have a complementary effect that alleviates symptoms while also dealing with underlying causes.

For this reason, all of the best rehabs in Thailand employ a talented and multidisciplinary treatment team capable of addressing addiction-related issues from a variety of modalities. These rehabs tend to be far more effective when taking a flexible approach to treatment, as they can easily make adjustments based on client needs.

asian medical team standing in hospital lobby.
5. Dual Diagnosis Treatment

For similar reasons, we strongly recommend selecting a rehab facility which is able to treat clients with co-occurring disorders. Addictions are often the symptom of a deeper issue, such as unresolved trauma or mental illness. Dual diagnosis services allow a rehab centre to address the addiction itself, while also healing the root causes which may have prompted the addiction in the first place.

Failure to treat all the elements of a dual diagnosis can leave addicts vulnerable to relapse after their main treatment has concluded. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) estimates that only 34% of adults with co-occurring disorders receive proper treatment for their mental health issues, while just 2% enrol in drug rehab. In all, 12% receive professional help for both disorders.²

6. Post-Treatment Support
When the inpatient treatment programme has run its course, people recovering from addictions are by no means permanently cured of their troubles. Post-treatment support is a key element of the best rehab in Thailand, as it allows clients to continually receive ongoing support even after the treatment has ended. These counsellors can, in turn, guide their former clients through the continuing challenges of everyday life.
This aftercare support should not be underestimated; staying clean within a highly regulated and monitored rehab facility is one thing, but remaining clean amid the pressures and triggers of modern society is another. The availability of follow-up sessions can make all the difference between a successful recovery and an unfortunate relapse.
7. Family Support
The effects of addiction are not limited to the addicted people themselves. Their loved ones must also endure difficult moments, make real adjustments to their behaviour and expectations, and learn how to be supportive even under trying conditions.
Some rehab centres in Thailand provide additional support to the loved ones of their clients. Usually towards the end of the addict’s period of treatment, these rehab centres will hold a family/couples therapy session or workshop, with the partner/friends/family of the client invited to attend. This opportunity allows loved ones to better understand what the addicted person is going through, and how they can be as supportive as possible going forward.
This kind of added service can play an important role in proactively addressing any conflicts that may arise, while also working to improve family dynamics.
8. Detailed Information on the Website
The best rehabs in Thailand have comprehensive websites that include detailed biographies of their key staff members. These descriptions should ideally include their experience, qualifications, and photos. Websites that provide detailed information on assessment, treatment, and long-term support can also be helpful in narrowing down your options.
Websites also serve as a window into the level of professionalism within a rehab centre. If a rehab website looks like it was cobbled together in an afternoon, that type of lackluster approach may have implications for the centre’s level of quality in other areas. By contrast, a well-maintained website which is written and presented with care can indicate a serious investment in quality and long-term service.
Rehabs have also been known to add new services or cancel old ones, without necessarily updating their websites in a timely fashion. Therefore if you are considering attending a particular rehab centre, it may be worth making a phone call to find out whether there are important details missing from their site.
Free photo 109890316 © creativecommonsstockphotos - Dreamstime.com
9. Founders
For any organization, quality tends to be determined by the leadership. It is a good idea to check who founded the treatment centres you are considering contacting. In particular, it is worth reading their backgrounds and stories. Do they have experience in running a rehab? Who created the facility’s treatment programmes?
We recommend choosing a rehab centre whose owners have a wide range of clinical and operational backgrounds that include addiction, hospitality, and business. Such experience can have a significant impact on the quality of your treatment and your overall stay.
10. Success Rate
This key indicator of overall effectiveness may not be as straightforward as it initially appears. Many rehabs use a programme completion rate as a stand-in for their overall success rate. Statistics of this type, however, don’t tell you what happened to addicts after their treatment – they merely indicate how many people go through treatment at the facility, and don’t drop out before their programme is complete.
If a rehab claims to know its real success rate, then you are within your rights to ask to see the evidence. Rehabs that consistently update their records will have this information readily available.
11. Detox Service
Depending on your history of drug or alcohol abuse and how long you’ve been using, you may require a period of detoxification. Detox is a medical necessity for some people and its importance should not be minimized, even though it may not be available at some rehabs. Untreated withdrawal or poor detox management may be dangerous and even fatal.
If you require detox, then you should choose a rehab that offers onsite detox treatment with a qualified detox specialist. As not all rehabs are equipped (or licensed) to offer this treatment, in some cases you may need to go to a hospital or clinic to undergo detox offsite. If detox is recommended for you, it will be far more convenient to make sure that the rehab centre you select can offer safe medical support for this portion of your recovery.
12. Staff-to-Client Ratio
Many rehabs claim to have a high staff-to-client ratio, yet these numbers can be misleading depending on how they are counted. While some rehabs take the honest and transparent approach of comparing apples to apples (total numbers of qualified clinical/medical staff, alongside maximum client occupancy), others are less scrupulous. It is not unheard-of to find rehab centres fudging their numbers by basically counting everyone from gardeners, maids to waitresses as part of their ‘staff’, when computing the staff-to-client ratio at their facility.

A 1:4 ratio of counsellors to clients is recommended, as is a 1:2 ratio of clinical/medical staff (including doctors, nurses, counsellors, and recovery coaches) to clients. These numbers allow you to receive the right level of personal attention during your stay in rehab. Some luxury rehab centres offer even better ratios, letting them offer comprehensive care at all times. We recommend doing the math yourself when researching potential rehab destinations, by taking into account the number of clinical staff they employ, versus the number of beds available.

13. Specialties

Virtually no rehab specializes in treating every single condition that may arise in relation to an addiction. Some focus on providing rehab programmes for alcoholism and drug abuse. Others may specialize in dual diagnosis, or invest more in mental health treatment like depression, anxiety, or trauma. Rehab centres which promise everything to everybody are less likely to be the best choice for the specific services you need, for the simple reason that their resources may be spread out too thinly.

To receive an effective treatment for your particular needs, we recommend choosing a rehab facility whose main focus is similar to the issues that you struggle with – and which has an impressive track record of treating clients in similar situations as yourself.
14. Referral network

A good rehab centre will build strong relationships within its community and even abroad, as it earns a reputation for quality. These traits will sooner or later translate into referrals from your local doctors and clinicians. Before coming to Thailand, it may be worth going to your local GP or outpatient clinic to ask for a rehab recommendation. Positive feedback from medical specialists goes a long way towards demonstrating that a particular facility has a good treatment programme and is trusted by professionals in the field.


The list above may seem like a lot of information to keep track of, it should not feel intimidating. Quite the contrary – the above checklist is a genuine tool of empowerment, to keep you oriented and in control as you sort through the claims and descriptions from the various rehab centres in Thailand (and beyond).
Although it may be time-consuming to research rehab facilities online, there are other ways to stay informed. If you are interested in learning more about rehab options or addiction treatment in general, we invite you to contact us directly. We can help you find the best rehab in Thailand based on your unique situation, personal preferences, and recovery needs. Call us now for a no-cost consultation, or fill out the contact form below.

Brett Thornton
    1. NIDA. 2020, June 1. Behavioral Therapies. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/evidence-based-approaches-to-drug-addiction-treatment/behavioral-therapies
    2. “Important Statistics on Dual Diagnosis.” Dual Diagnosis, https://www.dualdiagnosis.org/dual-diagnosis-treatment/important-statistics/.

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