What to Look for
in the Best Rehab Centres

Addiction is a complex disorder, and the process of finding the best rehab centres 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 rehabilitation centre 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.

What are their treatment specialties?

Virtually no rehab specialises in treating every single condition that may arise in relation to an addiction. Some focus on providing rehab programmes for alcohol and drug abuse. Others may specialise in dual diagnosis, or invest more in mental health treatment like depression 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.

How effective is the treatment approach?

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?
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Respectable independent sources 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.

Do they have a 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, the best treatment centres employ a talented and multidisciplinary treatment team capable of addressing addiction-related issues from a variety of modalities. These rehab centres tend to be far more effective when taking a flexible approach to treatment, as they can easily make adjustments based on client needs.

Can they treat co-occurring disorders?

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Research shows that more than 50% of drug and alcohol users also suffer from some form of mental health condition such as depression, anxiety, PTSD or bi-polar disorder. For similar reasons, we strongly recommend selecting a rehab facility which is able to treat clients with co-occurring disorders. Dual diagnosis rehab services allow a centre to address the addiction itself, while also healing the root causes which may have prompted the addiction in the first place.
Addictions are often the symptom of a deeper issue, such as unresolved trauma or mental illness. For example, if you are addicted to opioids, there is a high probability you reached for the drug in order to ease symptoms of a mental illness. Studies also show that the use of opioids regularly can lead to mental health issues. Failure to treat all the elements of a dual diagnosis can leave addicts vulnerable to relapse after their main treatment has concluded.

Do they offer 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 centres, 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.

Do they provide support for loved ones?

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 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.

Are there enough information on the website?

The best rehabilitation centres 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.

Who founded the rehab centres?

For any organisation, 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? How long have they been around?
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.

Do they have the ideal 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.
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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.

Finding the best rehabilitation centre

Although the list of questions 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. We can help you find the best residential treatment centre based on your situation, personal preferences, and recovery needs.
If you require a rehab facility, Thailand is the place for you, browse our rehab options in Thailand for information on what Thailand has to offer in rehabilitation and mental health services.
Author
Cameron Brown
Psychologist
References
  1. Tracy, N. (2019, October 15). Types of Mental Health Facilities, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, March 24 from https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/mental-illness-overview/types-of-mental-health-facilities
  2. Betterhelp. (n.d.). Types of Mental Health Professionals. Mental Health America. https://www.mhanational.org/types-mental-health-professionals.
  3. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Substance Abuse Treatment: Group Therapy. Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); 2005. (Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 41.) 2 Types of Groups Commonly Used in Substance Abuse Treatment. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64214/
  4. Stensland, M., Watson, P. R., & Grazier, K. L. (2012). An examination of costs, charges, and payments for inpatient psychiatric treatment in community hospitals. Psychiatric services (Washington, D.C.), 63(7), 666–671. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ps.201100402
  5. Ascension Seton. (n.d.). Paying for Treatment. Behavioral Health Care. https://www.seton.net/behavioral-health-care/contact/paying-treatment/.
  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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