Seeking Rehab: Researching and Speaking to a Counselor

Seeking Rehab: Researching and Speaking to a Counselor

Knowing what to look for and ask can help people who are researching addiction centers and counselors

In 2011, the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) published a comprehensive definition of addiction forged over four years by more than 80 experts. The clinical consensus was that addiction is a neurobiological disease rooted in genetics and environment that negatively affects brain areas such as the frontal cortex, white matter connections, nucleus accumbens, basal forebrain and amygdala. When an addiction takes hold, neurotransmissions change, and neural receptors shrink and desensitize causing the brain to demand higher substance consumption. Addiction is, by all accounts, a serious neurological disorder, and professional rehab offers the best treatments for the most positive recovery outcome possible. Researching and initiating treatment is a process worth pursuing, and the following information provides insight about what to expect.

What to Look for in Rehab Facilities

When researching rehab centers, there are several things to look for, including the following:

  • Check that the facility is fully accredited by a recognized authority
  • Ensure that all the therapists have been licensed by the state
  • Availability of integrated treatment options for co-occurring mental health disorders
  • The use of evidence-based therapies like cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and motivational interviewing
  • Options, if desired, for holistic therapies (e.g., massage, acupuncture) and specific treatment tracks (e.g., female only, faith-centered, etc.)

People who do not think they have mental health issues will still want to ensure that the facilities they are considering provide integrated care. As noted The American Journal of Psychiatry in 2005, 72% of drug addicts have co-occurring mental health disorders, and many might not realize it.

Furthermore, make sure the facility has medically supervised detoxification services. This is especially important if a person is detoxing from a benzodiazepine-class depressant like Xanax. As detailed by The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), individuals who abruptly stop using benzodiazepines run the risk of long-term withdrawal symptoms and potentially fatal seizures.

What to Ask Rehab Counselors

When a potential patient speaks with a counselor, he or she does not need to worry about leading the conversation. The counselor typically knows what questions to ask and information to provide. However, there are several things a person might wish to ask or disclose, including the following:

  • List any symptoms that might suggest co-occurring mental health disorders
  • Disclose any past traumas or abuse
  • Ask about differences in full-time inpatient care and part-time outpatient care
  • Check on timetables and requirements for rehab facility admissions
  • Discuss the process for determining medical necessity if using health insurance

The latter point about medical necessity involves insurance. Aside from discussing the addiction itself, counselors also play a role in getting insurance benefits approved. Many policies, including all plans on the Affordable Care Act exchanges, provide addiction and mental health coverage, but medical necessity must often be determined first. Counselors will assist in the entire process, but it helps to begin the process as early as possible. In some cases, insurers will only approve part-time outpatient care to start.

Regarding insurance, several other key points also apply, including the following:

  • Facilities commonly accept Medicaid, Medicare, federal military insurance and state-financed health insurance
  • The majority of insurance policies, by law, must provide coverage levels for addiction and mental health equal to physical health benefits
  • Many rehab facilities offer financing, financial assistance and reduced rates based on one’s ability to pay
  • The 2013 National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS) found that 62% of facilities have sliding fee scales based on patient finances
  • Insurance companies often approve a limited number of days and extend the period based on findings and progress

Financial and insurance matters can seem intimidating, but treatment centers navigate these waters every day and can provide invaluable assistance.

The Addiction Treatment Process

For inpatient treatment, rehab professionals typically suggest one month as the minimum stay, though they often recommend 90-day stays or longer for patients with co-occurring mental health disorders. Outpatient treatment, which involves intensive therapy sessions on a part-time basis, usually involves a longer minimum engagement before being considered effectual. In either case, therapists customize treatment plans according to the patient’s specific needs, and a wide variety of therapies might be applied, which potentially include the following:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – Action-oriented approach that helps reshape negative thoughts patterns, beliefs and unhealthy mental habits
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) – An adaptation of CBT principles that helps patients balance personal self-acceptance with the need for life changes
  • Motivational interviewing (MI) – A series of open-ended questions guided by reflective listening that guides patients toward finding personal motivations to change
  • Coping skill – The development of skills and strategies that help patients better manage anger and stress, resolve conflicts and neutralize substance-craving triggers

Furthermore, treatment typically begins with supervised detoxification, including gradual dosage reductions for drugs like Xanax that can be dangerous when users abruptly quit. After detox, therapists screen patients for multiple addictions, unresolved trauma, unconscious conflicts, co-occurring mental health disorders and other possible issues that the treatment will need to address.

Find an Addiction Treatment Program

Our admissions coordinators can answer questions, provide information and help you find the ideal treatment program. If you have health insurance, we can even check the policy for rehab benefits. We are available 24 hours a day so please call our toll-free helpline now.

Are you ready to seek treatment?

If you are ready to beat a Xanax addiction and start a new life in recovery then we can help. We have admission counselors standing by 24 hours a day to take your email, live chat request, or phone call to get you in the addiction treatment center that best fits your unique & specific needs.