How to Find the Right Treatment Environment

By The Fix staff 09/26/18

Knowing what type of treatment will work best for you can make the recovery process easier.

Young man facing therapist.

Getting treatment for substance use disorder is a daunting process. People who are trying to get sober need to overcome their physical dependency in order to live life without mind-altering substances. They also need to do the emotional and therapeutic work to discover why they began abusing drugs or alcohol in the first place.

There are many different types of treatment and varied environments for recovery. From 12-step meetings to wilderness therapy or luxury rehabs, the options for getting sober are as diverse as the people who struggle with substance use disorder. In order to help yourself or your loved one have the best chance at sobriety, it’s important to ask what treatment environment will be the right fit. Here’s what to consider:

What does your ideal program look like?

Before deciding on a treatment center, ask yourself what your ideal recovery program would look like. Some people prefer a sterile and medical environment, while others want recovery programs that focus on spirituality. Many people want a blend of the two, like the approach to treatment taken by Sierra Tucson in Tucson, Arizona, which provides a biopsychosocial-spiritual approach to treatment.

Using this model, clients have access to the latest medical advances around the treatment of addiction. They also receive individual and group therapies and social supports including family involvement in the treatment plan. Combined, these varied approaches offer a pathway to well-rounded recovery.

What therapy do you respond to best?

In order to maintain sobriety long-term, recovering addicts need to address the underlying issue that led to their substance abuse. Some people were self-medicating for mental illness or pain, while others were trying to fill a hole left by attachment issues or trauma. Understanding what issues led to your addiction — and how to cope with them in a healthy way — usually requires therapy.

For therapy to work well, you must be comfortable. Some people are most at ease in a traditional therapeutic setting, talking one-on-one with a counselor. Others find this very unnerving, and benefit from experiential therapies like art, wilderness or equine therapies. Having access to a wide variety of therapies will help you find the fastest and easiest way to begin healing.

Are there co-occurring mental health issues or trauma?

Many people with substance use disorder also have mental illness or a history or trauma. To stay sober for good, it’s critical to address these underlying issues. Mental illness and trauma are both complex conditions that require intricate care, especially when they’re being treated alongside addiction.

People with co-occurring mental illness often need medication to stabilize their disease. Working with qualified medical professionals who have experience treating mental illness and substance abuse is the best way to find a medication regimen that is effective and non-addictive.

At the same time, a trauma history can have just as many side effects as an untreated mental illness. Having access to therapists who are well-versed in treating trauma and PTSD is important for anyone who has trauma in their past.

Taking time to do a bit of reflection before you enter rehab can help you find the best treatment environment, and get you started on the road to recovery.

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