How to Find a Chemical Dependency Treatment Program

How to Find a Chemical Dependency Treatment Program

Chemical dependency, also known as alcoholism and/or drug addiction, occurs when you seek relief from your physical, emotional or psychological distress by repeatedly abusing toxic substances that alter your brain chemistry. The toxins (drugs and/or alcohol) may temporarily alleviate your pain, but eventually it will turn because the problems are still there.

A chemical dependency can change the way you think, behave and interact with others. It can cause you to distance yourself from family, steal from friends, miss work, neglect your children and physically and emotionally abuse your spouse or significant other. In some cases, a chemical dependency can kill you. Thankfully, there are a variety of treatments available that can help you recover from your addiction.

Chemical Dependency Statistics

A recent study found that one out of every four American families reported that they had at one time experienced a loved one with a chemical dependency (drug addiction or alcoholism). The study also found that approximately 33% of people admitted to the hospital were substance abusers or addicts. In addition, approximately 100 million American people are chemically dependent on drugs and/or alcohol or in a relationship with someone dependent on those toxic substances.

Furthermore, approximately 40 million children have at least one parent that is dependent on drugs and/or alcohol. Research suggests that people who become dependent on drugs and/or alcohol are genetically predisposed to chemical dependencies.

Chemical Dependency Treatment Programs

Thankfully a chemical dependency can be diagnosed and successfully treated. The first step in the recovery is to enter a treatment program (outpatient or residential) and begin drug detoxification. Detoxification is not considered a part of the treatment process, but it is the first step towards becoming sober and regaining your life. Once the toxins (drugs and/or alcohol) are removed from your body, you are ready to officially enter treatment.

Many chemical dependency treatments follow the 12-Step Recovery principles and offer individualized physical, psychological, spiritual and social care. The purpose of chemical dependency program is to help you achieve long-term sobriety and regain your life. While you are in treatment you are assigned to an interdisciplinary team (registered nurses, psychiatrists, physicians, psychologists, therapists, counselors, etc.).

During treatment you help set your short-term and long-term goals and you play an integral part in your own recovery process. Your treatment plan may include: individual counseling, couples counseling, group therapy, support groups, homework assignments, 12-Step Recovery counseling, spiritual counseling, educational lectures, exercise, social activities and relapse prevention.

Family counseling will also play a significant role in the treatment process. It is important to remember that a chemical dependency is not considered solely an individual problem; rather it is a family problem. For treatment to be successful all the affected family members should attend counseling with their chemically dependent loved one.

Choosing a Chemical Dependency Treatment Program

Choosing the right treatment program can be both challenging and intimidating, but it is also the most important decision you will make in your life. With so many treatment programs available it is important that you have some idea how to start the process or where to look for a quality program that fits your personality and offers what you need to achieve and maintain sobriety.

Some of the questions that you may want to ask when you contact various treatment programs are:

  • What types of addictions do you treat?
  • How much does the program usually cost?
  • Who will be treating me?
  • Will my insurance cover the costs of the program?
  • How long is the treatment program?
  • What are your sobriety success rates?
  • Are there support groups or aftercare programs available following treatment?
  • Can I visit your treatment center?


Find the best chemical dependency treatment center with the following steps:

1. Research different chemical dependency (drug and alcohol) treatment centers (outpatient, short-term residential and long-term residential). It is important that the treatment center you choose meets your individual needs and fit your personality. Treatment will not be successful if you do not feel comfortable at the center.

2. Contact a mental health professional. Schedule a consultation with a mental health professional (social worker, psychologist, counselor or psychotherapist).  A mental health professional will be able to explain to you what you can expect when you enter treatment.

3. He/she will also be able to offer you some clarity on why you feel and behave the way you do. Furthermore, your counselor may be able to offer you some suggestions of quality treatment programs in your area.

4. Find out the cost of the program and how much your insurance will pay. The price of the treatment program is very important. Treatment program costs vary based on what they offer so you will also need to know how much your insurance will pay.

The cost along with your health benefits will determine what program you will be able to afford. In addition, you will need to ask the intake counselor what services are included in the price of the treatment program and what hidden fees may be added once you enter the program.

5. Find out if the treatment program offers medical care. If you have a medical condition or a health problem, you will need a treatment program that offers on-site medical care along with psychological care. This is especially true if you enter a short-term or long-term residential treatment program.

Most treatment programs that offer on-site medical care have rotating registered nurses and physicians that are available 24 hours a day. These medical professionals monitor your drug withdrawal and in some cases prescribe medications to take the edge off the detoxification process. They may also treat you for minor illnesses, chronic illness or minor injuries sustained while in treatment.

6. Make sure the treatment programs offers family counseling. It is important that the treatment program include family counseling into the recovery process. A loved one’s chemical dependency not only affects the individual, it affects the entire family. For treatment to successful the whole family must be a part of counseling.

7. Ask if the program offers support groups or aftercare programs following treatment. It is important to remember that you will never be fully cured of the dependency so it is important to choose a program that offers support once treatment is over. A support group of aftercare program will monitor your recovery and offer you guidance; support and encouragement if you feel overwhelmed and tempted to use drugs and/or alcohol again.

8. Ask questions. Once you have picked two or three treatment centers that you are interested in ask questions such as: What is a typical day like at the center? What is your treatment approach? What type of counseling will I receive? What is your treatment philosophy? It is important you learn everything you can about the treatment center before you make your final choice.

9. Make your choice. Schedule your arrival at the treatment center and commit to the program.


McNeece, C. A. & DiNitto, D. (2011) Chemical dependency: A systems approach (4th ed.). New York, NY: Pearson

Perkinson, R. (2011). Chemical dependency counseling: A practical guide (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.


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