Over 19 million adults in the United States have a substance use disorder (SUD). While addiction is prevalent across all socioeconomic statuses, there is evidence that young adults from wealthy families are especially vulnerable to alcohol and marijuana use. Further, older adults in high stress jobs, from business owners to high powered attorneys, are at a high risk of abusing alcohol and drugs and of relapsing after a period of sobriety.

If you or a loved one has dealt with addiction, then you know how difficult it can be to navigate the world of substance abuse treatment. Here are 8 tips to ease the treatment process.

  1. Be wary when selecting a rehab or treatment facility. There are over 14,000 substance use treatment facilities in the United States. However, there are few standards for rehab practices and laws can vary across states, making it difficult to find a quality facility that provides evidence-based treatments. Looking for a rehab that is accredited by the Joint Commission or the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities can increase the likelihood that a facility is held to good standards.
  2. Find a doctor who is board certified in addiction medicine. Established as a board certification in 2016, doctors certified in addiction medicine have the skills and knowledge base to recognize and treat addiction.
  3. No single treatment is right for everyone. While the traditional 12 step program is successful for some, others may benefit from behavioral counseling and/or medication-based treatments such as Naltrexone and Suboxone.
  4. Find treatments or facilities that work for your budget. A large portion of the rehab market is composed of centers that do not accept health insurance and can cost upwards of $50,000 per month. Facilities that accept insurance also exist, but they can be more difficult to find.
  5. Address accompanying mental health issues. Many treatments focus solely on substance abuse and fail to acknowledge the inseparable issues of mental health. For individuals with SUDs and mental health concerns, find a facility that addresses dual diagnoses.
  6. Support the family. Having a family member with an SUD can be extremely anxiety-inducing for the family. Consider finding a third party who can help determine treatment plans and relieve the enormous burden placed on families dealing with addiction.
  7. Ensure continuity of care. Often, there are gaps in care as individuals move from one facility or treatment center to another, which can result in medical errors. Request that a friend, family member or health advisor is present during transitions of care to ensure important health information is not lost in translation.
  8. Don’t neglect physical health concerns. Individuals with SUDs often have other physical health problems, but these get neglected because of the pressing nature of substance abuse. Make sure doctors are aware of any substance use so they can integrate care into an overall health plan.

Better Health Advisors has had great success helping individuals with substance use disorders. John Samuels, founder and CEO, ran a substance abuse program for 5 years and served on a non-profit board supporting organizations in combating substance abuse. Additionally, senior advisor Beverly Shenkman worked clinically for 30 years with individuals with substance use disorders.

If you or a loved one needs help locating a doctor that is board certified in addiction medicine, or has questions about next steps for addiction treatment, contact Better Health Advisors.