Addiction Recovery Isn’t Easy. But We Can Make Finding the Best Recovery Centers Easier
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What families should look for – and avoid – in a substance use disorder treatment program for their loved ones.
By Chris Barton, MSW, LCSW, Clinical Design Liaison, Behavioral Health
Helping a loved one find treatment for a substance use disorder can feel overwhelming. But, with the right guidance, it doesn’t need to feel hopeless.
Worried and distressed, families may find it difficult to navigate all the treatment options available. In moments of desperation, they could fall victim to unscrupulous facilities peddling “destination” treatment programs with unproven results.
During these hard times, there are some guidelines that can lead to a more informed decision.
- Individualized treatment. Experts believe that individualized, comprehensive treatment approaches offer the best chance for success. Every patient is different – and substance use disorder is a complex condition – so recovery programs need to be able to adapt to a person’s individual needs. A “one-size-fits-all” approach won’t cut it.
- “Recovery Retreat” watch-outs. While some providers try to sell the idea of “recovery retreats” as a way to escape the day-to-day environment that contributes to substance use, the truth is that better recovery results are linked to peer and clinical supports offered by a treatment provider within a patient’s own community. This assures that patients learn to live their life (i.e., work, school, family, social relationships) while also growing in their recovery.
- In-network coverage. Health insurers approve programs to be in their insurance networks based on their quality and experience. Programs that are out-of-network do not have any quality review from a local plan. Plus, with in-network programs, patients will be able to get a better sense of their out-of-pocket costs. Note that some facilities will accept certain insurance plans but are not necessarily in-network; these out-of-network programs will typically result in higher costs.
- Medication-assisted treatment. Certain medications like methadone, buprenorphine or naltrexone are the gold standard, best practices for treating addiction to opioids. These medications relieve cravings while blocking the pleasurable effects of opioids or alcohol.
- Policies that account for relapse. Recovery is a journey; it can take years for people to reach that place where they no longer depend on alcohol or drugs to help them. Relapse is common in early recovery. Programs that are serious about long-term recovery won’t have “zero tolerance” policies but will continue to offer services that address relapses when they occur.
- Post-discharge support. Patients in recovery need ongoing support. Look for programs that can connect patients to individual therapy, community-based treatment or peer-support programs.
How can families know they’re selecting the best facility for their loved ones? Here are eight top questions to ask any treatment and recovery program. And to learn how to spot an ineffective or unethical program, check out our Recovery Center Red Flags guide.
For additional help in finding the right treatment center, Horizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Jersey has our members covered. For years, Horizon BCBSNJ has been a leading voice in helping New Jersey combat substance use disorder. Contact member services for a list of in-network facilities.
Helping set the standards for substance use treatment
Horizon BCBSNJ is one of 15 health insurers nationwide to adopt eight “National Principles of Care” for the treatment of substance use disorders. These principles, formed by Shatterproof – a national nonprofit organization dedicated to ending the devastation the disease of addiction causes families – include personalized treatment, long-term outpatient care and access to FDA-approved medications.
“These National Principles of Care bring together two very important goals for Horizon: advancing evidence-based diagnosis and treatment models with personalized solutions that are delivered in the communities where our members live, work and play,” said Suzanne Kunis, Vice President, Behavioral Health Solutions.
To find high-quality, in-network substance use and addiction treatment in your own community, visit HorizonBlue.com