How to Choose the Right Rehab

Choosing the best rehab isn't always easy. There are several factors you should take into account before committing to treatment at a rehab facility.

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Once you’ve decided to seek treatment for substance misuse, you’ll need to choose a rehab facility at which to receive treatment. Due to the highly specialized nature of addiction treatment, there are several factors that may affect where you choose to go to rehab. Some may want a more intensive treatment track with various types of specialty programs, while others may be more concerned with the cost. Whatever you may choose, it is important to understand all of the options available to you when choosing a rehab facility.

How Do I Choose the Right Rehab?

Once you have decided to pursue treatment, your next step will be to decide what options for rehab best suit your needs. The National Institute on Drug Abuse’s best practices for addiction treatment recommends that treatment should be specialized to the person and address multiple needs, including their physical, psychological, legal, and occupational functioning.1 For example, if your addiction has caused strain on your spouse or family, you may benefit from a rehab center that offers family counseling. Behavioral therapies are one of the most commonly used treatment modalities in rehab centers, and determining what format will work best for you—individual, group, couples, or family—can help you to narrow down your options.1

Decide Your Rehab Goals and Needs

Before choosing a rehab facility, you should seek to understand your medical needs. Addiction is considered a chronic, relapsing medical condition, and just like other health disorders, can be managed with routine medical care and guidance.2 If you have a primary care doctor, you may want to schedule an office visit to discuss your substance use. Your healthcare provider can help you to consider your current medical and psychological symptoms as well as any other chronic health problems you may have.

Physicians use a concept called levels of care, created by the American Society of Addiction Medicine, to help determine what setting their patients need for addiction treatment based on the severity of their symptoms.3 Levels of care cover multiple dimensions of functioning, including withdrawal potential, biomedical complications, and relapse risk, to recommend a treatment setting, ranging from least to most restrictive.3

In addition to seeking a doctor’s treatment recommendations, you may also have your own personal goals for entering recovery. For example, you may want to live at home during treatment and prefer an outpatient program for this reason. You may need to find a new job, repair your financial health, or want a supportive living environment after you leave rehab. You can discuss your goals with your treatment providers and your support system to make sure that they are addressed when you choose between different types of rehab.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Rehab Center

Now that you have identified your needs, goals, and preferences, you can start to narrow down your rehab center options. Remember that your treatment plan is likely to change over time as you progress in recovery. What is most important is to remain in treatment for the duration of your program—research supports that this is one of the best predictors of success in recovery.1

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Rehab

There are two main treatment settings; inpatient and outpatient. Which setting you attend will depend on the severity of your condition. Inpatient rehab programs are held either in a hospital, clinic, or other medical setting and are supervised by medical staff.1 They are considered a higher level of care in that inpatient settings are more restrictive, with participants residing in their facility 24/7 during treatment.3 Inpatient programs range from 3 to 6 weeks in hospital settings to a more intensive long-term residential program, lasting up to 6 to 12 months.1

In contrast, outpatient rehab programs are less restrictive, allowing participants to go home between treatment sessions, making them a more suitable option for people with jobs, families, or outside commitments.1, para 3, pg. 27 Outpatient treatment is a lower level of care and can vary significantly in its duration and format. An intensive outpatient program (IOP) is typically delivered in a group format and can meet several times per week for several hours at a time.1 Other outpatient programs may meet weekly, have longer or shorter sessions, or be delivered in individual counseling sessions.1

Specialty Treatment Programs and Therapies

There are also various specialty treatment programs that may be a good fit for you. A common specialty program is dual diagnosis treatment, which addresses both substance use and co-occurring mental health symptoms in one program.4 In the past, substance use was treated separately from mental health symptoms, but research has shown that addressing both issues together is more effective.5

Other specialty treatment programs may be based on the population their facility serves, such as:

  • LGBTQ+ groups: The LGBTQ+ community has been shown to experience substance abuse at higher rates than the general population.6 In response, specialized treatment programs for members of the LGBTQ+ community have been created to provide affirmative, culturally responsive care.
  • Men’s programs: Some rehab centers, especially residential or inpatient facilities, may offer single-gender programs. Men’s programs are designed to address the social, cultural, and other factors that influence men to use substances.7
  • Women’s programs: Similarly, single-gender women’s rehab programs are tailored to the needs of women in recovery to address the various barriers that may hinder their ability to get sober.8
  • Veterans rehab programs: Former armed service members can access treatment resources through their local Veterans Administration, including medical care, dual diagnosis treatment, and peer support from other veterans.9
  • First responders programs: Firefighters, police officers, medical professionals, and mental health providers are at increased risk of developing co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders.10 Because addiction can be so stigmatized in these helping professions, specialized treatment programs exist to help connect first responders with the care they need.


Many residential rehab facilities, especially those that are privately run, offer a variety of amenities to their participants. This can include additional wellness services such as access to a gym or fitness classes, yoga, nutritional counseling, or a pool. A private or “luxury” rehab center can also provide participants with private rooms that include, depending on their location, beautiful views of nature.


The location of a rehab facility can be a major influence on your decision to attend. For some, remaining near your home may be ideal, whether for comfort or out of practicality, such as to be near family or support system. In this situation, an outpatient program in your geographic area might be a good place to start.1 For others, being in a residential center away from people, places, and things that can remind you of using drugs and alcohol is a helpful fresh start.1

Length of Treatment

Length of stay is also an important factor when choosing an addiction treatment plan. Typically, rehab is structured in either 30-day, 60-day, or 90-day formats, and these lengths can vary based on your needs and progress in treatment. Research has shown that for most people, a total duration of treatment that is less than 90 days is less effective, and for this reason, many programs encourage you to stay in aftercare or ongoing counseling after completion.1


Undeniably, cost is a factor for most people making decisions about which rehab to attend. Your out-of-pocket costs can vary a lot based on what rehab you choose, your own insurance coverage, how long you stay in treatment, and more. Some common ways of paying for addiction treatment may include:

  • Private or public insurance.
  • Private pay.
  • VA or other veterans insurance.
  • Loans or scholarships.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires all insurance plans to cover addiction and mental health treatment services at least partially.11 This means that if you have insurance coverage, at least part of your stay in rehab will be covered. Depending on what plan you have—private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, marketplace plans, VA benefits—treatment services will be covered at a different rate. It is important to check your insurance benefits with your provider to find a treatment option that will work for your plan.

How to Find a Rehab Center Near Me

Once you have a sense of your treatment needs, your preferences, and how you will manage the cost of treatment, you can start to look for rehab facilities. It is strongly recommended that you meet with a doctor or another medical professional in this process—especially because you may need a referral to enter certain types of treatment, such as detoxification to manage withdrawal symptoms.

To find a treatment center in your area, you can visit SAMHSA’s treatment locator. You can also call the American Addiction Centers (AAC) helpline. It’s a 24/7 detox and rehab hotline and is available at by call or by text message.