The Admissions Criteria for a Drug Rehab Program

The admissions criteria for drug rehabilitation vary from one facility to another. Each rehab center has its own target clientele and its own philosophy of care, which can help you determine whether the facility is right for you. Some programs are aimed at adolescents or children with substance use or behavioral disorders. Others are gender-specific or restricted to adults ages 18 and over. Some treatment plans are faith-based, while others require only that you be open to the spiritual aspects of recovery. Certain treatment centers emphasize dual diagnosis treatment, while others do not offer specialized care for mental health disorders.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) estimates that 23 million Americans over the age of 11 needed substance abuse treatment in 2010. Out of that population, only 11 percent got treatment at a specialty facility. Specialty facilities include:

  • Hospitals offering inpatient detoxification
  • Drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers
  • Outpatient rehab facilities
  • Treatment centers for mental health disorders

These statistics indicate that many people who need help overcoming addiction aren’t getting the kind of treatment they need to achieve their recovery goals. Meeting the criteria for admission to a specific program may be less important than taking that first step to reach for help.

How Do I Get Started?

The best way to start your search for a rehab center is to get in touch with several facilities in your community to compare their admission guidelines. Most facilities are happy to offer information about their recovery resources and give you details about how to get enrolled in a treatment program that’s right for you. If you don’t feel that your questions are welcomed or that the admissions counselors you speak to are helpful or empathetic, it’s best to look elsewhere for help, even if you meet the admissions criteria.

As part of the pre-admission process, you may be asked some general questions to help the intake team identify the best plan of treatment for you. Many facilities offer more than one treatment program, and some of them even provide individualized plans that are tailored to the needs of the client.

Some of the questions that you might be asked include:
  • How old are you?
  • Are you male or female?
  • Have you been through rehab before?
  • Have you been diagnosed with a mental health disorder?
  • Do you have any other health conditions that might affect your treatment?
  • Do you have any physical limitations that might require accommodation?

Most of these questions aren’t asked in order to exclude you from treatment, but to find out what the best approach to rehab would be.

Do I Need to Hit Bottom to Be Admitted?

Hitting BottomImages of drug rehab in the media might lead you to believe that treatment facilities are reserved for alcoholics or addicts in the final stages of their disease. However, you don’t necessarily have to hit bottom in order to be admitted to rehab. The primary purpose of rehabilitation is to help you build the foundation for a clean and sober life. According to Psychology Today, people who haven’t yet hit rock bottom may be more motivated to overcome their self-destructive behaviors in order to avoid severe consequences.  On the other hand, some people need to reach the late stages of addiction before they’re ready to make a change.

What About Getting Into Detox?

Some facilities offer both drug and alcohol detoxification and rehabilitation services, while others provide only one or the other. If you’ve been using drugs recently or you have a serious physical or mental health condition, medical detox will probably be recommended. If the facility doesn’t have a detox program, you may be referred to another treatment center or hospital to go through medically supervised detoxification. Your recent and past substance abuse will be evaluated as part of the intake process.

Are There Any Restrictions?

Most treatment programs have guidelines that exclude certain applicants. These restrictions may be based on factors such as:

  • A history of aggressive or violent behavior
  • An acute psychiatric disorder that can’t be addressed within the parameters of the program
  • A severe co-existing health condition that may require more intensive monitoring
  • Suicidal ideas or recent attempts at suicide
If you have a psychological disorder or health concerns that require a different approach to treatment, you should be referred to a center that is equipped to handle these issues.

Some restrictions involve your activities or behaviors while you’re going through rehab. For instance, you may be required to agree not to drink or use drugs while you’re in treatment, or to limit cigarette smoking to certain areas of the facility. Pornographic materials and revealing clothing are prohibited at some treatment centers.

What About Paying for Rehab?

The majority of facilities require some form of payment for their services, but facilities vary in the types of payment they will accept.

Among the most common forms of payment are:
  • Private health insurance
  • Government-based medical assistance (Medicare or Medicaid)
  • Self-payment (cash or credit)
  • Sliding scale fees based on income

Payment is a requirement for admission at most facilities. Admissions counselors should be available to discuss your options and help you make arrangements that work for you.

Making That First Call

Making That First CallContacting a drug rehab center is one of the biggest hurdles to recovery for many addicts. It’s natural to feel scared, resentful or angry about getting into treatment. The nature of the disease makes you reluctant to seek help from others, even when you most need it. Picking up the phone may bring you a great sense of relief when you realize that getting into rehab isn’t all that difficult. If you’re ready to make positive changes in your life, you’ll find a facility that meets your needs.

The addiction specialists here at Axis are available through our telephone hotline 24 hours a day. We offer a wide range of services to help our clients through the recovery process.

If you’ve decided that you’re ready for rehab, we’re ready to review our guidelines with you to customize a treatment plan that’s tailor-made for you.

Further Reading