How to Choose An Aftercare Facility for Addiction

Many parents think, through no fault of their own, that once their loved ones have undergone medical detox and stopped using drugs, they are through the worst of it. Unfortunately, this could not be further from the truth. The next crucial phase of addiction treatment is aftercare, which refers to any kind of care or support that helps an individual maintain their sobriety after they have completed a rehabilitation program.

There are many different types of aftercare programs available, and as a parent, you might be wondering how to choose the best one for your child. Below are some factors to consider when making your decision.

The Type of Treatment your Child Needs

The first step is to evaluate what kind of aftercare program will best suit your child’s needs. Are they in need of intensive outpatient care? Are they able to live at home but need weekly support group meetings? Once you have a good understanding of what your child needs, you will be able to narrow down your search field.

The best way to understand your child’s needs is to talk to them. Have a heart-to-heart conversation after your child completes treatment, and ask them what they want out of their treatment, whether it’s a healthy life or to develop coping skills. Listen to your child, and take notes if possible. The more you know about your child’s wants and needs, the better equipped you will be to find a rehab center that meets those needs.

Mental Health Help

Studies from the National Institute on Drug Abuse show that almost 60% of adolescents in recovery facilities for drug use had a co-occurring mental health disorder. This statistic shows just how important it is to find treatment centers that also offer counseling services and mental health treatment. If your child does not receive help for their underlying mental health issues, they will be more likely to relapse.

Some common co-occurring disorders include:

  • Anxiety disorders

  • Depression

  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

  • Trauma/Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

  • Bipolar Disorder

If your child has any of these issues, it’s important to look for a rehabilitation facility that offers mental health services such as cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, and medication management.

Dual-Diagnosis Treatment Programs

If your child suffers from both a substance abuse disorder and a mental health disorder, they will need to find a rehab facility that specializes in treating dual-diagnosis patients. These types of facilities are equipped to treat the underlying causes of addiction and provide the necessary tools for long-term sobriety. When looking for a dual-diagnosis treatment program, be sure to ask about the following.

Specialized Treatment Consideration

Does the facility specialize in, for instance, PTSD treatment for youth? Or do they offer help for children who have been through the foster system? It’s important to choose a facility that specializes in disorders that your child is struggling with while considering their background. Consider researching facilities that specialize in specific mental illnesses or that offer help for certain groups of children, such as LGBTQ, foster youth, or non-English speaking children. Doing so can help your child by individualizing their treatment.

The Treatment Methods They Use

Ask about the methods the facility uses to treat its patients. Some treatment options your aftercare program should offer to your child with a dual-diagnosis include:

  • Medication-assisted Treatment: This type of treatment uses medication to help alleviate the symptoms of withdrawal and cravings. However, medication can also be used to help control symptoms of mental illness, such as depression or anxiety.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: This is a type of therapy that helps patients identify and change the thoughts and behaviors that contribute to their addiction.

  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy: This type of therapy is similar to CBT but also focuses on teaching patients how to manage their emotions.

  • Group Therapy: This is a type of therapy that allows patients to share their experiences with other people who are struggling with addiction. This can be a great way to provide support and encouragement to each other.

The Length of Treatment

Program length is also an important factor to consider when choosing an aftercare facility. Some facilities offer short-term care, while others provide long-term care. If your child has a severe addiction, they will most likely need long-term care in order to maintain their sobriety.

On the other hand, if your child is struggling with a less severe addiction, they might be able to benefit from short-term care. While every child is different and will need to attend treatment for varying lengths of time, asking ahead of time will help you determine the best option for your child.

Licensed Staff and Facility

When looking for an aftercare facility, be sure to choose one that is licensed and accredited. This will ensure that your child is receiving the best possible care and can find a therapist that is competent and compassionate to help them during their road to recovery.

Studies show that the more a patient relates and connects with their therapist, the better their treatment outcomes. Some ways you can research the staff and licenses of a facility include:

  • Looking up the facility on your state’s licensing board website

  • Checking to see if the facility is accredited by The Joint Commission

  • Researching online for reviews (such as on Google Maps where ratings are out of 5)

  • Asking the facility for references of other parents who have utilized their services

Accredited and compassionate facilities will be more than happy to show you their licenses and provide you with references. Fortunately, you can find licensed rehabilitation facilities in both rural and urban settings.


Many teens find themselves busy with school, work, and extracurricular activities. As a result, it can be difficult to find time to attend treatment. That’s why it’s important to talk to your teen and ask about their schedule and what would work best for them. If your child is struggling to find time to attend treatment, you should ask about the facility’s flexibility. Some facilities offer evening and weekend appointments, which can be helpful for busy teens. In addition, some facilities offer other forms of treatment, such as:

  • Intensive outpatient treatment (IOP) has been found to be just as effective as inpatient treatment at helping people recover from substance abuse, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Best of all, as opposed to inpatient treatment, IOP does not require patients to stay overnight at the facility. This can be helpful for teens that want to stay in the comfort of their own homes at night, yet still need continued therapy and support during their recovery.

  • Regular outpatient treatment is also an option for teens that need continued support but are not struggling with a severe addiction. This type of treatment allows patients to meet with their therapist on a weekly basis or multiple times a week and can be an effective way to maintain sobriety.

  • Sober living is another option for teens that have completed treatment and are working on maintaining their sobriety. Sober living facilities offer a safe and supportive environment for residents and can help them transition back into everyday life. Teens will be required to sleep and live in the home, but can still attend school or work during the day. Often, sober living programs work closely with outpatient programs to provide a comprehensive treatment plan. Not only this, but sober living programs also provide a community of like-minded individuals who can relate with one another and hold each other accountable for their recoveries.

Cost of Treatment

The cost of treatment is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing an aftercare facility. Fortunately, under the Affordable Care Act, substance abuse treatment is considered one of the ten essential health benefits that must be covered by all insurance plans. This means that if your child has health insurance or uses Medicaid, their plan must cover at least a portion of the cost of addiction treatment.

If you’re not sure whether or not your insurance will cover the cost of treatment, you can call your insurance provider or ask your aftercare program about this ahead of time. Other ways you might be able to pay for treatment include:

  • Scholarships

  • Medicaid benefits

  • Private insurance

  • Income-based facilities with sliding-scale based fees

  • Payment plans

  • Personal loans

  • Veteran’s benefits if your teen is the child of a veteran

Continued Support

After your child completes treatment, it’s important to find an aftercare facility that offers continued support. Surveys show that many people refuse to seek treatment because they fear the impact on their psychological well-being, and are also unaware of the long-term effects of substance abuse. It’s best to find a facility that offers long-term care so that your child can receive the support they need throughout their recovery, as well as continued education about addiction.

For instance, not many teens understand that addiction is a chronic disease, and that relapses are common. In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 40-60% of people who receive treatment for addiction will relapse at some point.

This is why it’s so important to find a facility that offers a continued sober support network, even if you or your child feel like you’re in the clear. Without long-term care options, your child is at a greater risk of relapsing, which could lead to a dangerous spiral of addiction. Some great aftercare plan programs can include:

  • Vocational training

  • Educational programs

  • Sponsorships

  • Group therapy

  • Individual therapy

  • Life skills groups

  • Support groups (NA/AA/CA/SA)

These long-term care options can help your child stay on track with their sobriety goals, and prevent them from relapsing.

Experience Long-Lasting Sobriety With Help From New Life House Recovery

At New Life House, we understand that addiction is a chronic disease, and that continued care is essential for long-term sobriety. That’s why our sober living home offers educational classes, family programs, and alumni programs so our patients can continue to lead successful, sober lives. Our community has stood strong for over 35 years and has helped countless people sustain sobriety. Call us today for more information on our aftercare programs and to see how we can help set your teen up for a beautiful, drug-free life.

Last Updated on May 24, 2023


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