When deciding where to go for inpatient rehab, there are a lot of factors to consider before committing to a stay. But perhaps some of the most important details to assess are the credentials of the facility’s employees. It goes without saying, not all rehabs are created equal and there are various levels of offerings when it comes to amenities, treatment modalities and the real heartbeat of the organization—the staff. It’s crucial to consider not only the licensing and credentials of the doctors, clinicians, specialists and technicians but also the ratio of staff members to clientele. These determinants are significant in terms of whether or not formalized treatment will truly be effective for someone. While caring, qualified Master’s and PhD level therapists are critical components of a well-rounded rehab staff; medical doctors are perhaps one of the most integral parts of setting the foundation for success in treatment.
Why Doctors Are Crucial
Substance use disorders that have escalated to full on chemical dependency usually require a medical detox before the person can even start thinking about treating the behavioral and emotional facets of his or her addiction. Therefore it is usually advised that someone in this condition seek treatment that entails the supervision of an on-site physician well versed in the process of detox from specific types of drugs and alcohol. Not all rehabs employ doctors and narrowing one’s treatment options down with the goal to find one that does is never a bad idea.
Beyond just facilitating the process of detoxing from drugs or alcohol, doctors can be a key element to addressing and treating the client’s mental health. The care of an on-site psychiatrist is essential for someone with a dual diagnosis such as addiction coupled with bi-polar disorder or clinical depression. Oftentimes, primarily 12-step oriented outpatient rehabs simply aren’t equipped to carry out detox and/or treat co-occurring disorders. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the best course of action for treating someone with a dual diagnosis is supervised medical detox then inpatient rehabilitation, where he or she can receive therapy and medication management, the latter of which much be overseen by a doctor.
High-end residential facilities like Recovery Malibu do offer the full continuum of care for treating a person’s physical, mental and emotional health in the early days of drug or alcohol cessation. In fact, medically supervised detox in a comfortable, luxurious and safe setting is guaranteed.
The Doctor’s Role
In inpatient rehabs, doctors are not necessarily living on-site at the residence. Depending on the resident’s phase of care, the doctors’ hours at the facility vary. During the initial stages of detox, the client can expect routine visits from the physician, perhaps several times a day. And when the doctor is not present, there is a 24-hour nursing staff keeping a close eye on clients, and notifying the doctor immediately if any symptoms change. Physicians employed by residential treatment facilities are expected to be on call around the clock, especially when clients are undergoing detox. So while the doctor is not technically present all the time, he or she is definitely available all the time. At first the client can expect to see the doctor at least once a day but the check-ups may taper down to a few times per week the longer someone is in treatment.
Once the client is stabilized physically, it is still advantageous to have recurring check-ups with the rehab’s physician to monitor progress and overall health. That’s why it’s really beneficial for a rehab to have a doctor affiliated with it, especially one that is experienced in addiction medicine and wholly familiar with the process of quitting drugs and alcohol, from a medical standpoint. Just as someone would not attempt to treat diabetes or cancer without the guidance of a doctor, a person struggling with substance abuse and physical addiction to drugs and alcohol must take full precautions in treating their condition as a serious medical issue that warrants the best and most advanced care possible.