Looking for addiction treatment for yourself or for a loved one? We highly recommend that you download our free guide, Five Tips for Choosing the Right Rehab. This guide outlines all of the factors that go in to making the right choice when it comes to choosing an addiction treatment facility. Researching addiction treatment centers can be very overwhelming. Check out our list below of the top five signs of a bad addiction treatment center.

1. Bad Reputation

It’s very important to do as much research as possible when looking into addiction treatment for yourself or for a loved one. A great place to start your research is with the SAMHSA treatment locator. When looking into treatment, explore all of your options. If a treatment center has a horrible reputation, it’s best to avoid it. Check out reviews of the treatment center. Typically, most addiction treatment facilities will have a section of their website dedicated to testimonials by happy clients. However, don’t stop there. Keep researching and read every review that you can get your hands on. Just remember to take every comment and review – good or bad – with a grain of salt. Schedule a tour of the facility and go with your gut instinct. If it says run, then don’t look back.

2. Lack of rules

Rules are VERY important, particularly in an addiction treatment setting. The rules should be clearly outlined and explained to the parents and the client prior to the client entering treatment. Most rules are put in place to keep both clients and staff safe. The majority of treatment centers will list prohibited items on their website, so the client knows what he or she can or cannot bring into treatment. Prohibited items typically include electronic devices, expensive items, and clothes/jewelry which depict harmful or pro-substance abuse slogans or logos. Leave the Budweiser ball cap at home.

3. Inadequate Staff

When checking out a treatment facility, make sure they have adequate staff on hand to support the clients. Most treatment centers employ therapists, psychologists, and behavioral health technicians along with other members of support staff. Behavioral health technicians spend a lot of time with the clients and they often act as counselors and confidantes. Many clients will confide in the technicians before they confide in their own therapists. Ask about the staff turnover rate.

4. Dirty Facility

This is another great reason why we always recommend touring the facility prior to the client entering treatment. Walk around the group therapy areas, check out the classroom, see where your loved one will be living while in treatment, and make sure that the facility is clean and tidy. There shouldn’t be trash or junk lying around and all buildings should be kept up to code. A run-down building doesn’t always mean that the treatment center is bad – but it’s not a great sign. If the facility refuses to give you a tour or doesn’t allow you to view certain areas then beware. Going to treatment is a huge investment of both time and money.

5. Expired/No License

Most treatment centers are licensed through a state department, like the Department of Children and Families, for example. A license doesn’t guarantee high quality care, but most states require that addiction treatment centers meet minimum guidelines in order to keep their license. Licenses are usually prominently displayed. If the facility you’re visiting does not display their license, then ask to see it. If they don’t have one, then cross that place off your list immediately.