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  • Call us any day, any time
  • 800-257-7810
  • 651-213-4200

  • P.O. Box 11
    15251 Pleasant Valley Rd.
    Center City, MN 55012-0011
  • info@hazelden.org

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12 questions to ask every addiction treatment provider

When looking to find an alcohol and drug treatment program, it is important to have a checklist of questions for each provider.  Below are 12 basic questions to ask so that you can be confident you are comparing apples to apples.

  1. What type of accreditation or licensing does the program have?
  2. What credentials and licenses does the program's clinical staff hold?
  3. Have there been studies to measure the effectiveness of the program's treatment methods?
  4. What is the patient-to-counselor ratio?
  5. Is treatment gender-specific?
  6. Is medical detoxification ("detox") offered as a part of residential treatment?
  7. Does the program offer an individualized treatment program?
  8. Does the program address a full range of needs to help the individual including medical, psychological, spiritual, social, and health and wellness issues?
  9. What type of help is available for families?
  10. What is the environment at the facility like?
  11. Is there ongoing support after leaving treatment?
  12. Do you work with insurance companies?


1. What type of accreditation or licensing does the program have?

National accreditation programs (such as the Joint Commission, the National Committee for Quality Assurance, and the All-States) look for elements of treatment that research has shown to be effective. State licensing is not the same as accreditation since states vary widely in their licensing requirements.

Hazelden's response:
All Hazelden service locations are fully licensed in the states in which they operate, and all are accredited by The Joint Commission.

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2. What credentials and licenses does the program's clinical staff hold?

Credentials and licenses ensure that the person providing treatment meets nationally recognized standards for professional practice. Some of the credentials held by addiction professionals include LADC (licensed alcohol and drug counselor), LPC (licensed professional counselor), CAC (certified addictions counselor), or CCDP (certified co-occurring disorders counselor).

Hazelden's response:
Hazelden's interdisciplinary care teams consist of fully licensed addiction counselors, psychologists and psychiatrists, physicians and nurses, family specialists, spiritual care professionals, social workers, marriage and family therapists, nutritionists, and wellness specialists.

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3. Have there been studies to measure the effectiveness of the program's treatment methods?

A treatment center should be measuring how effective their services are as well as using research-based methods.

Hazelden's response:
Hazelden is one of the few treatment centers in the world to also have an endowed research center. For more than 20 years Hazelden's Butler Center for Research has invested significantly in the scientific study of addiction treatment and outcomes. From doing our own clinical research to collaborating with other researchers, Hazelden is a recognized leader in publishing scientific findings that advance the field of addiction treatment and recovery.

Our data show that 8 out of 10 patients experience dramatic improvements - with more than half the patients maintaining continuous abstinence for at least one year upon completion of their treatment program with Hazelden. Our research indicates that 80% of patients report improved family relationships, better mental health, and feel better able to manage life's problems and challenges after treatment at Hazelden.

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4. What is the patient-to-counselor ratio?

It is important to maintain a patient-to-counselor ratio that helps ensure people receive the personalized attention and care required to effectively address their addictions.

Hazelden's response:
Hazelden maintains small group sizes and low patient-to-counselor ratios allowing for maximum personal attention from staff. Our program uses an interdisciplinary approach to treatment, which means each patient gets highly-specialized care from a range of care professionals during their stay at Hazelden.

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5. Is treatment gender-specific?

Research shows men and women recover from addictions differently and have the best opportunity for recovery when separated by gender.

Hazelden's response:
There are times when men and women can benefit from participating in treatment together but there also times when gender-specific treatment can benefit recovery.  Hazelden offers gender-specific treatment in our residential primary care programs.  When we separate patients by gender, men learn about recovery from other men, and women begin to focus on building a lasting sobriety with the help of other women. Alumni (our former patients) tell us that their gender-specific treatment groups also helped them discuss highly sensitive and personal issues that are unique to a gender.

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6. Is medical detoxification ("detox") offered as a part of residential treatment?

Comprehensive, medically-supervised detoxification ensures that patients are medically stabilized before beginning the multi-dimensional treatment process.

Hazelden's response:
Upon admission to Hazelden, all patients undergo comprehensive medical evaluation of their physical health and receive medical detoxification services, as necessary.

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7. Does the program offer an individualized treatment program?

Each person's needs are unique and require an individualized treatment plan based on specific history, issues and needs.

Hazelden's response:
Hazelden's abstinence-based, Twelve Step approach is tailored to each individual. The personalized treatment plan, specific to each individual's physical, psychological and spiritual needs, also includes clinical care for co-occurring mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety disorders.

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8. Does the program address a full range of needs to help the individual including medical, psychological, spiritual, social, and health and wellness issues?

Treating patients in a holistic manner, addressing mental health, physical health and spiritual health, will lead to greater success while in treatment and ultimately in recovery.

Hazelden's response:
At Hazelden, each person benefits from an interdisciplinary team of skilled clinicians which consist of addiction counselors, psychologists, physicians, and nurses, family specialists, spiritual care professionals, nutritionists, and wellness specialists. On an individual basis, this team works with each patient to ensure that all aspects of addiction and co-occurring disorders that affect the body, mind, and spirit are addressed.

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9. What type of help is available for families?

Understanding the recovery process not only helps heal families, but builds a healthy support system for those in early recovery is important.

Hazelden's response:
Hazelden has long understood that addiction affects not only the patient but their family as well. To help with the healing process, Hazelden provides a unique Family Program, where patients and family members receive education, guidance, and support for lifelong recovery. Hazelden's Center for Youth and Families in Plymouth, MN, offers a Sibling Program and Parent program as well. The Family Program is available to anyone, even those who do not have a family member in treatment at Hazelden.

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10. What is the environment at the facility like?

An environment where the patient can relate to others and feel safe will help them focus on learning about their addiction. An environment that reflects respect and dignity will ensure that the patient doesn't feel "institutionalized." Recovery happens in a dignified setting.

Hazelden's response:
Hazelden has always been committed to the belief that recovery happens in a dignified and respectful setting where a person feels safe and can share in fellowship of others. Hazelden provides the optimal setting for patients and families to focus on making physical, emotional, and spiritual changes while building lifelong recovery.

Each residential campus is located on rolling, wooded acres with walking trails and abundant natural beauty. Patient living areas and gathering spaces are designed with comfort, safety, and serenity in mind. Our nonresidential settings offer convenient programs for patients to balance treatment with daily work and family obligations.

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11. Is there ongoing support after leaving treatment?

Treatment by itself is not enough to sustain recovery for most patients. An aftercare regimen that includes participation in some type of Twelve Step program (such as Alcoholics Anonymous) or other addiction mutual-help group is crucial. A good treatment program will actively help the patient move into the next appropriate level of care.

Hazelden's response:
Hazelden knows that treatment of addiction is only the beginning of the path to lifelong recovery. Hazelden patients can also stay connected through unit reunions, alumni meetings, service opportunities, retreats, workshops and other special events designed for fun and fellowship. The Dan Anderson Renewal Center offers residential, Twelve Step-inspired enrichment opportunities focusing on common issues faced in recovery. Popular retreat topics include forgiveness, spiritual growth, healthy relationships, anger and resentment and meditation. An intensive, week-long educational workshop called the Lodge Program gives participants the tools to renew their daily practice of recovery.

Hazelden's exclusive online program MORE (My Ongoing Recovery Experience) keeps patients connected with Hazelden during the critical first 18 months of recovery. The program is free to all residential patients and includes around-the-clock access to information, worksheets and support, plus access to a "recovery coach" and a discussion board with other alumni.

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12. Do you work with insurance companies?

Treatment can be a necessary but significant expense. Navigating the complexities of insurance and other payment options can be confusing so finding a treatment center that can help you through the details can make all the difference, particularly when tensions are running high.

Hazelden's response:
Hazelden is "insurance friendly," meaning not only that we accept insurance, but also that we work hard with insurance companies on behalf of our clients to find the best payment solutions for them. Our financial case managers have an expert understanding of using both in-network and out-of-network benefits, and will work closely with insurance companies to streamline the process for the patient and their family. We also work to determine if patient aid is available and can be used in combination with insurance benefits.

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