How We Choose The Best Rehab Centers

Published on | Written by the AddictionResource Editorial Team

Choosing the best rehab centers to highlight is no easy task, and we aim to provide only the most integral, accurate, and current information regarding these facilities for our audience.

Every rehab facility promoted within our website has been reviewed by our editorial team using a predetermined set of criteria.

Our Criteria For Choosing The Best Rehab Centers And Rehab Programs

Each addiction treatment and recovery experience will vary. However, long-term studies conducted on treatment for substance abuse and addiction have found that the most effective rehab programs include the following features:

  • A variety of rehab programs: because each person differs from the next, recovery experiences will also differ. Treatment should be customizable to fit each person’s unique needs.
  • Ready availability for new patients: incoming recovering individuals often need treatment right away and cannot afford to be placed on a waiting list.
  • Multidisciplinary approach: more than ⅔ of those coming into addiction treatment are fighting a co-occurring mental health disorder or an additional substance use disorder. All issues must be treated at the same time for a greater chance at lasting recovery results.
  • Long-term rehab program options: Short-term treatment can be effective, but for those with severe addictions, long-term is proven the most effective form of treatment.
  • Behavioral therapies: addiction is a disease which affects the brain and body, altering behavior. Much of recovery is spent modifying behavior in order to manage addiction.
  • Medication-assisted treatment: the most addictive drugs cause harrowing withdrawal, which keeps individuals from successfully entering recovery. Certain medications can help curb withdrawal symptoms so a person can receive treatment.
  • Medically supervised detox: it’s extremely important that anyone who needs detox receive proper medical monitoring, medication, and support during this process.
  • Ongoing treatment assessments: each individual will progress through treatment and recovery at their own rate. Close monitoring during treatment ensures their recovery plans are modified to their needs and gives them the best support possible.

It’s important to note that not all rehab programs will offer all of these methods, but the best rehab programs will offer the majority of these effective treatment features. We aim to select rehab centers with programs offering as many effective features as possible.

For those which are lacking any components, they often offer referral services and access to resources to help recovering individuals fill in any treatment gaps and receive the best care possible.

What To Look For In An Excellent Rehab Center

In addition to scientifically proven, effective treatment features, we have established the following criteria in selecting rehab centers to highlight.

These components lend to facilities receiving accreditation by organizations which award rehab facilities for their experience, licensure, degree of excellence in treatment, and variety of treatments offered.


Only the very best drug and alcohol rehab facilities will receive accreditation, or approval, from organizations dedicated to evaluating rehab centers for their excellence in treatment, integrity, and experience.

The top two organizations which exist for this purpose are the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO or Joint Commission).

CARF Accreditation

CARF international was established in 1966 and accredits more than 59,000 healthcare programs each year. Standards are set by an elected board of members with varying backgrounds in healthcare.

To receive CARF accreditation, rehab centers must commit to continuously improving treatment standards, focus largely on the individual needs of each person in treatment, and monitor treatment results.

Joint Commission Accreditation

The Joint Commission was established in 1951 and currently serves 21,000 healthcare programs within the United States.

Having developed the Gold Seal of Approval as the standard in excellence for healthcare, JCAHO accreditation is the most highly coveted within addiction treatment.

To receive accreditation from the Joint Commission, rehab facilities must daily strive to improve healthcare standards for the public by providing the most safe and effective treatment of the highest quality and caliber.

Other organizations do exist to promote standards of excellence in addiction treatment, such as the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers. These organizations partner with high-caliber rehab centers to ensure every person in treatment receives the greatest care possible.

All rehab centers listed within our sites have received at least one accreditation or partner with one or more organizations for addiction treatment.

Evidence-Based Therapies And Treatments Offered

One of the greatest components of the best rehab programs is the degree of evidence-based therapies and treatments offered within the programs.

What Is Evidence-Based Therapy?

Put simply, evidence-based therapy is any treatment method which is tried-and-true—or proven effective at treating a particular health disorder.

The most effective, evidence-based therapy forms available for addiction treatment are:

  • behavioral therapies, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Motivational Interviewing
  • medication-assisted treatment: methadone maintenance or treatment with buprenorphine (Suboxone, Subutex)or naltrexone (Vivitrol)
  • individual, group, and family counseling: each form of counseling serves a different purpose and each is equally important to recovery.

Alternative And Experiential Therapies Offered

While evidence-based therapy is king in addiction treatment, a number of alternative and experiential therapies have recently proven effective at treating issues which may affect addiction.

Many individuals come to addiction treatment with a number of additional health issues which often contribute to or aggravate symptoms of addiction. A few of these include trauma, relationship issues, sexual assault, or domestic violence.

In order to learn to adequately manage addiction, a person must also learn effective coping skills to manage these issues and the residual symptoms they cause. This means rehab programs must offer a variety of alternative and experiential therapies, such as:

  • art therapy
  • biofeedback/neurofeedback
  • adventure therapy
  • mindfulness
  • music therapy
  • outdoor therapy
  • psychodrama
  • recreational therapy
  • tai chi
  • yoga

Specialized Rehab Programs Offered

As mentioned, people come to treatment with various needs and all needs must be met in order to succeed in treatment. Specialized rehab programs treat a certain group and ensure individuals get targeted treatment for their unique needs.

The very best rehab centers will offer treatment programs for a specific group, including:

Staff Experience

Experience and education is important in treating addiction, as is offering treatment facilitated by professionals with proper licensing. The best rehab centers will offer consultation and treatment through:

  • counselors
  • nurses
  • physicians
  • psychologists
  • therapists
  • spiritual guides

Facility Licensing

To be operational, all rehab facilities must be licensed through their home state. Licensing ensures facilities maintain proper insurance, documentation, and meet quality health treatment standards. All rehab facilities listed within our site meet treatment licensing standards.

Learn More About Our Standards For Choosing Rehab Centers

All information provided here is only for informational purposes and is chosen with the highest regard for those seeking recovery from drug and alcohol abuse.

We strive only to help individuals seek the best rehab centers with the most effective rehab programs so they may begin recovery, thereby easing their rehab selection process.

If any information is found to be inaccurate, out-of-date, or misrepresented, we invite you to contact us with questions or concerns.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more
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