Big vs Small: What’s the Right Size Alcohol Treatment Facility for You

Does the size of an alcohol treatment facility matter?

This is a complicated question in part because of the many factors that need to be taken into account.

In general, smaller treatment facilities offer a much more intimate setting. Patients get to know all of the staff members, as well as other patients there.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that large treatment facilities don’t offer a high level of care. They can still offer a high quality of care although the environment may not be as intimate.

Many other factors need to be taken into consideration. For example, consider the staff to patient ratio and the overall atmosphere provided by the recovery center.

So, does the size of the alcohol treatment facility matter?

Not as much as you’d think.

While the size of an alcohol rehab facility may affect the factors below, these factors are more important than the size. These factors will influence the quality of the substance abuse treatment you receive.


Staff-to-Patient Ratio

The level of care that you’ll receive from the rehab centers will depend on the staff-to-patient ratio.

To receive as much attention as possible when receiving alcohol treatment, you’ll want to look for a facility with a low staff-to-patient ratio. There should be one staff per patient ideally.

It’s also important to consider the position of each staff member. For example, alcohol counselors can offer more support than maids.

Most treatment centers have a staff-to-patient ratio that ranges from 3-to-1 to 10-to-1. A low staff to patient ratio will allow for:


  • Emergencies to be dealt with more quickly
  • More individualized addiction treatment
  • Shorter wait times for getting into the alcohol rehab center
  • Less crowding for a more comfortable experience


Patients can gain access to alcohol counselors at the inpatient treatment facility whenever they need it. This might be whenever they feel the onset of intense cravings or when they’re starting to have second thoughts.

It’s also important for patients to receive lots of medical supervision when receiving medical detox, or alcohol detox.

It’s not unusual for alcohol withdrawal symptoms to take a turn for the worst. It’s vital that the detox centers can tailor the medication dose for each patient receiving medication-assisted treatment.

This will help ease withdrawal symptoms for a more comfortable recovery. Alcohol or drug detox and withdrawal symptoms must complement one another.


A More Intimate Setting and Environment

The size of the alcohol rehab facility will influence the intimacy of the setting.

Alcohol treatment is a sensitive process. Those seeking help from alcohol abuse and addiction often feel ashamed or guilty.

They need a comfortable environment to open up.

Most patients don’t want to feel as if they’re just a patient. An intimate setting will give patients a more comfortable environment. They’ll feel as if they’re receiving treatment at home.

An intimate surrounding may also make patients more receptive to addiction treatment. They may be more willing to talk about how substance abuse has affected their lives or may be more willing to seek treatment.

Loved ones can visit the residential treatment center, and it’ll feel as if it’s a mini getaway. It’s like going on vacation.

This can help improve the patient’s mental health and state of mind. An intimate setting is particularly important for those struggling with a co-occurring disorder, like bipolar disorder or anxiety disorder.

The quality of care for detox programs offered at inpatient alcohol treatment centers may also improve.


Amount of Other Patients Around

The size of the facility may also influence the amount of patients that are there receiving treatment for alcohol abuse or drug abuse.

Social support and emotional support is a crucial part of addiction treatment. This is why many recovering alcoholics join 12-Step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous.

In general, most patients prefer receiving residential treatment or dual diagnosis treatment within a small facility. It’s easier to get to know the other patients and to connect with them.

It’s also easier for patients to open up in behavioral therapy or counseling. Patients can keep track of what other patients are up to at the alcohol or drug rehab center.

In larger facilities, it’s often difficult for patients to make lasting bonds.

In smaller facilities, patients will often keep in touch with one another even after completing the alcohol or drug addiction treatment.

Many patients become lifelong friends, and will support one another through recovery.

Some patients may even move to sober living homes together, or join the same 12-Step program. It’s good to have someone else to lean on.

It helps patients feel less alone when going through the alcohol treatment program.


Type and Amount of Amenities Offered

The size of the rehab facility may also influence the type of amenities that are offered in the addiction treatment program.

Large facilities may offer more amenities. For example, they may have room for meditation rooms, spas and even ranches for equine therapy. They may have rooms for holistic treatment approaches, like massage therapy, acupuncture and yoga.

Some of the smaller facilities may not have as much space available. Patients may not be able to enjoy as many activities at the rehabilitation centers in a typical day.

Larger facilities may have more recreational rooms as well. These rehab programs may be more comfortable for those who like having a lot of space.

It’s important to consider the type of amenities that each treatment facility can offer.

Many addiction specialists recommend getting a tour of the facility. This will give you a better idea of the environment of the facility.

Larger rehab facilities may offer more treatment programs. They have an outpatient treatment program, partial hospitalization program (PHP) and more.


The Overall Cost of the Treatment

The overall cost of the treatment may be influenced by the size of the alcohol rehab facility.

Surprisingly, smaller alcohol treatment facilities may actually come with larger price tags. After all, they only have limited beds available.

This might factor into your decision. Your health insurance plan may not necessarily cover all of the costs.

If you don’t have any private insurance and are paying out of your own pockets, then you’ll also want to take the cost of the treatment into consideration.

Alcohol addiction treatment can run steep. You’ll want to get a better idea of all of the payment options available.


There Are Advantages in Choosing Both Big and Small Rehab Facilities

Both large and small treatment facilities have their own advantages.

You never know what’ll work best for your situation.

Upon seeing what each treatment center has to offer, consider taking a tour of the facility yourself. Learn more about the admission process for each addiction recovery center.

This will give you a better idea of what to expect. Consider how comfortable the place is, and whether you’d be interested in staying there for the entire duration of your addiction treatment.

If you’re interested in finding treatment facilities near you, we can help. Take a look at our compilation of some of the best drug and alcohol rehab centers in each city.

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