In 2013, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration accounted for 1,683,451 people entering drug and alcohol abuse treatment centers across the nation. It’s likely that the majority of these people put some serious thought into the decision of where to seek treatment. While treatment protocols, location and cost are all factors that sit high on most people’s lists, the amenities a treatment center offers certainly factor into the final decision.
The foundation for a good treatment plan should include:
- Medical detox, if needed
- Therapy, both individual and group
- Medication management services, if needed
- Ongoing support groups
- Life skills training
- Aftercare services
Certain services are outside the parameters of “basics” but are necessary for people in specific circumstances. For example, those with co-occurring mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, or a personality disorder, need a treatment program that is equipped to address both the substance abuse issue and the co-occurring mental health issue. Around 29 percent of people who live with mental illness also engage in substance abuse, per Psych Central.
Other services can cater to specific needs. For example, stress-relieving treatments, such as acupuncture and massage, may be beneficial for clients who self-medicate with drugs or alcohol as a form of stress relief. A person who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of being abused or attacked may benefit from attending a treatment center that offers not only therapy for PTSD, but also programs that strengthen their confidence and resolve, such as kickboxing or self-defense classes.
People who struggle with substance abuse often spend a lot of time inside with the drapes pulled shut as they continue to sedate themselves. While this isn’t always the case, one of the most prominent signs of addiction occurs when an individual starts opting out of activities and events they used to like, to stay in and use drugs or drink instead. A lot of these individuals find they are much happier when they spend time outside, but sometimes the drugs can make them forget.
There are treatment centers that are geared toward outdoor activities. These facilities offer program options that take things a bit further than basic treatment. Instead of yoga in a rec center or tastefully decorated room, they might offer it outdoors in a mountainous setting or overlooking a lake. Adventure or wilderness therapy might also be part of their offerings.
Most facilities encourage exercise as a component of treatment. Exercise can make a person feel good emotionally and mentally, and it has obvious benefits to physical health. Mercola notes some solid research on this that showed 69 percent of people whose treatment program included exercise remained sober for the three months following treatment while 62 percent of those who didn’t exercise relapsed within the same period of time.
Equine-assisted therapy is another popular outdoor-based treatment approach that many facilities employ. By working with horses, clients hone their communication skills, learning how to work through frustration or disappointment to foster learning and growth.
As long as clients are comfortable in their environment — the standards of which will vary from one person to the next — the outcome of treatment isn’t likely to be hindered or improved by extra or more luxurious amenities. The specific traits offered by a facility matter far more. For example, someone who has relied heavily on their religious beliefs to carry them through tough times in life may benefit more from a treatment institution that centers on a religion-based program, that offers spirituality based activities, or that holds weekly religious services.
Spirituality extends far beyond specific denominations and religious beliefs though. Many holistic treatment centers aim to serve individuals who feel lost or disconnected in life. They seek to help this demographic reconnect with their inner self and feel whole again through spiritual guidance. This may come by way of peer interaction that stimulates clients to want to evolve and grow from the place they have been into a healthier one.
Meditation is a big part of most holistic treatment centers. Many programs incorporate meditation into their clients’ daily routine. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids reported the results of comparing the efficacy of different programs: 17 percent of clients who underwent traditional therapy relapsed, compared to 14 percent who followed a 12-Step program, and just 9 percent who adhered to a mindfulness and meditation program.
Luxury rehab facilities certainly have their place in the market. Their advertisements often look like something out of a travel catalog, and they promise relaxation and healing. Some luxurious facilities can even feel more like a vacation spot than a rehab center. While amenities can certainly make a stay in rehab more inviting and comfortable, they shouldn’t take priority over high-quality, evidence-based treatment. That being said, if clients are comfortable in their surroundings, they may be more amendable to the program and remain in treatment for longer periods of time, increasing their chances of sustained recovery.
Spas, gourmet chefs, infrared saunas, pools, massage therapists on staff, golf courses, and pet-friendly accommodations are all potential pluses of available treatment centers. While these services are undoubtedly enjoyable, there’s no solid evidence that they increase treatment outcomes for clients.
Regardless of which genre a treatment facility falls into or what methods they prescribe for treatment, it is important that clients verify the credentials of staff members and licensure of the facility. The staff-to-client ratio and whether or not the treatment center offers any kind of aftercare options are things that prospective clients should consider prior to enrolling in treatment. Also, inquire if certain amenities or services incur additional fees.