It’s easy to make fun of so-called “luxury” rehabilitation centers. In fact, many comedians have built their entire careers upon jokes centering on the flaws and foibles of the rich and famous, suggesting that people with addictions would do better in prison cells than they would in comfortable rehab centers. While this might make for a good laugh line, it actually might be quite far from the truth.
Understanding the Client Base
- Controlling emotions
- Dealing with family members
- Articulating concerns
- Handling stress
As an article in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment puts it, “Treatment programs are expected to change their clients.” These changes might be expected in a variety of areas in the addict’s life. For example, the addict might be asked to work on:
It’s a significant amount of work, and it’s all to easy for people to drop out of their treatment programs and return to the destructive behaviors they’ve enjoyed for so long. Dropping out of programs might be even easier to do when the information provided doesn’t seem to apply to the person’s life. Consider this: Many people in public rehabilitation programs are asked to go there by law enforcement agencies. They may have long criminal records, and they may need a significant amount of legal help in overcoming those issues. By contrast, many people in luxury rehabilitation programs have good jobs and high incomes, and they need assistance in juggling the needs of their employers with their own health care needs. These two groups of people have vastly different concerns. Supplying one sort of treatment to both groups means alienating one group. That’s why customization is so important. By providing customized care, the groups get the help they need and no one is alienated.
Luxury rehabilitation programs are designed for people who have addiction issues, but who may not have the educational, financial or legal issues faced by people in less expensive programs. People in luxury programs may have truly severe addictions, and they really do need help for those addictions. But they may not need the same kind of help provided in a program for people of a lower income level.
Luxury programs are not vacations, and they’re not based on sham science. Most luxury programs provide a significant amount of therapeutic tools that would be seen in a rehabilitation program provided at any fee level, such as:
- Individual counseling
- Group counseling
- Support group meetings
- Medication management
- Medical support
The main difference involves the surroundings. Many luxury rehabilitation programs are located in extremely beautiful parts of the world, and the buildings and grounds may be expertly maintained with an eye toward both quality and beauty. The facilities might also provide gourmet meals, and people might be treated to components of Eastern medicine such as yoga, tai chi or acupuncture.
In addition, most people who attend luxury facilities also have a significant amount of their own money. In short, people in luxury centers might have quite a bit in common, as they may tend to live the same sorts of lives. They may be able to relate to one another better, and this can make living communally a bit easier. It may also make participating in support group meetings, such as Narcotics Anonymous, a bit easier. Most rehabilitation programs require participants to attend these support group meetings and learn more about and from the other people they live with in the addiction facility. These programs can have a remarkable impact on recovery.
Since people living in a luxury facility tend to have very similar lives, the advice they can provide to one another in these meetings might be more useful. They can spend less time explaining their lives and their situations, and focus more on developing real solutions.
It’s also difficult to leave a setting that is beautiful and relaxing. People who enter a luxury facility might simply find the facility to be a lovely place to live and to work on addiction, and they might not be eager to return home when they must leave that luxury behind to do so. The setting might encourage them to stay, which might allow the treatments time to take hold.
Words of Caution
It might be easy to think about choosing a luxury treatment facility based solely on the amenities it offers and the visual beauty it provides. While these might be important components, the treatments provided at the facility provide the real difference in the life of the addict. Those treatments must be rooted in science, and they must be provided by licensed professionals. All of the luxury and beauty in the world won’t be helpful unless the person is able to pick up real skills in rehabilitation, and those can only come through science-based, tested and proven addiction treatments. In addition to asking about the grounds and the types of people who typically use the services the facilities provide, families should ask:
- What medications do you use to treat this addiction?
- What therapy approaches do you advocate, and why?
- How do you integrate the family into care?
- How have you tailored your approaches to meet the needs of specific clients?
- What is the training of the person who will provide care?
It’s also vital to remember that addiction is not a passing phase that can be treated just once and then forgotten. As an article in the journal Addiction Recovery Management puts it, addiction is a chronic disease just like heart disease or diabetes that must be monitored throughout the life of the person. Often, this means the person will need intensive care for a specific period of time, and then the person will need follow-up care for months or even for years. The person might also need touchup care if a relapse strikes.
Before treatment in the luxury facility ends, the addict and the therapist should develop a comprehensive plan to address these concerns, ensuring that the addict still has access to care and will continue to work on recovery. Some luxury programs provide this service as a routine part of care, while others do not. It’s an important point to clarify.
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