Addiction is truly a disease of the mind as well as a disease of the body. According to a study published in the Journal of Gambling Studies, when faced with a choice between an option that brings immediate pleasure and a choice that brings long-term gain, people with addiction tend to overlook the future benefits in favor of immediate gratification. Through the course of their addiction, their brains have been rewired and they’re unable to see the benefit of taking the long view.
When it comes to choosing the proper setting for rehabilitation, this idea becomes incredibly crucial. If an addict is accustomed to living in luxurious surroundings, with every available pleasure at the fingertips, asking that addict to live in a hospital setting for the greater good of long-term recovery is just not realistic. The addict might be unable to see why or how the short-term pain could be worth the long-term gain, and the addict might simply walk out before treatment is complete.
Luxury rehabilitation facilities can help to fill this gap. Here, the real work of recovery takes place, but the addict is surrounded by an environment that is familiar and unlikely to offend. And, the facility is filled with other people from the same background, and this might also be soothing. In this environment, the addict might recognize the short-term benefits, and stick around long enough to enjoy the long-term gains seen in recovery.
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A Recovery Getaway
There are literally hundreds of facilities in the United States that carry the label of “luxury rehab.” A quick search through the websites will indicate some commonalities between the facilities. For example, most provide:
- Gourmet meals
- Stunning views
- Posh furniture
- Stately grounds
In addition, some provide added bonus activities such as golf or animal therapy. It might be easy to write these activities off as mere trappings to entice people to visit, but in most cases, these additional activities do have some basis in scientific research. In fact, most facilities are required to prove, to referring doctors and to their patients, that the treatments they provide are based in sound research. This is easy enough to do, as research on addiction has exploded in recent years. A facility that wanted to provide yoga to clients, for example, could quote a study published by a graduate researcher at RMIT University, connecting the increasing complexity of yoga positions to the increasing complexity of addiction treatment. Just as a yoga student must practice, reach out and connect with other students to succeed, an addict must follow these same steps to heal. In short, yoga really could be a good way to reach some addicts, and that assumption is based on research.
The real goal of a rehabilitation program is to convince the addict that he or she truly has the power to beat the addiction and move forward with life. Researchers in the journal The Social Sciences call this self-efficacy, or the ability of the addict to believe that the future is secure and recovery is possible. Luxury rehabilitation programs may have a role to play here as well. When surrounded by beauty, it’s easy for the person to remember what he or she is fighting for, and why beating the addiction is so very important. It can create a sense of hopefulness.
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There are some aspects of addiction rehabilitation programs that don’t vary, however, and they’re contained both in luxury programs and traditional programs. For example, in most rehabilitation programs, the addict is expected to work with a counselor on a daily or weekly basis, learning more about the addiction, how to control urges and how to deal with the concept of having a chronic condition that might recur at any time. This work continues in a luxury rehabilitation facility, and it’s never considered optional.
Similarly, most rehabilitation facilities, whether luxurious or no, require the addict to connect with the other people who are living in the facility. Some people have become so isolated and so withdrawn through the course of their addictions that they find it hard to relate to other people. Some simply don’t believe that anyone else will understand. Most rehabilitation facilities try to break down these walls, encouraging the addict to meet and talk to others. Some programs ask addicts to share rooms, to facilitate this discussion. Others ask addicts to spend time in common areas, for spontaneous talk. Almost all facilities ask addicts to talk openly in group meetings. Here, they share ideas, discuss concerns and work on recovery together in an informal way. It can be a powerful method of recovery, but it really only works if the addict finds people nearby that he or she can relate to. If the addict doesn’t connect, the addict might be less likely to share.
In this country, most people connect to others based on economic status, which again, makes the idea of a luxury rehabilitation facility a little more appealing to some people. A study in the journal Substance Use and Misuse found that people were more likely to feel connected and affiliated to their addiction support groups if those groups contained people of the same socioeconomic class. It’s quite possible that being the only wealthy person in a room could make that wealthy person feel ill at ease, and unable to share. By contrast, putting all wealthy people together tends to nullify the effect. Everyone just seems the same, and talking is easier.
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Not for Everyone
While it’s clear that luxury facilities can be helpful for some people, they’re not universal choices. They are expensive rehab facilities, for example, and some don’t take insurance payments of any kind. People with limited funds might have a better result if they participate in less costly programs for a longer period of time, instead of spending all their funds on a luxury program and cutting their stay short. The length of time spend in the facility is the most important thing, not the location where this program is being held.
Similarly, programs that are successful in luxury settings can also be successful in community settings. For example, affiliation with a group has been demonstrated as an important part of the luxury recovery process. But, a study published in the International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology found that people who participated in support group meetings for addiction in jail saw a reduction in their depression and anxiety scores. Now, jail is far from a luxurious setting yet the same benefits of group meetings seem to apply.
Making a Choice
When it comes to treatments for addiction, approaches must be customized. A plan that works for one person in one setting may not work for another person. True healing begins when the right person is paired with the right treatment. Some people benefit from luxury settings. Others do not. It is a very personal choice.
In general, however, any facility chosen must follow a few basic guidelines. A facility that is beautiful but doesn’t follow good addiction therapy principles is not likely to be of benefit to the addict. The National Institute on Drug Abuse suggests that all facilities should align with these basic concepts:
- The programs are backed up by scientific research.
- The treatments are tailored to meet the needs of the individual, and those plans adjust as the addict grows and changes.
- The treatments are provided for a long enough period of time to influence change.
- Self-help groups are incorporated into therapy.
Most luxury rehabilitation facilities are happy to demonstrate their conformance to these ideas, when they’re asked to do so. Facilities that will not, or that do not meet these goals, may not be the best choices when it comes to treating addiction. At Rehab International, we’d be happy to provide our assistance and help you find the right program to meet your needs. We have many options available, and we can outline the benefits of each facility for you. Please contact us to find out more.
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