Safe Harbor Treatment Center

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Long-Term Drug and Alcohol addiction treatment centers in California have become more prevalent in the last five years. Over and over, clinical studies have proven the greater efficacy of long-term treatment for drug and alcohol dependency versus shorter-term (i.e. 30 days) treatment. Across the state of California, literally hundreds of treatment centers decorate the coastline, each offering a unique twist on a month’s worth of holistic treatment for substance abuse. Forthcoming are specialized outpatient clinics, geared towards the busy professional who simply cannot take time off from work to treat the behemoth, life-threatening illness known as drug addiction.

Long-term drug treatment centers are rapidly becoming the norm, especially in California. These days, most long-term treatment centers in California are comprised of thirty days in an acute, primary care facility, followed by a ninety-day period of extended care, and tailed by a transition to the program’s sober living home, interspersed with weekly check-in and/or process group therapy, as needed. Clinicians throughout the field agree that continuum of care for the recovering addict or alcoholic is not a luxury, nor the prescription for the direst cases, rather, it’s a necessity, a mandatory ingredient for maintaining continuous, long-term sobriety.

Alcoholism is defined as consuming alcoholic beverages to a level, and at a frequency, that interferes with physical health, mental health, and social, family, and employment responsibilities.  Obviously, men and women both suffer from addiction, and many treatment centers offer a non-gender specific approach to the treatment of addiction. However, it is important to recognize that, while the symptoms of addiction may be the same in men and women, the way an addiction manifests is quite often very different.  For instance, women who abuse alcohol tend to exhibit much higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicidal tendencies than men.  Also, studies have shown that female addicts are more likely to have been exposed to physical, emotional, or sexual trauma or abuse as a child.  Some form of domestic violence is more likely to be present in the lives of female alcoholics as well.  Many times, during the course of treatment, a woman will reveal that she comes from a family where one or both parents abused alcohol.  Additionally, it is common for a woman who grew up within an abusive environment to gravitate toward that type of lifestyle as an adult.

When searching for a program that effectively addresses women and alcohol, it is essential to find a treatment center that understands the advantages and the importance of providing a program that is fully staffed by women.  The reason seeking such a facility is so important is that it has been shown that an all-woman staff at a treatment center increases the chance of success among women seeking to find freedom from additions.  In other words, women are simply more readily able to recover in an all female treatment center.  The reason for this is that in a gender-specific treatment facility, women feel more comfortable opening up about their past life experiences, their current and past relationships, and their feelings, as they are provided with a safe, nurturing environment without the worry of what men are thinking.

Perhaps the reason that California drug rehab and long-term drug and alcohol addiction treatment centers are gaining popularity is because of the staggering impact of chemical dependency on our government’s offers. According to a recent study performed by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, CASA, researchers were able to quantify an amount spent by all levels of government, federal, state and local, on addiction and substance abuse; this is the first time any type of economic analysis has ever attempted to ascertain the dollar amount addiction costs American society.

Findings indicate that “of every federal and state dollar spent, 96 cents goes to shovel up wreckage of illness, crime, social ills; only 2 cents goes to prevention and treatment.” Thus, of the near half a trillion tax dollars spent in 2005 alone on substance abuse and addiction, only a paltry two percent of the funding was allocated towards drug rehabilitation, a statistic that’s literally howling for policy reform. To date, the vast majority of policy for a chemically dependent America has been focused on prevention and interdiction, with far fewer efforts aimed towards actually treating the already addicted patient. Research is beginning to show that drug addiction and alcoholism are giving way to a mounting public health crisis, and that long-term treatment centers in California might be the only way to quiet the epidemic.

There is a startling contrast between twentieth century First Ladies’ opinions on how to tackle the addiction issue: in one corner we have former first lady, Hilary Clinton claiming, “our insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade,” while in another, we watched Betty Ford struggle with, and eventually conquer, her battle with alcoholism, proceeding to found and fund what would become one of the nation’s leading treatment centers. Then again, who could forget Nancy Regan’s earnest attempt to convince children to “Just Say No” and the exorbitant amount of federal dollars we spent on its proclamation, to little or nearly no avail. In a post- Just Say No- slogan era, drug use has peaked at an all time high, partially due to the rising popularity of prescription drugs and their availability on the Internet. The advent of Vicodin and Valium for sale on the world-wide web ushered in a new era of drug abuse, wherein addicts could circumvent dealing with unsavory dope slingers and merely surrender their credit card information online to a fast-track pharmacy that provided overnight delivery service, an in-home dealer suddenly a mouse click away. Clearly the solutions current policy is offering are not working for the over fifteen million Americans who find themselves feeding a habit and in need of drug and alcohol treatment centers in California.

Historically, short term, month-long rehab stays have not provided a substantial ‘cure’ for the disease of addiction and alcoholism; research indicates long-term drug and alcohol treatment centers are proving themselves significantly more effective. Studies have shown, repeatedly, that the longer a recovering person is exposed to rehabilitation and treatment, the better chances that person has of maintaining abstinence.

The number of drug and alcohol treatment centers in California far exceeds that of any other state in the country, with Orange County being one of the most concentrated areas for long-term treatment. Many long-term care treatment programs are run on the phase system, commencing with 30-45 days of intense, cognitive behavioral therapy, both in a group and individual setting, wherein the last month of treatment is spent focused on obtaining employment and life skills, with a gradual return of privileges as each goal are achieved. One such model is found at Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women, in Costa Mesa, California, which offers what you are looking for in a Long- Term Drug Treatment center in California.

At Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women, founder Velvet Mangan offers unique insight about the clinical, emotional, spiritual and physical benefits of long-term drug treatment in California when she says, “Thirty days rarely offers enough time for the client to redevelop her self-esteem; at least ninety days are needed in order for the young woman to reposition her mind to make different choices and learn healthy habits. The subconscious mind requires time to change, and if that process is short-circuited, her recovery could be sabotaged.” Long-term treatment centers in California runs the gamut from private pay (like the aforementioned, affordable Safe Harbor) to complimentary (albeit, often compulsory) county-funded programs, with managed care options filling in the gaps.

Overcrowding in California state prisons and budgetary constraints were largely responsible for the introduction of Prop 36, wherein legislators ostensibly admitted, and “We no longer have room for you drug offenders behind bars, so guess what- you’re cordially invited to go to treatment.” The treatment approach has dramatically changed the landscape of our judicial system and has resulted in fewer drug-related crimes, a statistic that Republicans and Democrats alike are lauding. Long-term treatment centers in California are on the rise, what with the demand, due to Prop 36, and with a more results-focused approach to conquering addiction and alcoholism. Doctors and addiction specialists agree that some form of continuum of care is necessary for recovering citizens to remain abstinent, and though the preferred settings may vary, ranging from monitoring to outpatient to the more robust, inpatient residential programs, both seasoned practitioners and rehab veterans have experienced greater degrees of success when long-term treatment is followed through to completion.

Unfortunately, the consumption of drugs and alcohol is not the only issue that needs to be addressed in recovery. While these behaviors (and perhaps other destructive behaviors) are the most obvious problems, there are always other issues under the surface that need just as desperately to be explored.

The root cause of addiction can be described as an inability to cope with life, both externally and internally. People who feel enticed by drugs tend to be people who, for one reason or another, want to escape from themselves. Common causes for this escapist mindset are psychological conditions like chronic depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder, as well as traumatic experiences like physical and sexual abuse. If we think of getting high as a means of escaping one’s own mind, where all of this pain is housed, we can understand how other behaviors which provide a similar exit strategy can be equally enticing, and equally dangerous.

The disease of addiction manifests in many ways, and usually in multiple ways. Those who suffer from drug addiction and alcoholism are also likely to engage in eating disorders, sex addiction, codependency, gambling or shopping addictions, and self-mutilation. Because the disease of addiction has such a broad root cause, and such a broad effect, long term drug treatment is the only way to truly address addiction in its entirety.

In order to stop using drugs, individuals must come to understand what triggers them to use, and develop new coping strategies. Addicts must also abstain completely from any other addictive behaviors that prevent these new healthy coping mechanisms from taking hold. These are no easy tasks. As creatures of habit and comfort, addicts tend to be people who are terrified of change, making the idea of an entirely new life intimidating. Long term drug treatment takes the process of restructuring an addict’s entire life seriously and allows this process enough time to unfold.

For most addicts, it is difficult to come to terms with the fact that reaching out for help, or at least accepting help that is offered, is a necessity. For most people who use drugs and alcohol in excess, these substances function as something of a self-prescribed medication for psychological, emotional or physical pain. The addict grows attached to the idea that their use of the substance is saving them; it is helping them survive. Addicts hold onto this notion of the substance as a solution, even when it becomes blatant to others that the substance is, or has become, the problem. Because addicts tend to have this medication-like relationship with their drugs of choice, it is hard for them to accept that they are powerless over these substances.

When circumstances become dire enough that the addict tries to stop using, only to find it impossible, he or she may come to understand that such a feat cannot be accomplished without help. These moments of despair are valuable windows of opportunity. Even a temporary comprehension of the devastation drugs have wreaked on an individual’s life is enough to inspire this individual to make the decision get help by committing to a long term drug treatment program.

Many people seeking treatment are primarily familiar with the 30-day drug rehab programs they see advertised on television. While many of these programs are high-quality and nurturing, they often are only able to scratch the surface of the root cause of the client’s addiction. A primary difference and substantial benefit of a long-term treatment program are that it offers many of the same programs as short-term rehab offers and so much more. In a long-term drug rehab program, there is more time to really dig deeply into the cause of the client’s addiction, thereby reducing the chances of a relapse. A very important distinction between simply taking a detox approach to treatment and a more comprehensive approach is that the short-term treatment may only clean an addict up for the time being but will never uncover the reason for the addiction. By attending a long-term treatment program, individuals will not only learn to understand what triggers the addiction but also learn new coping mechanisms for dealing with stressors, both internally and externally.  This distinction is vital for long-term recovery from addiction.

Also, because some drugs can take months to fully leave the system, detoxification is only the first step in a complete treatment program.  This is especially true if the user has built up a level of physical tolerance that masks her addiction. In fact, even when supporting an acute addiction to heroin, cocaine, or other powerful drugs, some addicts can appear to function normally. While qualified supervision can help minimize withdrawal symptoms from drugs, through use of anti-addictive drugs or other treatments, weekend programs and even 30-day in-patient programs simply won’t do it. Only a long-term drug rehab program will help an addict through the complete cycle of detoxification.

Additionally, several reputable studies have shown that detox alone has little effect on long-term drug addiction. Obviously, vigilance must be maintained to prevent drug use during treatment. Furthermore, drug rehab programs need to treat all the needs of an addict, in addition to the drug abuse. For example, clients often have other medical or mental health challenges in need of treatment. Counseling and behavioral therapies included in long term care have proven important to effective rehabilitation. Most importantly, treatment always needs to be customized to each client and adaptable as her individual needs change. Clearly, all of this cannot be successfully accomplished, even in quality short-term programs.

While many people’s first thoughts about treatment often only include the clinical, patient-counselor interaction, long-term drug rehab, and long-term alcohol rehab actually opens up a more complete resource channel for an addicted woman to draw from. Of course, these resources do include the trained counselors, medical staff, and administration of the rehab facility, but they also include the other women who have battled through their own addictions.  This aspect of treatment is critical, as many times when an addicted woman sees other recovering women succeeding in beating their addiction, it shows a true-life, “in the flesh” account of an addiction that has been beaten through long-term treatment.

One of the other primary benefits of a long-term treatment plan – one that many do not consider – is that many of these programs are outside the state of the patient’s primary residence. This offers a great opportunity to take the addict out of her often detrimental home environment. For instance, if a patient is in the Midwest and enters a long-term drug and alcohol rehab center in California, the change of environment may be exactly what she needs to kick-start the treatment into high gear. After all, when the home is hundreds of miles away, it allows for less of an opportunity for relapse. To help the client cope with being away from home for an extended period of time, many treatment programs for women have a structured beginning and end approach to treatment that is carefully laid out for the addict, to help prevent homesickness and a feeling of, “I just want to go home.”

Safe Harbor is a treatment facility that is geared specifically for drug-addicted women and men. It offers not only a 90-day treatment program but is also one of the most well-regarded long-term drug and alcohol rehab centers in California


The Safe Harbor House Admissions Team works to ensure that we can help as many people struggling with substance abuse. Verify your benefits now and we’ll get back to you right away.

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