The Benefits of Luxury Alcohol Rehabilitation
Alcoholism is a diagnosable and treatable condition (as an alcohol-use disorder) for which there are many different types of treatment facilities available to those seeking recovery. One type of treatment is luxury alcohol rehabilitation, which often takes place at an inpatient or residential facility (outpatient programs also exist) and provides treatment with low staff-to-patient ratios, specialized therapeutic approaches, high-end amenities, exclusive and often picturesque settings, and additional privacy measures for high-profile patients or anyone wishing to escape the scrutiny of the public eye while in recovery. While traditional treatment facilities can help individuals overcome their addiction to alcohol, luxury treatment facilities allow one to recover in a more comfortable, individualized, and lavish setting than those of traditional rehabilitation centers.
Traditional treatment centers adhere to strict guidelines put forth by the agency overseeing them, the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS). Current guidelines state that staff-to-patient ratios should consist of one counselor for every eight patients, with at least half of the counselors being qualified health professionals, meaning they are licensed or certified to provide substance use treatment.1 This also means that at traditional treatment facilities, as many as half of the staff may not be properly trained or qualified to provide substance abuse treatment.
Although luxury alcohol rehabs charge more than standard treatment facilities, this allows them to employ highly trained clinical staff with specialized experience in helping individuals recover from alcoholism.2 Some traditional treatment centers may not have the resources to provide newer treatments, but luxury alcohol rehabs are able to provide top-notch treatment and incorporate cutting-edge types of treatment.3 Ongoing research leads to new avenues for treatment, including evidence-based treatment techniques and medications to incorporate into medication-assisted treatment. Recently, addiction medicine was formally recognized as a subspecialty in medicine, allowing for highly trained physicians to specialize in this area, obtain board certification, and provide high-quality treatment to those suffering from alcoholism or substance use.3
While traditional treatment facilities meet the basic needs of their patients during treatment, luxury rehabs provide a range of high-end amenities. These vary based on the facility chosen, but many include gourmet or organic foods, a high-quality gym, swimming or yoga options, spa treatments, aromatherapy, acupuncture, and animal therapy, among others.
Alcohol is a primary cause of nutrient deficiencies in the United States.4 Specifically, alcohol has been linked to a lack of B vitamins, folic acid, and malnutrition.4,5 When left untreated, a thiamine deficiency can lead to a devastating condition known as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.4,5 While immediate administration of thiamine can help to halt the progression of this condition, some of the neurologic deficits that result from it are irreversible.
Due to the dietary deficits that potentially accrue after months to years of chronic alcohol abuse, a balanced diet will be essential during the alcohol recovery process. Research suggests that adhering to a healthy diet can ease the pain of withdrawal symptoms and even increase the likelihood of maintaining long-term sobriety.5 A luxury rehab facility that serves fresh, organic, high-quality meals can provide the nutrients required to establish balance within the body and promote a healthy, sober lifestyle.
Recovery from alcoholism often involves replacing unhealthy activities with healthy ones that promote sobriety. Exercise is well known for its benefits to the mind and body, and these benefits can be applied during treatment in a luxury facility with gym facilities, a swimming pool, or yoga classes.6 The benefits of exercise during alcoholism treatment manifest in various ways, including an increase in pleasurable feelings, mood improvement, an increase in self-esteem, stress-management assistance, and craving reduction.6 Yoga can further the development of stress-management skills while providing relaxation during the stressful rehabilitation process.
Luxury rehabs may also provide nontraditional treatments, such as spa treatments, massage, reiki (a type of energy healing), and aromatherapy, which have had promising results in studies on their effectiveness.7 These alternative healing techniques can help reduce tension, promote relaxation, and assist in stress management.
Acupuncture is a well-established form of treatment that has been shown to support recovery.7,8 OASAS recognizes acupuncture as a legitimate addition to a treatment plan, meaning that it can assist patients in reaching their therapeutic goals, but most traditional rehabs do not offer acupuncture, which must be conducted by a trained acupuncture therapist.8 Practicing acupuncture reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms and lessens feelings of anxiety.8 In conjunction with other therapeutic techniques, acupuncture can help patients maintain sobriety.
Animal therapy is another technique that is rarely offered in traditional rehabs, yet luxury rehabs may have the appropriate resources to provide this type of treatment. Animal-assisted therapy has been documented to be helpful for many populations, including those with substance-use disorders and patients who are deemed difficult or resistant to treatment, which is common in substance-use disorders.9 While small animals, such as dogs or cats, can be brought to the facility, patients must be brought to a different setting to work with larger animals, specifically horses, which allows patients to develop or strengthen skills that are lacking or weak.9 Equine-facilitated psychotherapy is a proven technique that can help patients learn and practice important skills, such as trust, affection, patience, assertiveness, and responsibility. It also eases the process of experiencing painful emotions.9 This technique has been reported to lessen feelings of guilt and fear, while improving self-esteem and trust and strengthening relationships.9
A quick internet search will turn up a wide range of luxury rehab facilities, mostly located in scenic resort areas, such as beaches, deserts, or mountains. This makes the treatment process feel more like a vacation, while the individual receives high-quality, clinical, and cutting-edge care. Traditional treatment facilities are often located in a hospital or institutional setting. The beautiful locations available for luxury alcohol rehabs can ease an individual into the recovery process and help reduce the stigma that surrounds substance use and treatment.
Privacy for High-Profile Patients
Certain individuals may want or need additional privacy measures. Alcoholism affects individuals without discriminating by race, gender, age, social class, or occupation. Admitting that you have an issue with alcohol can be difficult. For some individuals, it can threaten their livelihood or public image. For high-profile individuals, privacy is often a must. Luxury alcohol rehabs are typically located on secluded, private grounds, with staff that is sworn to uphold the staff-patient relationship, including a strong protection of the privacy of all patients, including high-profile ones.
- Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. (2012). Chemical dependence inpatient rehabilitation services.
- Mayo Clinic. (2009). Addiction services.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016). A major step forward for addiction medicine.
- U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2014). Diet and substance use recovery.
- Grotzykyj-Giorgi, M. (2009). Nutrition and addiction – can dietary changes assist with recovery? Drugs and Alcohol Today, 9(2), 24-28.
- Brown, R. A., Abrantes, A. M., Read, J. P., Marcus, B. H., Jakicic, J., Strong, D. R. … and Gordon, A. A. (2009). Aerobic exercise for alcohol recovery: Rationale, program description, and preliminary findings. Behavior Modification, 33(2), 220–249.
- Madden, S., Fogarty, S. & Smith, C. (2014). Alternative and complementary therapies in the treatment of eating disorders, addictions, and substance use disorders.
- Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. (1993). Acupuncture therapy in alcoholism and substance abuse treatment facilities.
- Brandt, C. (2013). Equine-facilitated psychotherapy as a complementary treatment intervention. The Practitioner Scholar: Journal of Counseling and Professional Psychology, 2, 23-42.