Alcoholism and other addictions do not only negatively impact the alcoholic or addict – everyone around them is affected in some way. This could range from a parent being anxious about their addicted teenage child to a child being physically abused by an addicted parent.
This is where so-called treatment centers fail to meet professional standards, offer inadequate services, and at the worst of times, are intent on keeping patients in their programs for as long as possible.
These facilities can range from being misleadingly advertised to outright fraudulent, and their scams are often bolstered by fake or paid-for reviews claiming that the facility is excellent and produces amazing results.
To avoid falling for a scam and ensuring you have the best chance of finding a reliable program, here are five key things to look for when determining if a rehab clinic is trustworthy and a good fit for you.
1. Credentials and certifications
One of the first things you should check for when looking at treatment centers is if the facility is properly licensed and has all the appropriate accreditations on a local, state, and national level.
We’re proud to be certified and recognised by many authorities, including LegitScript.
While licenses vary across the country, the agencies that administer them will be able to provide you excellent information on the quality and reputation of rehab facilities.
As well, you should also be sure to check the credentials and licenses of the staff working at a treatment center.
In entrusting your path to sobriety to others, it is critical to determine whether the treatment specialists are professional, experienced in their fields, and certified by relevant boards or training programs.
2. A high-quality photo gallery
While it may seem superficial at first, the photos and videos a treatment center uses on their website and in their marketing can be a clear indicator of their overall quality.
The effort rehab centers put into showcasing their appearance is often a strong indicator of the effort they have put into creating a welcoming and nurturing place for those seeking treatment.
If a clinic’s website is made up of generic stock photos, it’s often a sign that their facilities aren’t something they’re proud of sharing.
A high-quality photo gallery or video can give you peace of mind about how a treatment center looks and operates, and whether you feel their facilities would be a positive environment for you as you progress through recovery.
3. Media coverage and press releases
Media attention and accolades for clinical staff, or for a facility itself, is a great indicator that a treatment center is reputable and can produce positive results.
Unlike reviews or testimonials on a rehab center’s website or social media, positive press coverage from independent sources is very difficult to fake and speaks to a facility’s reliability.
While it is not necessary for a treatment center to have received media attention for it to be considered trustworthy or reputable, it can help to identify excellence in quality and services that will help bring positive change for you.
4. An up-to-date online presence
If a rehab facility fails to keep a strong or consistent online presence, it might be a sign that they’re not licensed or falsely advertised.
A lack of photos, no social media, little to no reviews, and incomplete information on the staff are all indicators that a treatment center may be unprofessional, or even a scam.
Generic websites without meaningful details on treatment options and programs are best avoided.
Instead, look for rehab facilities with professional websites that are updated regularly, include plenty of information on their services and staff, and give you a good sense of the care they provide.
5. Research the staff specifically
It’s important to spend time researching the staff that work at a facility beyond their credentials and education.
A trustworthy rehab center will openly display its treatment specialists, and should list some of their licences, schooling, and credentials, but should also provide some detail on each staff member to help you get a sense of the people who will be helping you.
If a facility offers a wide range of programs and solutions, it should also have a robust staff who are specialized in the various disciplines and services offered.
Addiction treatment and therapy are complicated processes, and you should not jeopardize your path to recovery by seeking help from unskilled or unqualified personnel.
Do your homework
While reading reviews of treatment programs and rehab clinics is a good starting point, it’s important to do so carefully and with a critical eye.
Even though rehab scams do exist, that does not mean that all drug rehabilitation is untrustworthy – it just requires some in-depth research to figure out what kind of program and facility will work best for you.
If you’re thinking about starting on your road to recovery and want to learn more, call Tikvah Lake to speak to our staff members and get more information on how we can help.
Alcohol addiction and mental illness often go hand in hand. In fact, many people who attend rehab for alcohol addiction often get diagnosed with a dual diagnosis – that is, they’re suffering from an addiction as well as from a mental health concern.
Understanding which came first, however, is like asking whether the chicken came before the egg – it’s a difficult thing to decipher.
Do people drink to escape their mental health concerns, or do they suffer mental illness as a consequence of drink?
In this blog, we try to tackle this question and determine whether alcohol addiction does in fact cause mental illness.
What does alcohol do to the brain?
86.3 percent of people ages 18 or older reported that they drank alcohol at some point in their lifetime.
It is the most common drug consumed by the public today. But, while alcohol is socially acceptable, in the wrong quantities it can do a lot of damage.
Over time, alcohol starts to disrupt brain chemicals (known as neurotransmitters), which interfere with things like the hormone system, the nervous system and more.
As a person continues to drink excessive quantities of alcohol, the body’s chemical makeup changes shape entirely. For instance, alcohol may:
Interfere with the absorption of vitamin B1 (thiamine), which is an important brain nutrient.
Result in changes to metabolism, heart functioning, and blood supply.
Have a toxic effect on the central nervous system (CNS).
Can lead to falls and accidents that injure the brain.
Consequently, a dependence to alcohol can be disastrous to a person’s mental health.
Without a properly functioning central nervous system (and without vitamin B1), a person can become more vulnerable to psychiatric concerns like stress, anxiety and depression.
How does this affect mental health?
The hormonal and nervous systems form the basis of mental wellness. By creating an imbalance with alcohol consumption, a person’s psyche begins to change, and mental health issues can form.
These psychiatric symptoms are contingent on the dependence of alcohol, and also how vulnerable a person was when they consumed alcohol.
On the contrary, if an alcoholic decides to stave off alcohol, it can also cause a hormonal imbalance. Because an alcoholic depends on alcohol for regular hormonal functioning, removing alcohol entirely will limit this hormonal production, which can lead to dips in things like endorphins and dopamine.
Without these two chemicals, people can easily slip into depression and low self-esteem.
But was the mental illness there before the alcohol was?
It’s a tough question to answer. Many people begin drinking for fun. In the right quantities, it’s a harmless recreational activity.
However, others turn to alcohol by means of escaping hardship they may face in their life.
In the latter instance, it’s likely that mental illness pre-exists alcohol dependence.
Financial difficulty, relationship troubles and job loss can all trigger feelings of depression, low self-esteem, anxiety and stress. To handle these mental health concerns, people begin to rely on the euphoric feelings associated with drinking alcohol.
However, mental health concerns can occur with alcoholism, too. These are conditional to how dependent a person is to alcohol.
Like many other drugs, withdrawal symptoms can arise in an alcoholic, which mimic common mental health conditions that may have existed prior to addiction.
The saving grace with alcoholism and mental health
There is one saving factor with alcoholism and mental health, however.
With the right professional help, a person who overcomes their alcohol addiction for good will begin to see improvements in their mental health, too.
Even if mental health issues pre-existed an alcohol addiction, the problems faced by an alcoholic are often caused because of alcohol itself.
The challenge, then, is finding an accredited, trustworthy and expert facility where each person is treated holistically, both for their addiction and for their mental health condition.
This gives an addict the best chance of regaining control over their mental health and conquering their addiction for good. Only then can someone successfully turn a corner into a happier, healthier life.
Something momentous happened this month 85 years ago. It marks the birth of what is considered by many to be the world’s most successful form of therapy.
Certainly, it’s a therapy that has helped millions around the world with addictions and other mental health problems to be able to turn their life around. It is one we practice at Tikvah Lake Recovery with excellent results.
This therapy’s beginnings are one of remarkable synchronicity. We are talking here about the Twelve Steps recovery program, and it’s almost as if it had to happen…
How did the Twelve Steps begin?
Bill Wilson was born in Vermont, where he was abandoned by both his parents. By his teens, he was a rebellious young man who suffered from bouts of depression. His depression worsened, soon combined with panic attacks.
By his early 20s, he was drinking to pass out. After military service, he failed to graduate from law school because he was too drunk to pick up his diploma.
His drinking likewise adversely affected his working life in his chosen career as a stockbroker.
In the next few years, he ended up in hospital due to heavy drinking. He was told by doctors that he would either die from his drinking or have to be locked up permanently due to getting a “wet brain” that would likely cause loss of muscle coordination, extreme confusion and dementia.
Even with that warning, Wilson could not stop drinking excessively. He ended up in the hospital again.
At that time, alcoholics were considered hopeless cases, and many were destined to die too young, frequently after suffering physically and mentally for many years. Of course, family and friends would be badly affected as well.
Looking for a solution, Wilson started going to an American religious organization called the Oxford Group. He became especially taken by their spiritual ideals of Absolute Honesty, Absolute Purity, Absolute Unselfishness and Absolute Love.
After a while, though he stopped going to start on a mission to save others suffering from alcohol addiction. He did this by visiting local hospitals to find anyone he could help.
Not one person he tried to help stayed sober. But he realized that by trying to help others he was staying sober.
Then on a business trip in Ohio, he was tempted to throw away his sobriety. He stood in a hotel foyer, craving a drink. With increasing anxiety, he contemplated his choices: talk to another alcoholic in an attempt to stay sober or get it over with by getting drunk in the hotel bar.
He found himself standing by a phone booth there, and he made a series of phone calls that put him in touch with a physician and surgeon called Dr Bob Smith. This doctor invited him to his home – but only for 15 minutes, not a second more.
This was despite the fact that Dr Smith’s work and family life were increasingly in trouble. For 17 years his daily routine had been to force himself not to drink until the afternoon, and then to get drunk, pass out until he woke up to take sedatives that calmed his morning jitters.
However, Wilson’s understanding of alcoholism and his ability to share from his own experience meant the allotted 15 minutes stretched to six hours. Soon, Wilson moved into Smith’s home, and from there, both men made plans to take their message of recovery on the road.
But a month later Smith drank again while attending a work convention in Atlantic City. Returning to his home in Akron on June 9, he was given a few drinks by Wilson to avoid delirium tremens.
Smith drank a beer the next morning to settle his nerves so he could perform an operation. That was the last alcoholic drink he ever had. That date, June 10 in 1935, is celebrated as the anniversary of the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).
After a few years, three groups of recovering alcoholics – about 100 people in total – had emerged in Akron, New York and Cleveland. By this time in 1939, the burgeoning association set down its guidelines and experiences in the book called Alcoholics Anonymous, nicknamed the Big Book,that was mostly written by Wilson.
It outlined in writing for the first time the now world-renowned Twelve Steps recovery program. Yet it took almost two years to sell the initial 4,650 copies of the book’s first printing. It has now sold more than 30 million copies and been translated into 67 languages.
Who can the Twelve Steps help?
The Twelve Steps can be adapted to help virtually everyone as they are basically a suggested program of personal recovery. They are guiding principles for a course of action for recovery from addiction or other mental health problems.
Alcoholics Anonymous is the largest Twelve Steps group, with approximately two million members in 180 countries. But since AA was formed there has been the birth of dozens of other Twelve Steps groups, such as Al-Anon that helps families and friends of alcoholics, formed in 1951.
That was followed by (some of the other largest Twelve Steps groups):
Narcotics Anonymous (NA) in 1953.
Gamblers Anonymous (1957).
Overeaters Anonymous (1960).
Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (1976).
Workaholics Anonymous (1983).
Co-Dependents Anonymous/CoDA (1986).
Internet and Technology Addicts Anonymous (2009).
How does Tikvah Lake Recovery include the Twelve Steps?
As part of our 10-30-90 Day Personalized Treatment Programs we incorporate the Twelve Steps. The first phase provides a lengthy overview of healthy living requirements, a look at the consequences of drink and/or drug use, dependence and abuse.
We also address co-occurring issues relating to the mental health of our guests. We work through Step One of the Twelve Steps.
This program’s ultimate phase is to get our guests ready for an alternative living facility to assist with moving back into society. We make great efforts to have family involvement to help achieve those aims. We also complete Step Three of the Twelve Steps.
Our main goal is to ensure our guests have the belief and understanding that they can live lives free from drugs or alcohol. Everyone will learn how to have and maintain a lifestyle that is physically and emotionally healthy in every way.
For more information on how Tikvah Lake Recovery can help guide you through the process of overcoming addiction, contact our admissions team today.