Frequently Asked Questions

We offer many treatment options. We hope that these answers will help you get started managing your dependence.

Q. Is addiction voluntary behavior?

A. Most people start as an occasional user, which is a voluntary decision.  Over time, voluntary users can become compulsive users.  Continued use of addictive substances cause changes in how your brain functions, sometimes in dramatic ways, at other times in more subtle ways.  Either way, the unfortunate result is often compulsive and even uncontrollable substance abuse.

Q. Is substance abuse a character flaw?

A. Substance abuse is a brain disease.  Every potentially addictive substance has its own mechanism for altering brain functions.  The effects range from changes in the molecules and cells that make up the brain, to mood changes, to changes in memory processes and in such motor skills as walking and talking.  These changes can and do impact all aspects of a person’s behavior.  The substance becomes the single most powerful motivator in an abuser’s existence.

Q. Do you have to want treatment for it to be effective?

A. Virtually no one wants treatment.  People often seek treatment because the court ordered them to do so, or at the urging of their loved ones.  Many studies convincingly show that people who enter drug treatment programs where they face “high pressure” to confront and overcome their addiction do comparatively better in treatment, regardless of the reason they sought treatment in the first place.

Q. Can addiction be overcome “cold turkey”?

A. Addiction typically is a chronic disorder.  Some people can quit “cold turkey,” or as a result of one time treatment at a rehabilitation facility.  But most substance abusers require longer-term treatment and, in many instances, repeated treatments.

Q. Is there a “magic bullet” to treat all forms of substance abuse?

A. In a word, no.  There is no “one size fits all” form of treatment.  Different people have different substance abuse-related problems.  They respond quite differently to similar forms of treatment, even if abusing the same substance.  Addicts need an array of treatments and services tailored to address their unique needs. Research shows long-term addiction changes a person’s brain function, causes them to crave the substance even more which makes it increasingly difficult for the person to quit.  Particularly for adolescents, early intervention is important.  Children become addicted to drugs much faster than adults, the physical, mental and psychological risks are greater.

Treatment can help people.  Studies show proper, physician guided treatment and counseling reduces substance abuse by 40 to 60 percent and can significantly decrease criminal activity during and after treatment.

Q. Does a person have to hit “rock bottom” before they’re willing to seek treatment?

A. Many things can motivate a person to enter and complete substance abuse treatment before they hit “rock bottom.”  Both pressure from family, friends and employers as well as a personal recognition that they have a problem, are powerful motivating factors.  For adolescents, parents and school administrators are often instrumental in getting them into treatment before situations become overpowering or even life threatening. Remember, treatment isn’t always voluntary.  People required to seek treatment by the legal system can be just as successful as those who enter treatment voluntarily.  Sometimes they do better because they’re more likely to remain in treatment longer and to complete the program.

Q. Is there a standard treatment program for everyone?

A. Again, no.  No single treatment protocol is appropriate for everyone.  Our programs develop an individual treatment plan based on a thorough assessment of the individual’s problems.  These plans may combine a variety of methods tailored to address each person’s specific needs and may include behavioral therapy (such as counseling, cognitive therapy or psychotherapy), medications, or a combination.  Referrals to other medical, psychological and social services may also be crucial components of treatment for many people.

Also, treatment for adolescents varies depending on the age, maturity and family/peer environment, and relies heavily on family involvement during the recovery process.

Q. Can someone successfully finish treatment in a couple of weeks if they’re truly motivated?

Programs can range from a minimum of 90 days of treatment for residential and outpatient drug-free programs to various short-term inpatient and outpatient protocols.  In all cases, follow up supervision and support are essential.

For many recovery programs the best predictor of success is the length of treatment.  Patients who remain at least a year are more than twice as likely to remain drug free, and a recent study showed adolescents who met or exceeded the minimum treatment time were over one and a half times more likely to abstain from drug and alcohol use.

However, completing a treatment program is merely the first step in the struggle for recovery that can extend throughout a person’s entire lifetime.

Psychological stress from work or family problems, social cues, or their environment can easily trigger a relapse.  Recovering addicts are most vulnerable during the few months immediately following their release from treatment.  Adolescents are especially at risk for relapse if forced to return to family and environmental situations that initially led them to abuse substances.  Recovery is a long process and frequently requires multiple treatment attempts before complete and consistent sobriety can be achieved.