What’s not to like about healing in a resort-like setting? Countless drug and alcohol rehab centers throughout the U.S. are designed to make recovery as comfortable as possible. When you’ve been through the ringer of a difficult addiction, a luxurious mansion or hotel might seem like the perfect place to recover.
However, luxury rehab is not right for everyone. You may find that the most expensive facilities spend your money on high-end amenities and skimp on the deep psychological work necessary for lasting recovery.
What Is Luxury Rehab?
Luxury rehab is a comfortable, relaxing approach to drug and alcohol rehabilitation. Luxury rehab facilities specialize in providing a luxurious atmosphere through beautiful surroundings, gourmet food, and vacation-like activities while the patient recovers.
With prices ranging from $40 - $80k per month and higher, going to a luxury rehab center often feels like vacationing at a high-end resort. Patients will often have access to a high-end swimming pool, a massage therapist, a sauna, and activities like horseback rising or helicopter rides. However, there is still an emphasis on recovering from drug or alcohol addiction.
Many luxury rehab centers combine evidence-based treatment with alternative services and luxury amenities. Patients may be able to choose their own therapist. Alternative treatment methods such as acupuncture, music therapy, and animal-assisted therapy may be available.
Does Luxury Rehab Work Better Than Other Models?
There is no data that shows a higher success rate for luxury rehabilitation. While some patients may feel most comfortable and relaxed in these settings, other patients say it’s too easy to avoid doing the hard emotional work required for true healing in a luxury setting.
If you are seeking a different kind of treatment, you may want to look for a retreat-style rehab program that offers an alternative approach.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Luxury Rehab?
With beautiful resort-like settings and expensive activities, you are likely to feel as though you are taking a high-end vacation and come back with plenty of fun memories. And as one would expect, the price will reflect this.
However, there are a few notable advantages and disadvantages of luxury rehab beyond the luxury and higher price.
- Privacy. Luxury rehab centers claim to offer unmatched levels of privacy and confidentiality. Many celebrities who struggle with drug or alcohol abuse choose to go to luxury treatment centers, in part to avoid the press.
- Individualized treatment. Most luxury treatment centers pride themselves on offering a wider variety of choices within the 12-step process. You may be able to choose your therapist and access alternative treatments, such as acupuncture or animal-assisted therapy.
- Unmatched comfort. At the most luxurious rehab center, even the most affluent individuals will feel comfortable and pampered throughout their stay. You will have only the highest quality furnishing and linens, stay in a stunningly beautiful location, and experience incredible service. Your food may be prepared by world-class chefs. The other patients will be people like yourself who are willing to spend larger amounts of money and time to recover.
- Relief. Luxury amenities and activities may temporarily relieve depression and anxiety. The ability to relax more fully may help participants get into a healing mindset.
- The most enjoyable amenities. Luxury rehab centers often offer spa treatments and fun activities like hang gliding or horseback riding. You will be able to enjoy many of the same experiences that you would choose for a relaxing vacation getaway.
- Higher cost does not translate to higher quality therapy. Luxury amenities cost a lot of money, sometimes more than what is accounted for in the higher cost of luxury rehab. The more money goes to luxury, the less is left for rehabilitation and therapy.
- Luxury as a distraction. Some patients who come back from luxury rehab say that while they enjoyed their stay, they did not receive all the treatment they needed. The more time you take for vacation activities and spa time, the less time there is to focus on doing the emotional work required for healing.
- Less focus on healing. Luxury rehab centers generally do not teach patients many strategies to continue their healing after their stay. For true healing, the work must continue once you return to normal life. Similarly, there may be less time spent on workshops and individual counseling sessions in luxury rehab.
- Too much self-direction. Patients themselves may not be equipped to make the best choice between different types of therapists, or to decide how many therapy sessions they need. If your rehab program leaves these decisions up to the patient in the name of individualized treatment, you may end up making choices that make you feel comfortable in the moment at the expense of full healing.
What are the Alternatives to Luxury Rehab?
There are three broad categories of drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers: luxury, institutional, and retreat-style. We’ve discussed the Luxury approach, now let’s look at the alternatives.
Institutional rehabilitation centers are the least expensive option. Patients may have lower-quality food, a less attractive setting, fewer or no amenities, and multiple roommates who filter in and out throughout their stay. The focus is on 12-step drug and alcohol rehabilitation, with few resources left over for comfort or extracurricular activities.
Institutional rehab programs tend to be based on what insurance will pay for, including Medicare and Medicaid. While this approach means that rehab is affordable for more people, it also means that the facility may not be designed from research on what provides the best possible program and success rates.
In institutional rehab, you will be in dorm-style facilities with patients from all walks of life, including patients like yourself. However, you may also be around patients who are less motivated to heal. Some institutional rehab patients are only there because they have been court ordered to attend treatment, not because they are truly serious about recovery.
To make matters worse, you will most likely have at least one roommate, which can be an enormous distraction depending on who you end up with. In extreme cases, there may be active drug use or similar problems among patients. Some people do not feel as safe in the lowest-cost rehab environments.
The institutional treatment focus is mostly on drug and alcohol rehabilitation through the 12-step treatment method, so the program may not address underlying mental or emotional health problems. However, some people do experience successful treatment.
The other, lesser-known option is a retreat-style rehabilitation facility that bridges the gap between low-cost institutional and luxury rehabilitation. These rehab centers offer a quiet, safe, and private setting with fewer distractions. Your time and resources are spent on genuine therapy rather than on luxury amenities.
Since a retreat-style drug and alcohol rehab center still costs a significant amount of money, often in the $20,000-$40,000 range, you are less likely to be around someone who doesn’t really want to be there. You are more likely to have a private room. These centers are often just as safe and private as luxury rehab centers.
Retreat-style facilities have fewer high-end amenities than luxury facilities. There will be opportunities to relax with meditation, reading, yoga, and similar activities in between the more intensive therapy sessions. However, patients will not have access to all of the vacation-like experiences that luxury retreat centers may offer.
For more on the Retreat-style rehab approach, click here.
True Healing in a Comfortable Space Between Austerity and Luxury
In the past, drug and alcohol rehabilitation often fell into two categories: state-funded institutional centers and luxury resorts. Patients faced a choice between unpleasant, institution-like rehab settings and over-the-top luxury locations that functioned more as vacation spots than places for healing.
But today, there is another option.
The Clearing provides intensive therapy and healing in a homey, comfortable retreat setting. If you are looking to finally heal from the deep-seated pains that brought you to unhealthy substance use, this is the rehab program for you.