Published June 21, 2021
When you think of California, beaches, travel and sunshine come to mind. It’s a place people go to soak up sun and unwind. But some head to the Golden State for another reason: to heal.
California is home to some of the highest-quality addiction treatment centers in the world. They’re known to attract highly trained clinical staff. Many offer upscale amenities for executives and celebrity clientele. And we can’t forget the warm weather, with outdoor excursions available almost year-round.
Where you go for addiction treatment impacts key aspects of your recovery journey. California tops many people’s list of rehab destinations because of its wellness culture and abundance of available activities.
Given the number of addiction treatment options in the state, it can seem overwhelming to find one that meets your needs. Remember that this is a process, and each step—even information gathering—is progress.
To help you learn more about addiction treatment in California, we’ll look into everything from why people choose to go to rehab there, to what to ask an admissions counselor before enrolling.
California is often a top choice for addiction treatment. Here are some reasons why:
People love California for its great weather. But did you know it can have a positive impact on your recovery? Research from the University of Michigan shows that warm weather improves mental wellbeing. ((“Warm Weather Boosts Mood, Broadens the Mind.” University of Michigan News, 4 Oct. 2004.https://news.umich.edu/warm-weather-boosts-mood-broadens-the-mind/)) It often results in more time spent outdoors, which increases our openness to new information and creative thoughts. In addition to being mood-boosting in and of itself, sunny weather increases openness to new ideas, ((Khazan, Olga. “How Spring Opens the Mind.” The Atlantic, 21 Mar. 2014.https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/03/how-spring-opens-the-mind/284572/)) which may also make you more receptive to the work you do in therapy.
It’s no secret that nature enthusiasts love the grandeur of California. It’s dotted with breathtaking landscapes and some of the United States’ most iconic national parks. If you love the water, views along the coast reveal scenic seascapes.
Many California rehabs offer the chance to experience the state’s beauty with outdoor activities. Hiking, biking or swimming are often on the agenda. Some rehabs have hiking trails nearby. Others let you bask in the simple joy of gardening or farming.
Given the year-round temperate climate, people in California love being out in nature. Time spent in nature can help you build a deeper connection with yourself and the world around you.
California is home to diverse environmental settings, with rehab options by the coast, in the city, at the beach or in the countryside (though the latter two are less common). We each respond differently to different environments, so having a variety to choose from works to your advantage.
People trust in California’s quality of addiction treatment.
Some of the highest-rated medical facilities and doctors are located in California. It consistently tops the list of U.S. states with the best health care and this reputation translates to its addiction care. Many California rehabs, including Alo House Recovery and Cliffside Malibu, have been recognized in Newsweek’s list of Best Addiction Treatment Centers in the United States. ((Newsweek. “Best Addiction Treatment Centers – California.” Newsweek, 12 Aug. 2020.https://www.newsweek.com/americas-best-addicition-treatment-centers-2020/california))
California is known for pioneering holistic health, and saw the rise of the wellness movement in the ’60s and ’70s. Since then, the quantity and quality of alternative therapies in the state has only grown. If you’re looking for specific holistic and alternative addiction therapies, chances are you’ll find it in California.
California has a higher percentage of luxury rehabs compared to the rest of the U.S. Many have been catering to celebrity and executive clientele for years. They understand the needs of their specific clients. That’s why extra-exclusive stays, specialized amenities and higher levels of privacy are easier to find here.
California has long been at the forefront of addiction care in the U.S.
California was the first state to include an addiction treatment specialty for medical doctors. ((CSAM History – California Society of Addiction Medicine.https://csam-asam.org/page/History))
The ‘80s saw a rise of addiction center openings in California. Many of those rehabs are still there and are now well established. And many, like Bayside Marin, are regarded worldwide for their expertise in treating addiction and mental health.
California is a laid-back state, and this influences the types of treatment you can find there today. It’s usually among the first to embrace emerging alternative therapies. They have an impressive selection of holistic and non-12-Step rehabs. And a lot of rehabs offer complementary therapies like acupuncture or energy healing.
California is home to various types of addiction treatment centers, each with its own treatment model. Learn about each to discover which one suits you best.
In a residential rehab, you live onsite at the center as you receive treatment. This removes you from many of the triggers and environmental stressors you might encounter back home.
Our environment impacts our mood, so you’ll want to make sure you’re happy with the rehab’s setting and amenities. It’s a good idea to check for these on the rehab’s website, or browse LuxuryRehabs.com’s individual listings. We always showcase images of the center and list their amenities, activities and more.
Anyone struggling with substance abuse or mental health concerns can attend residential rehab. It’s recommended to receive residential treatment if you have high-risk concerns such as co-occurring disorders. Residential rehabs offer hands-on, round-the-clock care by clinicians and support staff that’s so important for some.
California was one of the first states to embrace holistic wellness, but what exactly does ‘holistic’ mean? In medicine, holistic means “characterized by the treatment of the whole person”. ((Holistic Adjective – Definition, Pictures, Pronunciation and Usage Notes | Oxford Advanced American Dictionary at OxfordLearnersDictionaries.comhttps://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/holistic)) Holistic rehabs focus on treating the whole person, mind, body and spirit. This approach can touch parts of your life that traditional therapy may not always address.
A typical holistic rehab program incorporates alternative therapies ranging from reiki to acupuncture. Some may offer a comprehensive nutrition plan that emphasizes healthy, nourishing food. These therapies combined can help you feel more in tune with your body and spirit.
Holistic rehabs are a good option for people who want to make a full lifestyle change. It can also work for someone who favors natural treatments over allopathic medicine.
Several holistic rehabs in California offer alternative therapies that can’t be found in other residential rehab programs. To get an idea of the therapies offered, ask admissions what a typical day in their program looks like.
California has many 12-Step rehabs that follow the well-known 12-Step treatment approach. This approach is based on a series of steps first outlined by the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous. They created it out of the idea that people can help each other maintain sobriety. Today, it’s one of the longest-standing and most common treatment approaches around.
Rehabs based on the 12-Step approach follow its principles for recovery. One of those principles is that recovery is an ongoing process. After completing a program, you’re encouraged to re-work the steps as many times as you need, and to stay engaged in the community by attending regular meetings.
Other rehabs don’t follow the 12 Steps. While the 12-Step approach is one of the most common treatment models, it doesn’t work for everyone. Some find that it places too much emphasis on a higher power. Others don’t like labeling addiction as a “disease.”
California’s non-12-Step rehabs offer an alternative approach to treatment. You also have options for non-12-Step support groups as part of continuing care, such as Women for Sobriety or SMART Recovery.
You might think you can’t find time for rehab with a demanding profession. But there are rehabs that cater to working professionals. These are known as executive rehabs, and California has plenty of them.
California is home to many entrepreneurs, bankers and lawyers. Consequently, executive rehabs there have robust experience in treating professionals. Mercui Recovery, for example, has been treating executive clientele since 1999.
Executive rehabs offer a structured schedule with daily intensive therapy. Some executive rehabs slot in work time so you can stay on top of responsibilities during treatment. These rehabs generally have business rooms to work from. A few allow you to bring your laptop and phone to rehab, but it’s best to check with the rehab first.
If you need to detox, some executive rehabs, like AToN Center, provide these services onsite.
Executive rehabs are suited for working professionals suffering mental health or addiction issues. Work stress can play a significant role in someone’s addiction. Executive rehabs are equipped to address these specific issues.
To help you feel prepared for your treatment program, we answer some frequently asked questions about attending rehab in California.
What you bring to residential rehab depends on the climate, location and activities offered. Remember that it’s generally warm in California, so you’ll have more opportunity to be outdoors. You may need to include hiking clothes or swimwear.
You can bring your own toiletries, but some rehabs require that they’re unopened when you come in. It’s also a good idea to check whether the rehab allows devices like laptops and phones. For a more comprehensive list on what to bring, we’ve outlined a 28-day rehab packing list.
Whether you’re in-state or out-of-state, you should have someone assist you to your treatment center. If you can’t get someone to drive you, many rehabs offer pick-up services both in-state and from major airports. Some rehabs in California are located in beautiful but remote settings, making them a little more difficult to access. In any case, admissions can help you organize the logistics of getting there.
With its Mediterranean climate and iconic coastline, there are some experiences in California that can’t be found elsewhere. You can expect outdoor activities at most California rehabs. At some, you have yoga on a sundeck overlooking the sea. At others, a silent hike through a tranquil mountain trail. Given their proximity to the sea, coastal rehabs might offer beach excursions.
Most rehabs offer cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), an evidence-based therapy that focuses on changing behavioral patterns and improving emotional regulation. CBT is held during one-on-one sessions and sometimes during group therapy.
Because addiction also impacts the family system, many rehabs offer family therapy. This often includes a family program that allows out-of-state family members to visit and attend therapy.
As one of the first states to embrace alternative therapies, rehabs in California usually offer more than just yoga or meditation. There, you can find a whole medley of alternative therapies like energy healing, tai chi, acupuncture and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).
The weather in California impacts so many aspects of treatment, down to the amenities offered. You’re likely to find luxury rehabs with pools or hot tubs, an outdoor lounge and garden area. Many have fitness amenities like a gym, walking trail, volleyball court or tennis court. And for downtime, some have a spa, sauna or wellness center.
A big part of recovery is building up good habits, including nutrition. California has always been at the forefront of health-conscious eating. Here you’ll find rehabs with organic menus, vegan options, and accommodations for dietary restrictions.
Here’s what a typical day in a residential rehab program might look like:
Programming and schedules vary depending on the center, so it’s always a good idea to ask admissions staff to take you through a typical day in their program.
Most luxury rehabs in California cost between $25,000 to $50,000 per month, while ultra-exclusive programs can go for upwards of $80,000 a month. Almost all California rehabs offer options for financing your stay.
Many addiction treatment centers in California accept insurance to help cover program costs. If you don’t have private insurance, some centers accept Medicare or Medicaid.
Head over to the center’s website to see which insurance providers they accept. Otherwise, you can call the admissions team and ask them about insurance coverage and how much of the program it covers. You can also browse for rehabs in California that accept insurance using the LuxuryRehabs.com search tool.
On top of that, many rehabs offer in-house financing and flexible payment plans, and some even have scholarship funds available. It’s best to ask admissions about payment options to ensure you have the financial support you need to sustainably cover your treatment program.
How do you know if a rehab you’re interested in is trustworthy? We outline some ways to check the credibility and reputation of any addiction treatment center.
1. Read the reviews. You can check reviews on Google, Yelp, Facebook, Psychology Today and on our website.
2. Ask around. It may sound unusual, but you can ask your primary care doctor or therapist if they have ever heard of the rehab center or know someone who has. You can even ask admissions staff at other rehabs you call, which may give you some indication of their reputation.
3. Check their accreditation. The Joint Commission and Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) are national organizations that accredit treatment providers. Rehabs usually display accreditation logos on their website, but it’s best to check directly with the accrediting body.
You’ve decided to get help for addiction, which is an incredibly courageous step to take. As you search for a treatment center, you deserve to receive unbiased information so you can choose one that truly fits your needs. Unfortunately, unethical marketing practices and addiction treatment scams do exist.
A common scam involves a fake website or hotline that directs calls to a call center. The call center agents (not caregivers) generate commissions based on the numbers of referrals they place. Treatment centers involved in this scam will bid for patients and agents auction patients to the highest bidder.
Another malpractice is when someone receives a referral fee for recommending a patient to an addiction treatment center.
Here are some ways to protect yourself from addiction treatment scams:
As you narrow down your search, you’ll want to start asking the rehab specific questions to truly get to know them. Keep these few key questions in mind:
Over the years, California has become a popular place to receive addiction treatment. Its therapeutic landscapes and sunny weather makes it difficult to resist. Others want to find holistic rehabs with alternative therapies that can’t be found elsewhere. And some go exclusively for the top-level luxury care they know they’ll receive.
Reviewed by Olivia Mueller