A Colorado Model of Comprehensive Drug Treatment

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Thin Dotted line for Colorado Drug Rehab

This Page will cover addiction philosophy and the components of a comprehensive alcohol and drug treatment center. It has been established that 30-day treatment is very ineffective. These programs are usually based on the 12-steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, and even thought that is a fine model of support, established so that "one drunk can help keep another drug sober", it isn't TREATMENT.

To complete a comprehensive and thorough treatment program, even those persons that do not have years of addiction history, will require a minimum of 90 days to finish all that is necessary to repair the damage and restore or rehabilitate the natural strengths of the client.

Ideal Drug Treatment Program Background

When we talk about an ideal drug treatment program, we are referring to a treatment that meets the American Society Placement Criteria for the Treatment of Substance Abuse Disorder that would be categorized as a Level III Clinically Managed High Intensity Residential Service... to most of us that mean a treatment center than will handle a drug addiction that is in need of residential treatment. Many times these types of programs are beign marketed as 30-day residential programs, but as stated above, that time frame is unrealistic in attempting to end addiction without multiple treatment episodes.

An ideal program does not relay on the concepts of a "medical model" that contributes addiction to "disease in the brain". Instead it recognizes that addiction involves a biochemical process in which the body is and has been poisoned and debilitated by the use of "xenobiotic" substances.(Definition of Xenobiotic: relating to or denoting a substance, typically a synthetic chemical, that is foreign to the body or to an ecological system.)

Therefore, an ideal program would d not treat addiction as a disease and treat it with substitute or alternative drugs. It is now becoming recognized that the development and distribution of psychiatric medications has caused more harm than good and, the long overdue trend is to look to vitamins, minerals and amino acids, or nutrients to repair damage cause by pharmaceutical and street drugs. (There is very little difference in these two, other than the controls to protect the pharmaceutical drugs contamination.)

Researchers have recently expressed concern regarding the current trend to resort to drugs to address daily life problems or disorders that may otherwise be handled through behavioral approaches. Today we are inundated with calls from middle-class, ethically upstanding adults that are addicted to drugs prescribed by their physicians. The authors of these two papers decry this tendency as" hedonistic pharmacology", which may contribute to recreational as well as the abuse and addiction to drugs. 1,2.

It is also important to consider that the boundary between medical and addicting drug use is becoming blurred. The non-medical use of controlled prescription drugs, particularly opioids and central nervous system (CNS) stimulants is the fastest-rising category of drug abuse in recent years. Prescription drugs are the second-most commonly abused drugs and emergency room mentions. The abuse of controlled prescription drugs now exceeds the abuse of cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. This problem has been serious enough to catch the attention of NIDA,)National Institute of Drug Abuse) and SAMSHA(Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration) and more recently that of the office of the highest public policy administrator in A Focus on Methamphetamine and Prescription Drug Abuse, Executive Office of the President of the United States 2006.

Given this information, it is important to consider the usefulness of rehabilitative drug-free options to address both the immediate and the protracted challenges of drug abuse. Furthermore, most addicts have made maladaptive life choices on the road to their addiction. This path often started with difficulties or inabilities to deal adequately with particular situations in their lives. Substance abuse became in many instances a deceiving solution for their difficulties. Maladaptive behaviors therefore need to be addressed. It is appropriate to consider the usefulness of treatment options that purport addressing both the immediate goal of cessation of drug use as well as ways to help develop personal resources that improve the addicted person's ability to participate in society.

An ideal rehab program needs the educational and humanitarian approach, regardless of the severity of the substance abuse problems, so that the individual will become able to reformulate and accept individual responsibility for their personal behavior.

Ideal Drug Treatment Program Components

DETOX or WITHDRAWAL ...All residential alcohol treatment programs must have an admitting physical that can oversee the initial intake physicals and monitor the detox so as to monitor their withdrawal symptoms and prescribe appropriate methods and supplements to meet their withdrawal needs. 24-hour nursing coverage is another criteria that should be considered a requisite for any drug treatment program that offers detox.

Detox is categorized as either medical detox (or sometimes referred to as medically assisted detox) or Social Model Detox. by definition, Social Model detox doesn't prescribe other drugs to assist in the management of withdrawal symptoms, but effective social model detox centers use vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other supplements as well as massage and other physical support to mange the withdrawal pains. A good social model detox is as effective as a medical model program with the advantage that the participants are not needing to withdrawal from other drugs after finishing their initial detox.

Some of the necessary characteristics of an effective social model detox is 24-hour medical coverage, a written detox protocol, emergency medical backup and detox counselors that can be assigned individually to the detoxing participant. This is the only part of a quality program that requires such intensive one-on-one attention, but it is important because detox is the part of rehab that is most feared by the clients and if they are given good care at this initial phase of the program, they will be believing in the effectiveness of the center and will immediately feel as though they are among professionals that truly care for their wellbeing.

An effective program will have policies and procedures in place that will cover the monitoring of vital signs on a regular basis as well as the number of hours slept, the intake of fluids, food and nutrient supplements. Mental exercises that improve the comfort and reduce the withdrawal symptoms and increase the awareness of his immediate environment. One of the goals of detox is to reduce the level of cravings so as to keep the client's mind off of his past drug use. Detox has a strong mental/emotional component and if someone's mind is focused on activities other than his withdrawal symptoms and his loss of having drugs to help him whenever he feels uncomfortable. All detoxing patients feel a profound loss when giving up their drugs of choice and are unsure that they will be able to function without those or other drugs. Their history tells them tha that drugs are essential to feeling not only good, but normal and they don't want to feel that they are going to lose control in an artificial environment. Again, this speaks to the importance of having a withdrawal counselor at their side throughout the detox process.

COMMUNICATION...Onde the newly admitted person no longer has physical symptoms of acute withdrawals, they should being other therapeutic activities immediately. One of the major downfalls of many drug treatment programs resides in the hours and hours of down-time when the participants are left with their anxiety and their thoughts begin to sabotage their commitment as their cravings increase. So, as quickly as possible, the person should be placed in a therapeutic activity.

Most alcohol and drug dependent persons have withdrawn from family and positive friendships during their drug using months or years. In this process, they have lost the their ability to communicate and relate to the world around them in meaningful ways, furthering their isolation. Since they are now experience their environment without the numbing effects of alcohol or other drugs, it is important to have some activities or mental processes that will help them be in touch with their new environment and those around them. These therapeutic activities help them to understand communication at all levels and how they can develop relationships by learning to give, share, and request through proper communication. Anyone that has worked with recovering individuals are accustomed to their frustrations that no one cares or statements about how the world is evil, etc. These feelings are partly caused by a lack of skills in learning to establish affinity within others and from the beginning of treatment, they should be learning how to be successful in this arena personal relations. It has been found that relapse is many times caused by a feeling of not belonging in their world. It is always easier for most recovering individuals to resort to alcohol and drug use rather than bonding with those that care for their success. Learning the skills of developing relationships helps ensure that they can establish meaningful and supporting connections in the treatment center and beyond.

This process can take be accomplished in different therapeutic methods, but you should see that there are practices in an ideal rehab center that addresses this problem. Drugs cause people to individuate or introvert. Removing the drugs doesn't immediately change this condition, which may have actually been one of the reasons that alcohol and drugs became important to their survival. We have all heard that alcohol is a communication solvent, or lubricates the social environment. It does so by relieving the person of their awareness of their communications and takes away their critical thinking, leaving everyone on lower, but louder level of communication. As well all know, this level of communication is far from being what is needed to have meaningful relationships that can sustain and support anyone, especially someone that is rehabilitating his abilities to create a meaningful and supporting group of friends, associates and, ultimately intimate relations.

Many times a drug treatment center will take for granted that their clients can communicate because of their abilities to manipulate others for drugs and actions of that nature, but it is remarkable how out of touch they are with their own social and psychological needs and those of others, not to mention the spiritual sides of their lives. Addressing communication in the beginning of the programs enhances the clients ability to better understand his own needs and to express those needs to his counselors and other staff in the programs.

THOROUGH BODY DETOX..presently, there are few programs that address the toxic state of most alcohol and drug addicts. For years people have commented on how alcohol and drugs causes premature aging, and even though it was noticed, it was always assumed it was due to the stressful life style of those that are abusing themselves with chemicals. However, further research has shown that most drugs and the metabolites of alcohol are fat soluble and when the liver and kidneys can't clean the blood stream quickly enough to ensure that the brain and other organs are not threatened, the body's wisdom is to "push" these drugs into the dormant fat tissue of the body. Not only are these clients toxic from the alcohol and drug use, but they have industrial chemicals, pesticides, food additives and preservatives and radiation. If you take a cross section of chronic drug addicts, you will find a larger percentage of people with a history of having occupations where they could become toxic, like painters, are choosing drugs, probably to cover the toxic uncomfortableness they feel from their work. Many alcoholics and drug addicts have been treated, usually inappropriately, with psychiatric medication, which adds to the toxic concoction in their fat tissues.

Biophysical programs use prescribed periods in sauna baths, exercise, and vitamins/minerals supplementation as a means to release and accelerate the elimination of toxic chemical from the body's fat tissue storage. It is known that drugs of abuse and their metabolites may be retained fro extended periods of time in body tissues, usually in tissues of high fat content, such as the brain and adipose tissue, where, depending on the drug, they may remain for an extended time. 3-5, The prolonged bodily storage of commonly abused substances was documented as early as 1957 for LSD 6; by 1977 for amphetamine compounds8 and by 1988 for cocaine7 PCP (phencyclidine) has also been shown to persist in fat and brain tissue, which is thought may account for some long-lasting behavioral effects9. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), an active ingredient in marijuana, has been detected in fat tissue for up to four weeks after last use10. Sensitive measurement techniques have detected THC in blood and urine up to two months following discontinued use, a fact that strongly suggest that the presence of THC was due to its release from storage in fatty tissue11.

From this evidence, we have the scientific basis for why it is important to have a proven method to eliminate these toxins from the body. Not only are they interfering with the health of the addict, but just as importantly, they are causing him to vividly remember his drug incidences rather than being more prone to stay in present time or to be totally in the here and now. The way that these residues can effect a person is similar to when someone smells a perfume that he hasn't smelt in years, but upon the chemical reaction through his nose, he is now vividly in the past when he last encountered that perfume. This phenomenon of recalling drug use with vivid chemical restimulations is a powerful contributor to relapse.

The incorporation of the sauna, with its deep cultural roots is an interesting element of the biophysical programs. Sauna has been traditionally considered by many societies as a source of energy, health and purification. It is popular in countries such as Finland where it plays an important social role. It is also common in Russia and Turkey. The sauna has had important healing and ceremonial functions among many aboriginal groups of the American continent. Contemporaneously, several Native American groups have incorporated sauna in rehabilitative substance abuse programs. 12-14.

Sauna exposure induces physiological responses; the increased thermal load increases circulation through the skin and induces subtle endocrine changes. Sweating mediated by the hypothalamus is associated with an increase in noradrenalin levels and activation of renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system 15. The concentration of beta-endorphin in blood is also increased16. The regimen prescribed as part of the biophysical programs includes a daily period of exercise of 30 minutes duration, followed immediately by session of sauna at 140º - 180Fº (60º to 80º C) for 2.5 to 5 hours. These temperatures are considered a "cool" sauna as opposed to those in most health spas. Short hydration breaks are provided to offset the loss of body fluids and for cooling. The sauna appears to be well tolerated and safe for most people 17,18.

From all of the research that we have done on a thorough cellular detoxification, the sauna detox seems to be the only effective method to remove these toxins from the alcoholic or addicts cells and to raise their abilities by removing another barrier to their feeling strong and capable again.

LEARNING PROBLEMS... Every treatment program faces the problem of teaching their clients new ideas of how to basically live successfully without alcohol or other drugs. However, everyone that has worked with people that are early in their "clean" state, who are no longer using alcohol and other drugs, will attest to the fact that it appears as though the drugs have damaged their abilities to read, remember and use new knowledge. The thorough detox of the cells and the reclaiming of as much as twenty points of IQ is essential to helping recover one's abilities to study, but there are other factors that cause this hardship other than physiological contamination. It appears as though the duplication process that we learn from using our brains through study has "taken a vacation" when the person is on drugs and their recovering these abilities takes longer than most clients will have in the program, so all effective programs have been faced with first helping to rehabilitate this learning disability before they can successfully teach new behaviors and attitudes. Most parents will report that their children had learning problems before they started using drugs and that their failure in school was one of the precipitating reasons for their original use of drugs.

Faced with these problems, effective treatment programs have some type of learning improvement system or course. If this isn't a part of the therapeutic processes, then you can assume that the person won't be gaining all of the knowledge needed to make significant changes in their thinking and behaviors.

This educational experience is particularly relevant for persons whose drug-oriented life style had them neglect their education or prevented them from applying their full potential. They may not have developed the discipline required to gain information and communicate effectively thus failed to learn information necessary for personal and occupational success in conventional society. This type of course also prepares the student to take advantage of the subsequent courses in the program,
It is striking to observe the positive response observed by participants courses that rehabilitate their learning, this is true both for educated persons who have developed addictions as well as those who neglected their education. This suggests an awareness of its importance was never lost.

THREAPEUTIC ACTIVITIES TO ENHANCE COMMUNICATION AND PERCEPTIONS...Addicts tend to live in the past, disregard the reality of the present and do not make realistic plans for the future. You hear loved ones say that they are just existing, that there isn't anything that is motivating them to change. This condition is typical for someone on alcohol and drugs and isn't an organic problem, but what happens when all of your feelings and motivations are driven by ones responses to the effects of alcohol and other drugs.

Effective programs have therapeutic activities that will address these problems and improve the individual's ability to focus on goals and objectives and to be persistent in their efforts so that they can experience the satisfaction of completing a task that they set out to accomplish. People on alcohol and drugs don't complete cycles of action. Anyone that has lived with a drugs user, especially someone on methamphetamines will tell you that they start many projects but will leave them unfinished and in complete disarray. These types of cognitive activities are done on a gradient so that the clients can feel they have accomplished one level of success before they are asked to build on that skill. This ingredient is very important since most people on alcohol and drugs have had an opposite experience in their education. Because of any number of reasons, most people that are having difficulty winning in life can trace their problems back to problems with school and, later, with work.

Feeling as though you can't be successful in life and feeling as though there are others that can play the life game at a much higher level than you is a description of poor self-esteem, and it can usually be trace back to schooling where the gradient of learning was presented without attention to what prerequisite earning is or isn't in place before asking for new knowledge. This type of mass education has been part and parcel of many public and private education programs and is almost universal among addicted youth.

Most addiction can be traced back to an attempt to feel good, to escape from a persistent problem or mediate a medical issue. Understanding and learning from life requires communication skills, whether they be written, oral or non-verbal. Effective programs have activities, exercises or drills, where individuals learn to read and appropriately respond to social cues, including those with negative content. From these therapeutic activities, the clients achieve greater self-control and direction as well as interpersonal communication. As a person recovers from the isolation of addiction, they will make their biggest gains when they can help others and not be overly self-consumed. Some effective programs use co-counseling to achieve this goal, but all programs have ways in which the clients can begin to take on more responsibility for others while they are in residence at the program. This principle of assuming responsibility for each other is considered to be an important element in their recovery.

Sometime in the therapeutic process, the clients need to become more aware of their surroundings or reality in its objective state, as opposed to his subjective thoughts about his environment. Every parent of an addict has witnessed periods when their addicted child would be terribly angry at a friend or associate and be making claims about the subject of their anger that appeared to almost be hallucinations. One's subjective thoughts form his perception of reality and when on alcohol and drugs, these "circuits" can become very confused. These perceptions are from the past and for the client to do well, he needs to be in present time and communicating with others about a shared reality. That sums up the importance of this therapeutic element.

EDUCATION .... Recovering from addiction does require certain therapies, as described above, but to ensure that there is lasting success, effective programs have two to three times more education than therapies. Everyone that is addicted has his own story, which is unique, but the lessons of living a successful life work universally for everyone. It is found that most addicted persons have gotten misinformation about life, somewhere during their development. It needs to be understood that there are certain truths that make for success in every part of the world and in every culture. Most effective learning comes from within the person, but is stimulated by stories and education that conveys success or pro-social activities For instance, education that helps the clients to identify those elements shared by individuals who engage in pro-social/successful behaviors from those who don't. Through this process the clients become aware of the often deceptive and cunning strategies of those who encourage addicting life styles.

The education trains the clients to examine their own past social behavior and to place it along a scale of being pro-social or antisocial. In this process the client learns to identify traits that support pro-social behaviors such as honesty or sobriety and contrast them with those which lead to drug use. This is a time of education, but also introspection and social learning that will help them choose appropriate social contacts in life. This type of education leads to one's examination of interpersonal motives. Many addicts have found relationships that are either overly protective or rudely destructive, rather than finding a balance of support and loving freedom..

For this learning to change behavior, it shouldn't be didactic presentations, but rather activities where the clients are actively involved in acting out the behaviors being taught and experienced. This ensures that the client fully understands how to carry out a full cycle of communication, improve his or her ability to face up to and deal with challenging situations and accomplish a series of cognitive gains. Through communication exercises and drills, individuals learn to read and deal appropriately with social cues, including those with a negative content, these activities help to achieve greater self-control and direction. Clients need to learn to use interpersonal communication to help and counsel others; once they have accomplished this, they assume responsibility for each other and co-counseling. This principle of assuming responsibility for each other is considered to be an important element in their recovery.

The next step is increase a client's awareness of the present-time surroundings while improving focus and concentration.

In terms of education, there needs to be some study on how individuals who engage in pro-social behaviors actually respond to communication in their environment. In this process the client becomes aware of the often deceptive and cunning strategies of those who encourage addicting life styles. The client should be trained to examine his own past social behavior and to place it along social or antisocial categories. The client should learn to identify traits that supported pro- social behavior such as honesty or sobriety and contrast them with those which lead to drug use.

With this learning, the clients are helped to consider the consequences of their perceptions and their own behavior in their social environment. For example, a client is invited to examine how as the individual adopts the life style of the drug addict, she/he also adopts negative attitudes toward people formerly close to them, such as family and friends who accept conventional values and authority figures. The addict tends to associate and identify with antisocial individuals who have adopted destructive lifestyles.

The ability to distinguish between who is and is not a true friend is very important, particularly once the client returns to his home or work environment. The ability to correctly identify antisocial individuals or groups is considered to be an important factor in the client's recovery from addictive substances.


Addicts and alcoholics have a lack of respect for conventional ethical norms and engagement in repeated transgressions are common among addicts. Individuals addicted to alcohol and drugs tend to commit further transgressions to support or conceal their drug use. This behavior often becomes ingrained and the person may try to self-justify such actions with convoluted and self- destructive arguments.

The learning process asks the client to give examples of transgressions to the ethical code that he has observed from others in the past. This provides opportunity to present examples of transgressions against principles such as honesty, truthfulness, personal commitment, individual integrity, interpersonal responsibility, commitment to promised allegiance, etc. The exercises indirectly assist the student in the definition of values, which he may later make his own. Clients should be asked asked to provide examples of transgressions in which he has been involved. He then is asked to identify how and when misdeeds of omission or commission occurred, who was involved and what harm resulted. Through this cathartic experience, the addict may have opportunity to experience relief from guilt. An important element of this learning is taking responsibility for the consequences to others resulting for these transgressions.


Being productive is a positive characteristic of the human condition. A person is a productive being who delivers products not as part of a job or commercial exchanges, but along a broad range of personal and interpersonal situations. A product can be as varied providing a stable and supportive environment for one's family or assisting a friend, or doing a good job at work. The common denominator is that they are furnish high quality services or articles delivered to a consumer in exchange for something valuable to their survival, beyond monetary value to include good will, friendship, and a sense of contributing to a worthy cause.

This isn't a total comprehensive description of a competent treatment center since space and reason wouldn't allow for such a description, but it does give the reader the idea of how exacting a clinical regime should be to make changes in an addict's behavior. This article didn't address what is done if a client misbehaves or other important aspects of treatment, but the reader should realize that programs that say that they have individual, small and large group therapy do not understand what it takes to reform addiction.

Good programs cannot concentrate their energy on the psychodynamics of the addict. It has been proven that psychiatry can't cure addiction and programs that are basically psychiatric wanna-bes are ineffective and will only compound the problem. Most programs leave the public feeling as though there is some highly intricate process being run by highly educated professionals that would be impossible for the lay public to understand... this is categorically fraud! If the program doesn't make sense, then ask yourself why you think it will make sense to someone whose thinking is impaired by being toxic on alcohol and other drugs?

We can't over-emphasize how many INEFFECTIVE treatment programs are available and are trying to convince you that they will handle your or your loved one's addiction. Take the time to learn the TRUTH! It took me a Master's degree, work on my doctorate and fifteen years of confusion before I saw the truth. Call us before you waste your time and money, not to mention the pain and suffering that will continue.

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Contact Colorado Drug Rehab, helps you make decisions on a drug rehab treatment center as well as helping your get the best alcohol and drug assessments and evaluations. We are Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselors that have reviewed over 150 rehab centers, on site, and performed more than 500 alcohol and drug assessments and evaluations, and can share our experiences and help you find the best program or get a fair and honest alcohol or drug assessment to help you with legal issues or help you find what level of treatment or rehab is most appropriate!