Luxury Rehab in Houston, TX

A description like luxury rehab in Houston, Texas, might make you think of luxury resorts or luxury hotels. The real luxury, however, is the healthcare professional-to-client ratio and treatment options. 

At a luxury rehab in Houston, TX, the accommodations, food, furnishings, and facilities probably are nicer than a bare-bones inner city rehab for alcohol and drug use disorders. The location is more likely surrounded by nature—trees, grass, hiking trails, bodies of water (or at least a pool), maybe mountains—than gray skyscrapers. The thread count on the sheets is probably high, too. 

What luxury rehabs are not is some jet-set refuge from the law and bad publicity for movie actors and reality stars to pretend to get rehab. Luxury rehab is still mainly about rehab. The real “luxury” of these facilities is more and better options. 

The Cost of Luxury Rehab

The cost of luxury rehab in Houston, TX, is nothing compared to the cost of untreated substance use disorders in Texas and the United States as a whole. A 2018 report found that Texas lost $350 million annually because people with SUDs had to go to the emergency room. 

Add other expenses brought on by drug abuse—healthcare, business losses due to poor productivity, drug law enforcement, and incarceration—and Texas loses $20 billion per year; the U.S. loses $500 billion. 

Even those figures could be underestimated because they don’t include co-occurring medical conditions such as hepatitis, co-occurring mental health disorders, and injuries caused indirectly by drug or alcohol impairment.

Substance Abuse in Houston, TX

Texas is the second-largest state by population, with almost 9% (8.74%) of the U.S. population (though only 23rd by population density per square mile). By most measures, its drug abuse stats don’t match, falling near the bottom (third from last for use, addiction, and overdose deaths) 

Houston’s 2,325,350 population, the largest among Texas cities, makes up nearly half of Harris County’s 4,813,160. Harris County is the third-largest county in the U.S., and Houston is the fourth-largest city. 

Yet Harris County’s rate of drug overdose deaths per 100,000 residents (12.4) is lower than the nation’s as a whole (21.0) though higher than that of Texas (10.6). 

Texas also has a low rate of people with “unmet drug-treatment needs” (fourth from the bottom) but also one of the lowest numbers (second from bottom) of drug treatment centers per 100,000 drug users. 

Top Drug Threats in Houston, TX

Although opioid abuse remains a top concern nationwide among drug treatment providers and law enforcement, in 2019, Texas analysts considered methamphetamine and cocaine to be greater threats. 

This may be in part because opioids have more treatment options than stimulants: relapse prevention with medication-assisted treatment (MAT), such as buprenorphine (Suboxone) and methadone; and the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone (Narcan). 

It may also be because fentanyl—a super-opioid that can be 50 times as potent as heroin—hadn’t become as big a problem in Texas at the time. From 2019 to 2021, however, fentanyl overdose deaths in Harris County increased threefold, much faster than the overall drug overdose death rate. 

A December 2021 drug bust in Houston found far larger quantities of meth and cocaine (300 pounds-plus each) and fentanyl (40 pounds) than heroin (13 pounds). 

Alcohol also remains a surprisingly large problem, despite Texas’ relatively low use rate (compared to other states; Utah, despite its teetotal Mormon population, leads the list). 

Drunk driving is a major problem. Texas led the nation in alcohol-related traffic deaths in 2019 and had the fourth-highest rate. (The overall alcohol-related death rate in Texas is much lower but rising: from 8.7 per 100,000, the 12th-lowest rate, in 2019, up 8% to 10.7, the 10th-lowest rate in 2020.) 

In Harris County, the number of alcohol-related deaths jumped 36% between 2019 and 2020, and that was before COVID-19 stay-at-home orders increased drinking across the nation by 32.2%. 

The estimated cost of untreated substance abuse in the U.S. is $600 billion annually. Reducing that cost with rehab—even luxury rehab—seems worthwhile.

What is a Luxury Rehab in Houston, TX?

Just what a luxury rehab offers will depend on the rehab. There are no standards and no mandatory amenities required to call your facility a luxury rehab beyond what is required to be a substance abuse rehab facility. 

Any properly licensed and certified rehab in Houston, TX, should provide:

  • An intake evaluation of each client to devise an individual treatment plan. This should include determining if a co-occurring mental health disorder (a dual diagnosis) exists. 
  • Detoxification and medical monitoring if withdrawal is not complete.
  • Talk therapy (psychotherapy), especially cognitive-behavioral therapy. 
  • Twelve-step facilitation or access to other, non-12-step peer fellowship groups. 
  • Instruction on how drugs affect the brain and why it’s difficult to quit
  • The option of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to maintain sobriety and prevent relapse as needed. 
  • Aftercare: A relapse prevention strategy to remain sober after treatment ends.

Luxury rehab in Houston, TX, usually is more expensive than a non-luxury one. That’s due to many factors. 

A luxury rehab:

  • Has private or semi-private rooms, probably no more than two clients per room, and nicer furnishings. 
  • Has catered meals or an on-site chef. 
  • Has a workout room with gym equipment.
  • Has an attractive setting: grass, trees, a (natural or artificial) body of water, walking trails, hills, or mountains. 
  • Has Wi-Fi and allows personal electronics devices (laptop and tablet computers, smartphones). It may also have a business center so executives can continue to work remotely (if therapy allows) during their rehab. 
  • Is almost always residential (inpatient). Non-luxury rehab can be outpatient, with the client only visiting the center for several hours a week. 

Other Differences between Luxury and Non-Luxury Rehabs

Those are the superficial differences. They may make going to and staying in rehab seem more attractive. Other differences may have more of an influence on the effectiveness of treatment. 

One factor is the staff-to-client ratio. If there are too few healthcare professionals per client (patient), care may be affected. That makes it challenging to monitor or respond to client needs. In addition, each staff member is generally responsible for fewer clients in a luxury rehab. 

Another is the number and type of treatment options. For example, if all rehab does is keep clients away from drugs or alcohol for 30 or 90 days, relapse (and overdose death) is more likely when the client leaves treatment. Rehab is a pause during which the client must learn to understand their addiction and change their behaviors. 

In addition to the standard treatments that any good rehab will offer, luxury rehab may offer a wider range of adjunct therapies, including: 

More behavioral therapies 

CBT is the gold standard, but there are additional therapies that may work better for some individuals or types of addiction, such as: 

  • Athletes may do better with rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT).
  • People with co-occurring borderline personality disorder (BPD) may be helped with dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). 
  • Offering incentives—cash, prizes, privileges, or affirmations—with contingency management can reinforce sobriety among veterans. 
  • People with cocaine or other stimulant use disorders sometimes respond better to the Matrix Model.

Holistic therapies

Most therapies at most rehab centers are based on science or evidence: methods that have been proven to work or, if still new, are based on scientific principles. 

Other treatments have not been shown to work or have not been scientifically evaluated, but many people believe they can help. Some of these are based on traditional medicine or philosophies. They address the whole person, not just addiction or mental health. They may include physical exercise and meditation.

These are holistic therapies called complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). They may help with or improve recovery in conjunction with conventional addiction medicine. They include:

  • Acupuncture, particularly ear or auricular acupuncture, reduces cravings.
  • Yoga, tai chi, and Qigong involve poses and gentle movement to encourage peaceful contemplation.
  • Equine therapy: caring for and riding horses to improve empathy and calm. 
  • Music therapy: playing, writing, and listening to music to express emotions. 

Support for college students

Most addictions (86%) start before the age of 25 because that’s when the brain is still developing and is most susceptible to addiction. For many, that coincides with college, when young people have more freedom and opportunities when they are most keen to explore new experiences. 

Luxury rehab is not always an option for college students because of its high cost and because of the difficulty of attending college while in rehab. Individuals can attend college online, and luxury rehabs tend to have better Wi-Fi, but time in rehab should be devoted to recovery mentally, physically, and spiritually. The necessities of recovery may allow for the pursuit of education.

The temptations of campus life, where binge drinking and drug experimentation are common, might also make college a challenge post-rehab. It takes more than a year for dopamine levels in the brain to return to (almost) normal following abstinence, and relapse remains a lifelong possibility. (The average number of serious attempts before recovery is five, though half succeed after two.)

A type of luxury rehab is a sober living community. The University of Houston offers Cougars in Recovery, a sober living campus and living situation where students with qualifying grades and at least six months of sobriety receive recovery support services (aftercare) but not addiction treatment. At CIR, they can live, attend classes, and engage in normal student social activities while remaining alcohol and drug-free.

While a luxury rehab may not be necessary for recovery, it does have more treatment options. The added amenities may also make people more likely to remain in treatment.

Sources

Sources

  1. hhs.texas.gov – Study on Substance Abuse Treatment Services
  2. crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov – Alcohol-Impaired Driving
  3. wallethub.com/edu – Drug Use by State: 2021’s Problem Areas
  4. kff.org – Drug Overdose Death Rate (per 100,000 population)
  5. kff.org – Opioid Overdose Death Rates and All Drug Overdose Death Rates per 100,000 Population (Age-Adjusted)
  6. socialwork.utexas.edu – State of Texas Drug Use Patterns and Trends, 2019
  7. healthyntexas.org – Death Rate due to Drug Poisoning
  8. dfw.cbslocal.com – Justice Department, DEA, Dallas Police Arrest 20 Drug Dealers In ‘Operation Shut Down Corner’
  9. kff.org – Opioid Overdose Deaths by Type of Opioid
  10. nbcdfw.com – ‘Russian Roulette’: Fentanyl Overdoses Double in Fort Worth In Last Year
  11. kff.org – Alcohol-Induced Death Rate (per 100,000 population)
  12. niaaa.nih.gov – Alcohol Facts and Statistics
  13. sunshinebehavioralhealth.com – Texas Rehab Centers & Addiction Treatment
  14. nami.org – Psychotherapy
  15. samhsa.gov – Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
  16. link.springer.com – Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy
  17. frontiersin.org – Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), Irrational and Rational Beliefs, and the Mental Health of Athletes
  18. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – Dialectical Behavior Therapy: Current Indications and Unique Elements
  19. mayoclinic.org – Borderline personality disorder: Symptoms & causes
  20. case.edu – Motivational Interviewing
  21. drugabuse.gov – 12-Step Facilitation Therapy (Alcohol, Stimulants, Opiates)
  22. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – Contingency management: what it is and why psychiatrists should want to use it
  23. nida.nih.gov – The Matrix Model (Stimulants)
  24. va.gov – Substance Use Disorder Treatment: Complementary Approaches
  25. galehealthcaresolutions.com – Nurse-to-Patient Ratios: A State-by-State Guide
  26. samhsa.gov – Age of Substance Use Initiation among Treatment Admissions Aged 18 to 30
  27. dshs.texas.gov – Addressing Substance Use in Texas
  28. dallasisd.org – Alcohol and Drug Intervention Program
  29. counseling.utdallas.edu – Student Counseling Center
  30. dallascollege.edu – Counseling and Psychological Services
  31. smu.edu – Substance Abuse and Recovery Services

Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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