Join Date: Sep 2004
Considering residential treatment?
I wrote this in response to someone's thread but I thought I'd also post it as it's own thread. I know that there are people here who are considering going to an inpatient facility, or wondering if they're "sick" enough to need that level of treatment, or wondering why residential is different than other programs, etc. Just a clarification - when I'm talking about inpatient and residential programs this does NOT refer to detoxing in a psych ward, or staying for a week or two in a psych ward or hospital. Residential and inpatient programs are SOO different than hospital programs (most of my hospital/detox/psych ward stays were not good). Anyway, here's a little about my experiences with residential treatment faciliites (if anyone's interested!)....
Since 2001 I've been to 5 residential treatment centers since, although none of those stays were for opiate addiction - 3 of the stays were for severe anorexia and the other 2 stays were for depression. I have also done outpatient programs as well (IOP = intensive outpatient) and (PHP = partial hospitalization program). Having to go into treatment multiple times is not unusual for someone dealing with anorexia - the statistics say that it takes on average 5-7 years to recover, and that most women will need more than one treatment stay. I'm not sure what it's like for drugs/alcohol but I've met a lot of people who struggled with those addictions and had also been in multiple places. One of the places I've been to is Menninger in Texas - I was there for depression but I was on the same unit as addictions, bipolar, self harm, etc, and many had been to at least one other center. Please don't be discouraged by this - there are definitely people who beat it the first time around!!
Depending on where you're at with your addiction, in my case anorexia, determines what level of treatment you need. It's really different for everyone - for myself I went into residential treatment for health reasons/weight gain/tube feeding, my addiction (anorexia is also considered an addiction) had taken over my life and because my outpatient treatment wasn't working. I was continuing to lose weight despite a high level of outpatient care and that is an indication that a higher level of care is needed.
My residential stays were all amazing and I got some great things (coping skills, etc) out of each stay. The shortest stay I had was 3 and a half months and the longest stay was 7 months. They say that the longer the stay, the better, and for me that was the case, especially for the anorexia. When you go inpatient you leave behind everything - the environment where you practiced your addictive behaviors, chaos at home/work/family/etc, and the everyday stressors of life. That allows you to focus soley on recovery and on yourself, which is something that I've found very difficult to do while in outpatient programs. If you're struggling to come off of drugs or alcohol and you are seeing a lot of outpatient providers and that is not helping is an indication that you likely need a higher level of care. Other people don't even need to see outpatient providers to be put inpatient - if you're addiction is way out of control (or for me my weight was way too low) then your doctor/psych/whoever would consider sending you straight to a progrram.
While in a program you have 24 hour support. You're assigned a therapist who you typically meet with anywhere from 2-4 days a week. You also have groups ALL DAY LONG... it's basically like a 40-hour work week and honestly is exhausting. It's exhausting because you're doing a lot of hard work - looking into yourself and figuring out why you are addicted, etc, you're going over your past and for me it was hard due to a rape/attack I have in my past, among other things. It's hard to explain but doing all of that work on yourself really is tiring. The groups that I've had in different center are: relapse prevention, process group, 12 step (I wasn't forced into it), body image, art therapy, coping skills (either DBT or CBT), relaxation (yoga, meditation, etc), family therapy, indivdual therapy, etc.
Most places have a family week or weekend where you're family (whoever you want in your family) comes out to the facility and goes through some groups to give them a better understanding of addictions, have family therapy together. The best family week I've ever had was at Remuda Ranch... they do a week-long family week and it was just amazing. It brought my family closer, gave them a much better understanding of eating disorders, and much more. I can't explain it too well but they are known for their family weeks and I never had another family week that even came close! My family was already really supportive of my struggles but after family week we became way more open with each other and each of us grew in different ways.
While you're staying at a residential facility you are around peers who share similar struggles and that is just HUGE in recovery. Prior to treatment I felt that no one understood why I was doing what I was, and I felt isolated in my eating disorder thinking that I did crazy things that no one else would ever even think about doing. Well, once in treatment I found that most of the women there had done those "crazy" things that I did and that I was not that unique in my addiction afterall! Throughout my stays I made some great friends - you all go to groups together, you live together, eat meals together, get to know each other on a very deep level, share struggles and victories with people who really understand, and get support when you're having a hard time. I found that just about everyone I met in treatment was nonjudgemental because we were all there for one reason or another - clearly none of us were "perfect" or better than others!
It's ironic because every time I've entered treatment I was scared, apprehensive and on the verge of leaving in the days after I arrived, but then when it came time for me to leave it was incredibly hard! I think I cried everytime! I was leaving behind the wonderful people I'd met, the therapists and staff who had helped me on my journey to recovery, the safety of the environment (it's like you live in a bubble), etc. The residential facilities that I've been to have all been great - nice and caring staff, nice facilities, decent food and the other residents were always pretty cool once you get to know them.
Now, the only downside to these residential treatment facilities is the price. It's so hard to get insurance companies to cover this stuff. However, they seem more willing to cover alcohol and drug addictions than they are with eating disorders. Even then, they usually only cover a percentage of a period of time (typically 30 days for drugs/alcohol). The first one I went to for 3 and a half months came to a total of around $60k and insurance didn't cover a dime. Another one that I was at for 4 months was around $70k... you get the idea. We've spent just over $200,000 on treatment facilities alone - and that's not even including my outpatient treatment - therapist, doctor, psychiatrist, short hospital stays (either in the psych ward for suicide or in the medical hospital for stabilization for anorexia). I think total we've spent about $400,000. My insurance rarely covered any inpatient stays and if they did it was something like 10%. Ridiculous.
I've struggled with incredible guilt that my parents had to spend all that money on me... I would beat myself up with thoughts like "why can't I just eat?" or "why didn't the first time work?" and "I'm such a huge burden, it would be easier if I was dead" and "what if this time doesn't work?", etc. It took me awhile to accept that my parents chose to spend their money on this and, as my dad puts it, they would rather have me and not the money than to have the money but not have me. Fortunately my family was able to spend the money and not have it effect anything but I know that most people aren't that fortunate. However, there are grants and scholarship and financial aid programs that a lot of places offer. Even if you don't think you have the money it's well worth looking into! About a year ago when I was trying to go off norco I looked into some treatment options. I am not willing to let my parents pay for anymore treatment stays (I'm 32) but they still help me out with the outpatient appointments) so I had to find somewhere that offered assistance. Betty Ford offered some good assistance... I think they're price is something like $23k and after reviewing my case they dropped it to $7,000. So definitely don't give up if you don't have the funds!
Sorry this is such a LONG post! It's just hard to condense this stuff! There's so much more that I could have said! Let me know if you have any questions - even questions on certain facilities. I've met so many people along the way that have been to multiple places so I can offer some info. I'm sure there are people out there who have been to programs and have something to add to this and that would be great!
Last edited by lizzy76; 06-19-2008 at 12:03 PM.
Reason: title change