Drug Dependency and Addiction Treatment: LA and Orange County Programs Though Southern California has a stronger reputation as a hub of excessive drug and alcohol use than a mecca of addiction treatment, LA and its surrounding areas have become home to some of the world’s finest rehabilitation programs. California is still home to plenty of practicing alcoholics and addicts, but the health-conscious culture that has sprung up in this region over the last two decades has given way to a plethora of programs in alcohol and drug addiction treatment. LA and Orange counties together now constitute the most vibrant recovery community on the globe. What is addiction? Addiction, to both alcohol and drugs, is the phenomenon of physical and psychological dependence on a substance. Though drug use may go on for a period of time without causing much destruction, any long-term drug user will reach a point when this behavior begins to disrupt other areas of his or her life. Whereas a non-addicted individual chooses to discontinue a behavior when it becomes problematic, an addict continues to use substances in spite of considerable negative consequences. These consequences may be legal, occupational, financial, familial, or of any other variety, so long as they represent a counter-intuitive decision to prioritize drug use above other aspects of life. Why treatment? Why can’t addicts just stop? The addiction faced by individuals who find themselves in such a predicament is twofold – its grip is both physiological and psychological. With regular consumption of any foreign substance, the mind and body adjust their definitions of normality so that intoxication becomes the expected default state. If addicts attempt to suddenly discontinue using the substance to which their mind and body are addicted, they will experience frightening reactions from both of these systems. The body will respond, depending on the substance in question, by producing feelings ranging from discomfort to severe pain. With some substances, such as opiates, alcohol, and benzodiazepines, detoxification of the body is extremely dangerous if not done under medical supervision. In addiction treatment, LA and elsewhere, medically regulated detoxification is provided as the first segment of treatment. Mentally, a similar panic takes place upon rapid cessation of substance intake. Accustomed to a state of intoxication, the mind is unsure of how to read and interpret signals without the substance it has grown used to. Dopamine and serotonin levels are also skewed. These phenomena add up to a high likelihood of emotional imbalance and intense fear in the initial phase of detoxification. Mental and emotional instability will persist until the mind reestablishes equilibrium, another reason that addicts are safest sobering up in addiction treatment. LA and surrounding areas offer the finest treatment programs, which allow addicts a safe detoxification process as well as the strong rehabilitative curriculum they need in order to cultivate a healthy new beginning. Choosing a facility for addiction treatment: LA and OC Once an addict has made the decision that he or she is ready to accept help, a second important decision must be made: What program should be chosen for addiction treatment? LA and Orange Counties offer an unrivaled selection of top-of-the line treatment programs, and have the added appeal of year-round sunshine. Many of these California treatment facilities are located in beach communities, utilizing the naturally uplifting weather and the healing power of the ocean to set the tone for recovery. Even after a location has been pinpointed, there are many other points to consider when selecting a program of addiction treatment. LA and Orange Counties have a wide variety to choose from, which can make the decision overwhelming. An incredibly important option to consider is choosing a gender-specific treatment program over a co-ed facility. Though the disease of addiction preys on both men and women without discrimination, the ways that this disease manifests and the effects it has in one’s life differ greatly depending on gender. For women suffering from addiction, the disease is often accompanied by issues like depression, anxiety, low self esteem, and codependency. Many female addicts also have a history of physical or sexual abuse, which results in many cases of dual-diagnosis for addiction and PTSD. In an all-female treatment program, all of these topics can be comfortably addressed. Though not directly related to substance abuse, these issues must be looked at and worked through in order for a woman to start off recovery with a clean slate. The shame and self-loathing that fueled self-destruction for so long must be converted into self-respect and self-love. Safe Harbor: A new home The leader of the pack in Southern California women’s rehabilitation, Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women offers a deeply nurturing program of addiction treatment. LA and Orange Counties are home to many reputable drug treatment centers, but Safe Harbor is unique its familial ambiance. Utilizing a multi-lateral treatment program of structured therapeutic groups, individual counseling, 12-step meetings, and life skills development, Safe Harbor affords women the opportunity to dive head-first into recovery, placing unlimited resources at their fingertips. Groups like Relapse prevention, Hypnotherapy, Nutrition, Body Image, Healthy Relationships, Experiential Therapy, and Art Therapy allow women at Safe Harbor to explore the root causes of their drug addiction and face the demons they once sought to quiet with substances. 12-step meetings, individual therapy, and the day-to-day experience of building friendships with other women in recovery enrich the treatment program. Safe Harbor’s sisterhood of sober living residents, alumnae, case managers, and support staff is unparalleled, giving women the love and nurturing they need to be reborn. The physical, mental, emotional and spiritual cleansing that takes place at Safe Harbor is what sets it apart from other programs of addiction treatment. LA and Orange Counties can offer no treatment program more comprehensive in its approach, nor more welcoming in its energy. Any woman who has made the decision to leave drugs behind her and begin anew need look no further than Safe Harbor, where she will find that a new home awaits her.