How Does Insurance Work for Addiction Treatment?

Once a person has made the decision that he or she needs to seek treatment for addiction, one of his or her main concerns is how to pay for it. The good news is that there are some insurance options for them to choose from to help with the cost of addiction treatment. Both public and private health insurance typically covers at least a portion of the expenses for inpatient and outpatient treatment for all types of addiction.

As addiction awareness has increased over the last several years, insurance companies have come to a better understanding that addiction is, in fact, a medical condition that is very treatable. They recognize that covering the cost of addiction treatment can be far less costly than covering the costs of all the negative medical effects of substance abuse, including psychological or psychiatric care that often accompanies both substance addictions and behavioral addictions throughout an addict’s lifetime. So now, insurance providers view addiction treatment programs as a precautionary medical concern.

Health insurance companies do not make a profit unless their customers lead healthy and productive lifestyles. Thus, they typically make it a point to offer coverage, or partial coverage, of addiction treatment to individual policy-holders as well as employers who offer employees health insurance.

If you need help determining if you have access to benefits for addiction treatment, whether it is partial or complete coverage, and which facilities are covered by your policy, you can contact your health insurance provider to find out. Knowing what is available to you is important because the cost of treatment can be a major expense.

Public Insurance

For those individuals whose insurance doesn’t include behavioral health coverage or substance abuse treatment programs, they may be able to obtain public insurance to make inpatient treatment affordable. Some treatment facilities are partially or completely subsidized by the government, so they accept federal or state medical insurance for full or partial payment for their services. Those facilities often have specific guidelines, like income requirements, so you would have to contact them to see how to determine whether you qualify for their programs.

In situations where inpatient treatment isn’t feasible or available, you may find nonprofit organizations that provide addiction treatment programs that accept monthly installment payments using a sliding scale based on income to determine the cost. While payments may continue long after the addiction treatment program is completed, using one of these types of facilities may allow you to get the help you need while keeping monthly payments as low as possible.

If you are thinking about addiction treatment, you should evaluate your insurance plan with your agent, insurance provider, or your employer’s benefits department to find out exactly what they will cover and what you will be responsible for.

Private Insurance

Obtaining private insurance may cost you more than public insurance, but typically the healthcare choices you receive is more comprehensive than what is provided by government-supported plans. These benefits are especially helpful when you realize that you or someone in your family needs addiction or substance abuse treatment.

Private insurance is any healthcare insurance that is provided by an employer or that is obtained and paid for by an individual. People who have private insurance are able to avail themselves to a wide selection of benefits, including:

  • A bigger selection. With private insurance plans, you will find that there are a large number of drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities and programs to choose from.
  • Price. You will likely not have a lot of out-of-pocket expense for addiction treatment if you have private insurance. Of course, that depends upon your deductibles, but it’s typically a lot less expensive than if you had public insurance.
  • Inpatient drug or alcohol rehab.Residential treatment, where the patients live for a period of time, is often the best solution for early recovery. With private insurance, you are more likely to be able to afford residential care.
  • High-end drug and alcohol rehab. Your private insurance may even allow you to attend more exclusive rehabs. They usually offer more luxurious amenities than regular residential treatment, like gourmet food, private rooms, and fitness instruction.
  • Holistic rehab facilities and programs. These types of programs include traditional addiction treatment in conjunction with holistic approaches to recovery like acupuncture, meditation, and yoga.

Before You Decide Which Treatment is Best for You

It’s important that before you enter into treatment for drug or alcohol abuse or addiction, you understand exactly what your insurance benefits will and will not cover. You don’t want to find yourself in the vulnerable state of early recovery having to deal with shouldering the whole expense of your treatment.

Sometimes people who are seeking treatment for addiction don’t want their employers to find out about their addiction. Unfortunately, it’s usually necessary to consult with employers and their benefits departments in order to get the information necessary to attend treatment. If you have to take a leave of absence from work, know that there are laws and regulations that your employer has to follow regarding keeping your position with the company secure. The Family Medical Leave Act is something you should look into, as well as any short-term disability benefits your employer may be able to provide. If your employer offers it and you qualify, you may be able to continue to receive a paycheck even while you are in treatment.

Don’t assume that because you don’t have spectacular health insurance that you can’t go to rehab. At Serenity at Summit, we can help you explore what your insurance covers, and how you can attend treatment without financial hardship. Call us at 844-432-0416.

Serenity at Summit Announces Relocation To New Facility

The outpatient facility provides personalized addiction treatment in a welcoming environment

Serenity at Summit is proud to announce its relocation to a new outpatient facility at 83 Hanover Road, Suite 160, Florham Park, New Jersey. The new facility will continue to offer Summit’s unique brand of personalized addiction treatment programs for people suffering from substance abuse disorders and alcohol dependency.

“We’re happy to announce the relocation to our new home,” stated Tricia Kostin, Clinical Director of Florham Park. “Although we’re just a few miles down the road from our old location, we feel as if this is an expansion in many ways of what has made our facilities so well-equipped to help people on the road to recovery.”

The Florham Park facility provides intensive outpatient services catered to each client’s individual needs with our flexible scheduling, adult and adolescent programming and family support. Patients in the outpatient program have access to professional counseling and group therapy sessions that provide them with the skills necessary to progress on the road to recovery.

“Our outpatient addiction treatment programs include educational sessions, ongoing support, family counseling, and access to behavioral counselors in times of need,” Bethany Kassar, Executive Director of Outpatient Services. “We offer both adolescent and adult programs and conduct assessments to ensure that the team designs unique treatment programs based on each patient’s needs. Summit views addiction as a family disease and holistically treats the entire system by having a client’s family actively involved in the recovery process.

Patients who choose outpatient treatment can maintain their daily lifestyle and pursue education and career goals while also having the assurance of anonymity and privacy that some patients need because of the possible consequences that discovery of their addiction might cause professionally and personally. Summit’s treatment programs have multiple levels of intensity based on a patient’s clinical history and existing struggle with addiction.


Serenity at Summit programs are based on the fundamental belief that no single treatment philosophy or approach is best for everyone. Our experienced staff collaboratively creates each client’s treatment plan to reflect their unique needs and empower them to succeed. We partner with the individual to begin a transformational journey from hope to healing and beyond. Serenity at Summit operates addiction treatment centers that offer different treatment programs that include: drug and alcohol medical detox, inpatient treatment in a residential facility, and intensive and non-intensive outpatient treatment.

Pharmacogenetics: Individualized Drug Therapy for Addiction

Substance addiction is a very complex disorder with many factors at play, making it difficult for doctors to always know what the best method of treatment is for each of their patients. One area that is particularly challenging is medication-assisted treatment for addiction. Each individual has the potential to respond differently to medications that are prescribed to help aid recovery from drugs or alcohol, making it hard for prescribing physicians to know what will work and what might not.

Pharmacogenetic testing may make that easier for doctors working in addiction treatment. It will allow them to understand how an individual metabolizes specific prescription medications, making it much easier to find successful treatments.

What is Pharmacogenetic Testing?

Pharmacogenetics is the study of how an individual’s genes affects his or her response to medications. It is a fairly new field of study that combines pharmacology and genetics in order to develop the safest and most effective medications and to determine optimal doses for the person’s genetic makeup.

Most of the medications currently on the market are essentially one-size-fits-all, but they don’t cause the same results for everyone. Right now, it is hard for medical professionals to predict which patients will benefit from a specific drug, which patients will not respond, and which patients will have adverse drug reactions. These negative side effects cause a significant amount of hospitalizations and deaths each year. With the knowledge that medical professionals are able to gain from learning about how medications will interact with an individual’s genetic composition, they will be able to predict how the individual will react to the medication and help prevent adverse drug reactions.

While the field of pharmacogenetic testing is still in its infancy, it is hoped that it will greatly advance the effectiveness of drugs, when tailored to the individual, in the treatment of a range of health issues including cardiovascular disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, HIV/AIDS, psychiatric conditions, and addiction.

How Can Pharmacogenetic Testing Benefit Addiction Treatment?

Two people who seem to be very similar – same age, gender, socioeconomic background, and marital status – may also both be addicted to alcohol. However, the underlying genetic reasons that caused each of them to become alcoholics may be quite different. One may have a condition that reduces the release of dopamine, so that individual consumes alcohol for its dopamine-releasing powers. The other person may have a condition that inhibits their dopamine receptors and causes spikes in dopamine, so they drink to raise dopamine tone a different way.

Each of those two patients needs individualized treatment to address the unique genetic issues that caused his alcoholism. Knowing what exactly the underlying issues are, and which medications will be effective will help doctors to treat each patient individually based on their genetic needs, thus improving the outcomes of addiction treatment.

Benefits of Pharmacogenetic Testing

There are many benefits of pharmacogenetic testing. Not only will they allow doctors to treat each individual with a tailored treatment, they will also:

  • Provide more accurate diagnoses for patients
  • Allow for precise treatment of various co-occurring disorders, conditions, and diseases
  • Predict increased risks of developing disease later in life
  • Identify genetic changes that may be passed on to children
  • Screen children for conditions that require treatment as early as possible

Genetic testing is becoming more important in healthcare of all arenas as there is a shift toward higher-quality, evidence-based treatment. Research has shown that pharmacogenetic testing provides patients with up to 70% better effectiveness of treatment. Patients are more responsive to their customized treatments and appreciate the personalized genetic data. Being more informed and responsive to treatment often translates to a higher confidence level in the medical care they receive, which in turn, makes them more likely to experience success in the healing process.

From the Lab to Clinical Practice   

Now the question becomes when will using pharmacogenetic research to aid addiction treatment to be translated into clinical applications? And will the average patient be able to afford it?

Unfortunately, the type of tailored medical treatments that researchers are working on for addiction is still in progress. Experts in the field believe that some pharmacogenetictreatments for addiction (including nicotine and alcohol) may result in the next five to ten years. The approach is likely to be embraced, perhaps slowly, by medical professionals and patients alike.

The cost of genetic testing will continue to decrease as it becomes more ubiquitous. Patients were required to pay for genotype tests that identify one or few relevant mutations will no longer apply. It’s predicted that in the not too distant future, patients will see their doctor, have their entire genome sequenced, and have the information readily available for future medical issues.

How that information is interpreted and used to create specialized addiction treatments may be another story. We may be looking at that piece being 10 to 15 years away, but it’s clear that’s the direction addiction treatment is headed.

Traditional Addiction Treatment in the Meantime

Using pharmacogeneticsto develop treatment plans for addicts will not replace traditional treatment options, like those used at Serenity at Summit’s addiction treatment facilities. It’s believed that greater success will be achieved when both pharmacogenetics and traditional addiction treatments are used together. The knowledge that is learned through traditional treatment – rehabilitation, 12-step programs, relapse prevention, addiction education, and therapy will continue to be vital pieces in addiction recovery. Psychiatric care though will likely be greatly enhanced by pharmacogenetic testing which will increase the success of treatment overall.

Acupuncture for Addiction Treatment and Recovery

There are many different types of holistic therapies that can help with people who suffer from addiction. While many of them have to be used in conjunction with others to be effective, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies are becoming more popular for enhanced recovery from many medical conditions, mental illnesses, and addiction. One such treatment is acupuncture. It has been shown to be an effective treatment when added to your long-term recovery plan.

Acupuncture has long been practiced – it’s a 2,000-year-old treatment from China – and it is a low-risk treatment that can have positive effects on many body systems. Holistic drug and alcohol addiction rehabilitation facilities often use this treatment for patients alongside traditional treatments.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

Acupuncture therapy originated from traditional Chinese medicine as a way to heal illnesses and improve wellness over 2,000 years ago. Chinese medicine believes that energy flows through body pathways and that pain, illness, disease or other discomforts are thought to be blockages of the energy flow in those pathways. Acupuncture, which it the placement of very thin, sterile needles into specific areas of the skin, is used to bring the flow of energy back into balance.

Western medicine explains the benefits with neuroscience. The acupuncture points are viewed as areas where the stimulation of muscles, nerves, and body tissues increases the blood flow and triggers the release of endorphins. Acupuncture has recognizable effects on many body systems including the nervous, immune, digestive, and cardiovascular systems. There are very few known complications and side effects associated with this treatment.

Ear Acupuncture is Used for Addiction Recovery

Acupuncture can be effective throughout all stages of addiction recovery, from detox through long-term abstinence. There is a specific acupuncture treatment that is used for those with addiction called the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association protocol.

Acupuncture has been successful in helping ease the discomfort and cravings that are associated with the withdrawal phase of addiction recovery. Additionally, it is beneficial to the rehab process, improving patients’ willingness to engage in and complete treatment. Many people use acupuncture as a tool in their long-term recovery, as well.

The ear acupuncture treatment, also known as the NADA 5-point treatment, is done by inserting needles into five points on the outer ear area and leaving them for half an hour. The five acupuncture points in this treatment are:

Autonomic – Aids in relaxation and quiets the nervous system.

Spirit Gate – Lowers anxiety.

Kidney – Aids the healing of the body’s organs and soothes fears.

Liver – Assists with blood detoxification and lowers aggression.

Lung – Promotes air circulation and aids with calming grief.

The NADA 5-point protocol is the most common acupuncture treatment for people with addiction problems, specifically in the beginning stages of treatment. But it is only one of the numerous treatments that is successful for patients in recovery. Typically, a patient will work with an acupuncturist to determine which points will provide them with the best outcome for their specific needs.

Benefits of Acupuncture for Addiction Recovery

Everyone works a different program of addiction recovery. Successful addiction recovery is often achieved with a combination of different treatments that individuals find useful to their individual circumstances and needs. While acupuncture is not a stand-alone treatment for addiction, it does have some amazing benefits that make it a useful tool to add to a holistic recovery plan.

Relief of Anxiety and Stress

Stress and anxiety are two of the most common reasons for relapse. Preventing relapse is best managed by finding ways that reduce stress and lower anxiety. While acupuncture alone cannot remove all anxiety and stress, it has been shown to be very useful when integrated into recovering addicts’ overall stress management strategy.

Lessens Depression

Depression is a common accompaniment to drug or alcohol abuse and addiction. Acupuncture research shows that when it is used on patients in addiction recovery, the instances of depression are lower.

Decreases Cravings

Dealing with cravings is one of the most difficult aspects of recovery for many people who suffer from addiction. Acupuncture, particularly the ear acupuncture described above, can be a huge help in reducing and coping with the intense drug and alcohol cravings in early recovery.

Helps Pain Management Without Medication

Treating acute pain is tricky for people in recovery because many painkillers are addictive, making using them a huge risk to their recovery. The use of narcotic medications for acute or chronic pain causes many people to slip back into addiction, even when painkillers were not their drug of choice. Acupuncture has been shown to alleviate pain without the use of medication, as it stimulates natural painkillers in the body.

Helps with Sleeping

Recovering addicts who have problems going to sleep or staying asleep are at risk for relapse, so ensuring that they get enough quality sleep is crucial. Many sleep medications are addictive in nature, so that is a slippery slope for those in recovery. Research suggests that acupuncture as a treatment for insomnia can be helpful without having to risk using sleep medications.  

Acupuncture isn’t a cure for addiction, but it can be a very useful recovery tool to help you maintain sobriety and live your new life of recovery. It doesn’t benefit everyone in the same way, so it is important that you discuss your specific challenges and needs with a knowledgeable acupuncturist for the best results. Overall, acupuncture is a very low-risk treatment that may genuinely enhance your program of recovery.

The Big Truth About Co-Occurring Disorders

Co-occurring disorders – also known as dual diagnoses – refer to patients who have been diagnosed with a substance abuse disorder and a mental health issue. This often complicates a treatment program, because of the complexities of treating each disorder, especially if the mental health disorder also requires medication.

So why are co-occurring disorders an important aspect of addiction? Because as the number of addicts with dual diagnoses continues to grow, it is important for patients to understand the challenges they will face in dealing with this issue.

Growing Number of Co-Occurring Disorders In the U.S.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), nearly eight million adults in the U.S. were diagnosed with co-occurring disorders in 2014.

That was 40 percent of the 20 million adults who had a substance abuse problem, and 20 percent of the 35 million adults who had a mental illness. (1)

Co-occurring disorders were most prevalent among addicts ages 18 to 25 (29.3 percent), followed by addicts ages 26 to 49 (20.8 percent).

Some examples of co-occurring disorders include major depression with cocaine addiction, alcohol addiction with panic disorder, alcoholism and poly-drug abuse. (2)

It’s also important to understand that co-occurring disorders are diagnosed at different levels of severity. Therefore, a patient with a drug dependency may only have a mild form of anxiety, and vice versa, but there are also cases in which both disorders are severe.

That disparity in severity and the level to which the disorder impairs a person’s normal life function is one of the reasons co-occurring disorders present such challenges to caregivers.

Characteristics of People With Co-Occurring Disorders

People who suffer from co-occurring disorders are more vulnerable to suffering a setback in their drug or alcohol treatment, because of the burden of also dealing with a mental disorder.

And they are also more likely to suffer setbacks in their psychiatric treatment, because of the burden of dealing with their alcohol or drug problem.

In fact, studies have found that people with co-occurring disorders require longer drug and alcohol treatment, and are much more likely to experience major crises during that treatment.

Furthermore, patients in treatment facilities who have co-occurring disorders will take longer to respond to treatment and to regain some semblance of control over their lives.

And researchers have found that there is a link between mental disorders and alcohol and substance abuse, which could help explain why nearly half the adults who suffer from drug or alcohol problems also suffered from a mental disorder.

The Links Between Mental Health Disorders and Substance Abuse Problems

One of the links between mental health disorders and substance abuse problems is that they are both influenced by biological and environmental factors.

For example, some people have a genetic predisposition to mental health issues and substance abuse problems such as depression and alcoholism, because of family history.

In addition, illegal drugs such as heroin, cocaine, LSD, marijuana, MDMA, methamphetamines, PCP and steroids have been directly linked to mental health problems.

The reason is that these drugs have a negative effect on a person’s brain, and after prolonged drug use, they can trigger mental health disorders such as paranoia, depression, anxiety, aggression, hallucinations, and other problems. (3)

Researchers have identified heroin as one of the most potent drugs linked to mental health issues.

A synthetic of morphine, heroin’s effects include:

  • Insomnia
  • Itching
  • Feelings of euphoria
  • Sedation

And because heroin produces such intense feelings of euphoria, it also creates a profound sense of loss in addicts after the drug’s effects wear off.

And the more that heroin users seek that sense of euphoria, the more difficult it is for them to deal with the ‘down’ of coming off the drug, which can lead to mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

Why Diagnosis and Treatment Is So Important

The danger of co-occurring disorders is that if they are not properly diagnosed, people who suffer from these problems will find it very difficult to gain control over their diseases because they will lack the proper counseling and medication to attack the root causes.

That’s why many experts recommend what is known as an integrated treatment approach, which means treating substance abuse and mental health issues at the same time, instead of trying to deal with each problem separately.

By implementing this method, doctors and behavioral counselors can coordinate their treatment methods, and work together to find a solution.

Moreover, integrated treatment allows patients to understand that they are suffering from two distinct disorders, which can help them become an integral part of a recovery program.

These treatment plans will often include cognitive behavioral therapy to identify the root causes of mental health issues and addiction behavior, relapse prevention methods, and prescription medication to aid with mental health disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety.

Finding the Right Treatment Facility

It’s become almost a cliché, but the truth is that patients with drug addiction, alcohol abuse, and mental health disorders cannot recover properly without long-term treatment.

That’s why finding the right treatment facility is so vital to the success addicts have in managing their lives.

The counselors at Serenity at Summit have years of experience helping addicts through recovery programs. We treat co-occurring disorders with an integrated approach that coordinates all aspects of a patient’s care. Please call us today at (908) 481-4400 (New Jersey) and (978) 641-3001 (Massachusetts) to learn all your treatment options.

Serenity At Summit Detox New Jersey– (908) 481-4400

Serenity At Summit Detox Haverhill MA–  (978) 641-3001



What You Should Know About Inpatient and Outpatient Rehab

People who struggle with alcohol addiction and drug dependency often require long-term treatment to manage their lives and prevent relapses. But the question is:

What is the difference between inpatient and outpatient rehab?

The answers are important, because of people suffering from addiction who commit to a drug treatment program, or an alcohol rehab program, need to understand what to expect during this process and the risks of not fully committing to changing their behavior.

Frequently Asked Questions About Inpatient and Outpatient Rehab

What Is Inpatient Rehab?

Inpatient rehab is considered more intensive than outpatient rehab because patients are required to live in the treatment facility. This means that patients are more closely monitored by staff members of the rehab facility, which can help caregivers detect early signs of a relapse.

Some things to know about an inpatient rehab facility, include:

  • Offers In-House Detoxification – Many inpatient rehab facilities feature a dedicated detox program that can last anywhere from several days to a week. During this process, addicts are weaned off drugs and alcohol, so that their bodies can eliminate the toxins that have built up over time. The presence of nurses, doctors, and counselors also helps addicts get through this difficult process, knowing they have a support system of qualified caregivers.
  • Provide Intensive Therapy – Inpatient rehab facilities offer hours of intensive therapy in both individual and group sessions. While outpatient rehab also offers therapy, the fact that patients live in the facility provides them with the opportunity to attend many more therapy sessions. Therapy is one of the biggest factors in managing an addiction, therefore patients who attend more sessions may gain more confidence in their ability to manage their addiction.
  • Offers In-House Extracurricular Activities – Patients in an inpatient facility can also take advantage of social activities that can help them cope with their addiction. Many of these facilities offer exercise programs such as yoga, group games, and social outings that can help break up the monotony of being inside a facility.
  • Provides Safe Environment – Outpatient facilities lose ‘control’ over their patients when they go home, or when they are at work. But residents in inpatient facilities have the around-the-clock support system that can help prevent early relapses. Knowing that doctors, nurses and counselors are nearby can help patients stay on track, and removing outside temptations – such as friends who still abuse alcohol or drugs – can go a long way in the recovery process.

One other to remember is that inpatient facilities are more expensive than outpatient facilities, precisely because they offer 24/7 services, private rooms, and extensive therapy sessions.

New Jersey Drug & Alcohol Residential Detox

Haverhill Drug & Alcohol Detox & Residential

What Is Outpatient Rehab?

Outpatient rehab facilities don’t require addicts to remain within the facility, so there is more freedom for patients to establish a schedule that fits into their daily lives.

Some things to know about outpatient rehab facilities include:

  • Provides Therapy – Outpatient rehab facilities offer your group and individual therapy sessions, which you can schedule based on your home and work schedule. Although you will not have 24/7 access to therapy, you still have access to counselors during an emergency.
  • Lets You Continue Your Normal Routine – Although there is nothing ‘normal’ about going through a drug treatment program or alcohol rehab, an outpatient facility lets you maintain your daily life without the massive disruption of leaving your home and work to live in an inpatient facility for several weeks or several months. This may be a real issue if you can’t afford to leave work for a long period of time. The key is having a supportive family structure, as well as friends who can help you during this time of treatment. (1)
  • Provides Real-Life Challenges – Residents in inpatient facilities are not able to test their ability to stay clean in a real-world environment. That’s not the case for addicts in outpatient facilities because they are forced to put the principles they are learning in therapy to use in day-to-day activities. This helps them understand what works and what doesn’t work and enables them to make adjustments easier than those undergoing inpatient treatment.

It’s also important to understand that outpatient treatment is more affordable than inpatient treatment, because you are not paying to live in a private room, nor are you paying for all the amenities that inpatient facilities offer.

What’s Best For You?

Choosing between inpatient and outpatient treatment is dependent on many factors.

If your addiction has spiraled out of control and has ruined your family and work life, then inpatient treatment may be the best choice to eliminate distractions and temptations and provide you with the intensive therapy you need.

On the other hand, if you want treatment for alcohol or drug dependency, but are experiencing financial difficulties, outpatient treatment may be a better choice. By understanding the pros and cons of each type of treatment, you are better equipped to make a decision that fits your unique circumstances.

If you want to learn more about your addiction treatment options, please call one of the expert counselors at Serenity at Summit.

Serenity At Summit Detox New Jersey– (908) 481-4400

Serenity At Summit Detox Haverhill MA–  (978) 641-3001



What Are the Treatment Programs at Serenity at Summit?

In a recent addition to their Health and Wellness series of videos, Serenity at Summit’s Chief Operating Officer, Maria Ulmer MA, LMFT, CAADC, spoke about the types of drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs the organization offers to clients.

Ulmer reports in the video that Serenity currently offers two types of inpatient treatment – medical detoxification and residential rehabilitation. The medical detox facilities are located in New Jersey and Massachusetts, and the residential rehabilitation is in Massachusetts.  

Serenity at Summit also offers outpatient treatment for clients who cannot or choose not to attend one of their inpatient treatment programs. Ulmer explained that there are three different types of outpatient treatment available: intensive outpatient program (IOP), partial-hospitalization program (PHP), and traditional outpatient treatment which offers individual, couples, family, and group therapy for clients participating. Summit’s outpatient addiction treatment facilities are located in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

What Is Holistic And Completely Personalized Medical Detox

From the company website, Serenity describes the three treatment options Ulmer spoke about in the following ways. Medical detox “is private, holistic and completely personalized for each individual. We focus on treating the physical and mental issues, but we also lay the foundation for spiritual growth.”

Serenity’s residential treatment program recognizes that “long-term drug or alcohol abuse, addictions, or relapse requires more than just treatment therapies in order for the individual to overcome and dependencies. Inpatient treatment in a residential facility has proven to be one of the most effective methods of helping individuals find long-term success.”

Serenity’s outpatient treatment program is recommended for “individuals who have graduated residential programming, or for individuals who require a lower level of care.”

Serenity utilizes an individual approach to treatment in all of their treatments, knowing that each client is unique, to compassionately guide them through the challenging first days of sobriety through after-care and to long-lasting recovery.

Video Explains – What is Dual Diagnosis & Co-Occurring Disorders

Serenity at Summit’s Chief Operating Officer, Maria Ulmer MA, LMFT, CAADC, explains what dual-diagnosis is and how Serenity approaches the treatment for clients who have it in a recent video on the organization’s website. Serenity’s treatment facilities often see clients suffering from dual-diagnosis (also called co-occurring disorders), which occurs when a person presents with two disorders or conditions at the same time.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center – Co-Occurring Disorders

Ulmer says that having a dual-diagnosis can make treatment complicated. “In our atmosphere, we are looking at addiction or substance abuse disorders in addition to a mental health disorder. Often this might be depression and anxiety paired up with alcohol use. And when the two come together, it creates a complication, where we now have a layering of symptoms.” She goes on to explain the importance of determining which disorder came first and where the symptoms originated, in order to be able to appropriately address the two disorders simultaneously.

Clients who have a dual-diagnosis may have developed an addiction to drugs or alcohol as a result of an underlying mental health condition. Conversely, they may have first started abusing drugs or alcohol not knowing that “some of the side effects are mental health-like symptoms.” Ulmer explained. Whether the addiction came before the mental health issue or the reverse, it is essential to understand which is the client’s primary diagnosis in order to provide the proper treatment and after-care for long-term recovery.

Understanding dual-diagnosis and tailoring each client’s treatment to his or her specific set of circumstances is what Serenity believes is the key to positive outcomes in rehabilitative treatment. Using a combination of cognitive behavioral and emotion-based therapy, traditional 12-step programs, and relapse prevention techniques, Summit aims to meet their clients where they are and provide the highest level of treatment.

Serenity at Summit offers detox, residential, and outpatient options in three states with six locations. The organization has become one of the country’s must-watch health networks for alcohol, drug, eating disorder, and dual-diagnosis treatment.

Serenity utilizes an individual approach to treatment, knowing that each client is unique, to compassionately guide them through the challenging first days of sobriety through after-care and to long-lasting recovery.

Located in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts, Serenity accepts men and women who are seeking help for drug and alcohol addiction and dual-diagnosis disorders.

Drug Use In America: The Shocking Truth

Here are some of the key takeaways from this comprehensive report

The 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health is the most recent big-picture study about drug use in America and provides a revealing look at popular drugs of choice and demographics related to drug users. It also analyzes alcohol use in the U.S. Here are some of the key takeaways from this comprehensive report.

Illicit Drug Use Is Rampant Across All Major Age Groups

More than 27 million people age 12 or older in the U.S. are users of illicit drugs. But what’s even more staggering is that 10 percent of the U.S. population that is 12 years or older admitted to using illicit drugs in the month prior to the survey. (1)

Worse yet, more than two million adolescents age 12 to 17 use illicit drugs in the U.S., and nearly 23 percent of young adults in the 18 to 25 age group were drug users. An additional 17 million adults 26 or older used illicit drugs within the past year.

What this tells us is that illegal drug use is growing in all segments of the U.S. population, a terrifying prospect if even a quarter of these people turn out to be addicts who require a comprehensive drug treatment program in the future.

Marijuana Remains a Preferred Drug of Choice

Not surprisingly, marijuana remains a popular drug of choice, with an estimated 22 million people in the country using the drug on a regular basis. In fact, marijuana use has trended upward from 2002 to 2013, with a brief downturn in 2014 that was followed by another spike in 2015.

Undoubtedly, part of the reason marijuana use is steadily increasing is that many states have decriminalized or legalized marijuana use for recreational purposes or for medicinal reasons.

The negative perception of marijuana as an illicit drug has markedly decreased over the past decade.

Many people who smoke marijuana don’t even refer to it as a drug because marijuana is not considered to be a narcotic that is as dangerous or addictive as cocaine, heroin or prescription painkillers such as opioids.

As a result, marijuana use has become much more socially acceptable among most age groups, an activity that is considered as normal as smoking a cigarette.

Prescription Pain Reliever Misuse Is On the Rise

The existing opioid crises in states such as Ohio have publicized the abuse of prescription pain relievers. And the 2015 survey confirmed this trend, with nearly four million people 12 or older abusing prescription pain pills.

Part of what is driving opioid abuse in many states is the fact that pharmaceutical companies have downplayed or mislead users about the highly-addictive nature of these drugs. In some instances, drug companies have incentivized their representatives to wine and dine physicians in an effort to persuade them to prescribe painkillers to their patients to drive up profits. (2)

But as millions of people have become addicted to these pain killers, drug companies have continued to insist that the drugs are safe if used in moderation.

Binge-Drinking Is a Huge Problem

The survey also found that binge-drinking has become a huge problem for a large segment of the population.

For example, nearly 67 million people age 12 or older in the U.S. admitted to binge-drinking (5 or more drinks at one time for males, 4 or more drinks at one time for females) in the previous month, and 17 million admitted to heavy alcohol use during that same time period.

Binge-drinking often occurs at house parties, raves, and clubs were drinking heavily is part of the social contract participants make when they agree to attend. In addition, a party-all-the-time culture has taken over many college campuses in the U.S., leading to incidents of high alcohol use, violence, and sexual assaults.

But of even greater concern is that a staggering 138 million people in the U.S. age 12 or older admitted to current alcohol use in the month prior to the survey.

Underage alcohol use is a persistent problem despite the fact that every state restricts alcohol consumption to people who are 21 or older.

Drugs – An Undeniable, Easily Accessible Threat

The Need For Long-Term Solutions

Drug use in America is trending upward, and illicit use is starting at a much younger age than in the past.

Some of the respondents in the 2015 survey may never turn into addicts, but many will, and they will need access to drug detox facilities that can also provide in-house and outpatient counseling to ensure long-term recovery.

About Summit Behavioral Health (NJ, MA, PA)

Summit Behavioral Health offers both inpatient and outpatient programs to help people overcome drug addiction and co-occurring disorders. Our programs are medically supervised and designed to fit your specific needs and goals. Call our behavioral health professionals today at 844-432-0416 to speak to a substance abuse expert about your treatment options.



70% of All Water Recreation Deaths Involve Alcohol

Alcohol and swimming are a deadly combination

If you’ve ever spent a hot summer day on a boat or lounging around a pool, you know that the sun intensifies the effects of alcohol. High temps and the hot sun beating down leads to dehydration, and this can make anyone more susceptible to intoxication.

Sadly, alcohol plays a prominent role in water recreation deaths. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), drinking is a factor in 70 percent of all water recreation fatalities.  

How Alcohol Affects Swimmers

The NIAAA states that alcohol and swimming are a deadly combination. Alcohol impairs your judgment and causes many people to take risks they ordinarily would not. “Even experienced swimmers may venture out farther than they should and not be able to make it back to shore.” When people consume alcohol at the pool or on the beach, they are more likely to drown.

Drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional death in the United States. Each day, about 10 people drown in the U.S. About one in five drowning victims are children under 14 years old. A study conducted in Australia found that 66 percent of drowning victims would have failed a sobriety test at the time of their death.

How Alcohol Affects Boaters

Alcohol is a factor in 60 percent of boating accidents. People are very familiar with the laws regarding drinking and driving a car, but they’re less acquainted with laws that govern drinking and boating. In many cases, people don’t realize that boating and drinking is a crime and that police can and do arrest people for BUI (boating under the influence).

According to the NIAAA, a boat operator with a blood alcohol concentration over .01 percent is 16 times more likely to be involved in a fatal boating accident than a sober boat operator.

Tips for Staying Sober in the Sun

If you’re around people who consume alcohol around the pool, at the beach, or on a boat, it can be challenging to say no to a drink.

Connect with sober friends – Be choosy about the people you spend your time with. If you know certain friends are heavy drinkers, make an effort to spend more time with friends who don’t use alcohol to enhance their fun.

Stay hydrated – The hot sun can cause you to quickly become dehydrated, which can make it tempting to reach for a cold beer or quick cocktail. Buy yourself a fun water bottle and keep cool by staying hydrated. You’ll be less likely to drink alcohol to cool off.

Speak up – If you feel comfortable, let your friends know you’re newly sober. Most people are very understanding and will avoid offering you drinks or consuming alcohol around you. This support can be invaluable as you get through the summer season sober.

Summit is the support you can trust

Alcoholism for some has become the enemy. You will not meet a human being who does not enjoy a good time but some may only achieve a good time through the consumption of alcohol. It then becomes an addiction that cannot be ignored.

If your daily life is filtered through the lenses of the next needed drink..then you need help.

Call our behavioral health professionals today at 844-432-0416 to speak to a substance abuse expert about your treatment options.

Michael Karl MH, LCADC

Michael Karl

Michael holds a Master’s Degree in Human Services and is a Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor in the State of NJ.

Call Mike Karl today to find the facility nearest you for Detox, Outpatient, and Residential Services!



Will Smoking Disappear by 2050?

Stopping smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health

Anyone who has ever tried to give up smoking knows it can be an especially difficult challenge. Because research shows that smoking and drinking alcohol often go hand in hand, it’s important for people who wish to stop drinking to also make an effort to give up cigarettes. Stopping smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health.

Data from the CDC shows that the number of people who smoke cigarettes has declined dramatically in recent years. In fact, if rates continue to drop, researchers think smoking could completely disappear by 2050.

How Many Americans Smoke?

In 2005, about 21 percent of the U.S. population smoked cigarettes. In 2014, that number had dropped to 16.8 percent. The dean of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health says less than 15 percent of the American population smokes. Furthermore, this trend spans all age groups, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds. No matter who you are or what community you live in, you’re less likely to smoke than your parents or grandparents.

These shrinking numbers are actually quite astonishing when you consider that even just a generation or two ago, a majority of people in the country smoked. In the UK in the 1950s, for example, 80 percent of the population smoked. Tobacco companies marketed their products as macho, rugged, and even healthful. Obviously, we know today that cigarettes cause lung cancer, but past generations didn’t have that information.

Tips for Kicking Your Nicotine Habit

Are you addicted to nicotine? Like any other addiction, nicotine can be conquered. And like other types of addiction, what works for one person may not necessarily work for another. Fortunately, Once you’ve kicked your smoking habit, you may even find that addressing your addiction to alcohol or drugs is easier. Here are some top tips for stopping smoking.

Get motivated – Find a good reason to quit, whether it’s saving money, getting healthier, or having better-looking skin.

Accept that you have an addiction – Quitting cold turkey works for some, but many people find that just stopping sets them up for relapse. Chances are you’ll need to address your nicotine addiction in stages.

Get a support person – Tell people close to you that you want to stop smoking. The support of your loved ones can make a big difference.

Don’t be afraid to fail – Relapse happens, and it’s okay. If you have a “cheat day” or pick up cigarettes again, this doesn’t mean you’re doomed to fail. It’s okay to try quitting again when you’re ready.

Contact Serenity at Summit

Serenity at Summit provides people with the resources they need to address their addictions. Whether you’re struggling with alcohol abuse disorder or an addiction to prescription drugs or street drugs, our behavioral health professionals can help you. Call us today at 844-432-0416 to speak to a substance abuse expert about treatment options for you or someone you love.




Changing People, Places, and Things in Addiction Treatment and Recovery

While change may be difficult, taking the right steps during addiction treatment is the only way to help ensure a long and healthy recovery.

When you are starting on your path to recovery, you will find that there are things that you have to change about your old life in order to stay on that path. Early recovery is difficult; it is within the first six months of sobriety that most relapses happen. So, it’s recommended that you stay away from anything that may lead you to return to drinking or using.

If you have been to alcohol or drug addiction treatment already, you have likely heard that changing the people, places, and things in your life is often necessary to maintain sobriety. Balancing what you hope to keep in your old life with your new life in recovery isn’t an easy endeavor. Change is hard – you have to take it day by day. The following are a few thoughts to help you along your way.

Changing Places

When you’re new in recovery, it’s dangerous to continue to go to the places you went while using. Whether you frequented bars, parties, concerts, or other using settings, they are especially slippery in early recovery. You won’t necessarily have to avoid these places forever, but they can certainly put brand new sobriety at risk. It’s normal to not be in a completely healthy emotional place when you have just gotten sober, so there is no reason to go back to the places that you used drugs or drank alcohol – you have no business being there. Slippery places will only serve to make you feel like an outsider as you watch others drink. It can be tortuous and a relapse waiting to happen.

If there are specific drinking events that you feel you must attend in early sobriety, like weddings or family gatherings, consider whether or not you really have to. There is no shame in bowing out of situations that might challenge your sobriety. If you must go, talk with your sponsor or therapist to come up with coping strategies and to have support ready for you if you need it.

Don’t allow the fact that you can’t go to your old hangouts make you think that you will never have fun again. Get involved with other sober people, and you will quickly realize that there are a lot of activities and events that they attend that are exciting and interesting. Try new things – take a class, spend time outdoors, find a new hobby. Your life isn’t over it’s just changing.

Changing People

Your top priority is your recovery. That means that anyone you used to drink or use drugs with needs to be cut off straightaway. That may mean that you are walking away from people and friends who have been in your life for a long time. However, if drugs or alcohol surrounded those relationships, you have to do it. If they really have your best interests at heart, they will be supportive of you making a positive change in your life. If not, good riddance. There’s a saying in recovery circles that “there is nothing like getting sober to show you who your real friends are.”

Of course, some people who are threatening to your sobriety you can’t get away from, like family members. And they are the most likely people to know how to push your buttons and send you right back to the liquor store. Try to keep contact and interaction with those people to a minimum. Talk with other people in recovery to see how they have dealt with those types of situations, and share your thoughts and concerns with them. It isn’t likely that you will have problems in recovery that others haven’t had too, so they can be a great support to you.

Changing Things

There may be specific things that you did while you were drinking or using drugs that bring up feelings of craving when you are in recovery. For example, maybe you always drank while you were listening to certain music or watching specific movies or television shows. Those may seem like harmless and normal things to do, but if they make you feel triggered to drink or use, you should stay away from them for a while. It doesn’t mean that you have to avoid activities that you used to enjoy forever; you just need to have more experience being sober and dealing with triggers before you try them again.

The key to avoiding risky behaviors and situations is to learn what your triggers are and then stay away from them until you are better equipped to handle them. Staying away from things that are going to cause you to romanticize your alcohol or drug using is a good rule of thumb in early recovery. Be mindful of how you are feeling and talk to someone supportive when you feel triggered. Those feelings won’t last forever, but hopefully your sobriety will.

Recovery Requires Change

The idea behind changing people, places, and things in recovery is to break your old patterns of behavior that led you to drink or use. People who are new in recovery often fall victim to “euphoric recall,” romanticizing or glamorizing their past using, only recalling the pleasurable feelings and positive times they had. This is a dangerous way of thinking, and putting yourself in situations (or around people) in which you used to drink or use can easily lead you to those types of thoughts. It’s always a good idea to break up the old pattern of the romanticized fantasy to its complete end.

Remember that recovery is possible, and that while change is hard, breaking old patterns will be worth it. Consider times in the past when you made positive changes that were difficult. It’s likely that those changes quickly became your new normal. Recovery is like that too. It will feel natural and normal to you given some time.

Making positive changes and finding the right addiction treatment and support for your recovery will make the process less overwhelming and reduce your stress as you embark on your new lifestyle.

To learn more about how change can help during addiction treatment and recovery, read Readiness for Change During Addiction Treatment.

Sweating Your Way to Sobriety: How Exercise Helps with Addiction Treatment

Addiction treatment programs that treat mind, body and spirit using a holistic approach help treat more than just the addiction.

We all know that exercise can boost emotional as well as physical health. Getting moving is a priority for most people, and nearly everyone wouldn’t mind shedding a few pounds or simply toning up, but many don’t realize the positive impact on addiction treatment. What you may not realize is just how important exercise is for keeping your mind and body in optimal condition. In fact, even moderate exercise can dramatically change the chemical composition in your brain, causing you to experience natural highs that make you feel happier and more productive. Focusing on your physical well-being can also help take your mind off the temptation to indulge in drugs or alcohol.

Addiction Treatment Program

Furthermore, research1 shows that regular exercise can help restore the brain’s chemical balance after drug or alcohol abuse. Many drug and alcohol treatment centers even incorporate an exercise regimen into their treatment programs.

If you’re just starting out with an exercise plan, here are several exercises that can help you ease into a healthier lifestyle.

  • Easy on the joints, yoga is a gentle yet powerful form of exercise that incorporates both the body and the mind. Many people also use it as a form of meditation that quiets the thoughts and improves overall mood.
  • Taking in a hike can also allow you to take in nature. Walking is generally easier on the body than running or jogging, and you don’t even need any special equipment to do it. Just lace up a pair of comfortable sneakers and head out the door. Several smartphone apps even allow you to track your hikes so you can see your progress and how far you’ve gone.
  • Strength Training. You don’t have to be a bodybuilder to benefit from weight lifting. Much has been written about the benefits of strength training for both genders and people in all age groups. In fact, even exercises using nothing more than your own body weight can help you build lean muscle that improves your posture and overall physique. Strengthening your core can also alleviate back pain and arthritis.
  • Biking lets you hit the road without getting behind the wheel, which is usually a much less stressful way to get from point A to point B. It’s also an activity you can use to cut down on fuel costs, parking tickets, and hefty parking garage fees if you live in an urban area with a lot of traffic.

Contact Summit Behavioral Health Today

If you’re curious to learn more about the addiction treatment options available at Summit Behavioral Health, get in touch with our substance abuse treatment physicians and professionals today. We offer both outpatient and residential treatment programs for drug, alcohol, prescription drug, and co-occurring disorders. Call 1-844-64-DETOX.



1   Research        

4 Common Rehab Myths

Substance abuse treatment and rehab are often misunderstood due to reality shows, social media and stories about celebrities.

Entertainment news headlines often feature stories about celebrities that have entered rehab facilities for one reason or another. There are even reality TV shows about substance abuse treatment centers. But are these really accurate depictions of what rehab is like? And is rehab something out of reach for most people?

Substance Abuse Treatment

Rehab and substance abuse treatment is a mystery to many people. For one thing, not everyone feels comfortable discussing drug and alcohol abuse, which means rehab can sometimes seem like it’s cloaked in secrecy.

The good news is that much of what you may have heard about rehab is misleading. Here are four common myths about rehab.

Myth #1: Only Celebrities and the Wealthy Can Afford Rehab

The term “rehab” derives its name from rehabilitation, and often “residential rehabilitation,” which describes an inpatient treatment center. However, rehab programs vary widely, and the best rehab treatment plan is the one best suited to you.

Furthermore, rehab is not limited to the rich and famous. There are excellent options for a variety of budgets, and many insurance plans cover the cost of treatment. At Summit Behavioral Health, we offer both outpatient and residential treatment plans, as well as medical detox.

Myth #2: Rehab Is a Last Resort

You don’t have to exhaust all other options or complete a series of steps to be eligible for rehab, nor does your addiction disorder have to pass a so-called severity test before you are approved for treatment.

Alcohol and drug abuse affects everyone differently. Many successful people struggle with addiction, and there are many people who manage to run households and hold down a demanding job while struggling with alcohol or drug abuse. They are just as deserving of help as anyone else. You don’t need to delay treatment until you have lost your job or your home.

Myth #3: Detox Is Painful and Makes You Sick

In cases of serious drug or alcohol dependence, quitting on your own may not be safe. In some cases, the withdrawal symptoms are intolerable and even dangerous to your health. Medical detox is a way to manage the withdrawal process at a safe and reasonable pace that alleviates pain and provides mental and physical support.

Myth #4: Undergoing Rehab Can Jeopardize Your Job or Your Custody Rights

Many people fear that going through with a rehab plan will result in being fired from their job. For people with young children, they worry that a history of rehab on their health record will jeopardize their ability to raise their children.

Federal law—specifically the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family Medical Leave Act—guarantees workers the time off they need to attend to a serious medical issue. These laws also prohibit employers for firing workers for obtaining treatment.

Similarly, the majority of state courts have adopted a “best interests of the child” standard for child custody and visitation that require courts to decide child custody matters with the child’s best interests in mind. No child is well-served by having a parent who refuses to get help for a substance abuse disorder. On the contrary, a parent’s decision to get help and appropriate treatment demonstrates that the parent is actively engaged in providing a stable, loving home and environment for the child.

Exploring Methadone And Opiate Treatment Availability In Rural Areas

Last year, methadone clinic Director Stacey Sigmon and her associates discussed one of the greatest ongoing barriers to opioid addiction treatment in the Journal of the American Medical Association – the lack of treatment programs in rural America. States such as Vermont and Kentucky have rural areas where the waiting list to receive treatment is as long as two years. Factors such as transportation time, employment of qualified staff in isolated areas, and the costs of opening new clinics all inhibit the availability of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) facilities in rural areas.

Supply Versus Demand Of Methadone And Opiate Treatment Centers

The overwhelming statistics of opioid abuse have hit record-breaking highs across the United States. Opioid dependence costs the U.S. more than $56 billion annually in criminal costs, emergency department visits, lost work productivity, and premature deaths. The epidemic proportions of the country’s methadone and opiate abuse problem call for a change in treatment methods toward more-widespread availability of proper addiction treatments. Unfortunately, today’s massive demand for opioid treatment far exceeds the available capacity. The major area feeling the squeeze is rural America.

An alarming number of treatment centers in less-populated areas have extensive waitlists. Patients dependent on methadone and opiates have to wait for years to receive treatment – years for which they are at very high risks of increased drug use, criminal activity, and overdose deaths. Rural areas experience a double whammy. They’re experiencing higher levels of drug abuse than in previous years and suffering from a lack of treatment options. Vermont, Sigmon points out, currently has some of the highest rates of prescription opioid abuse in the country. Yet nearly 1,000 people are waitlisted to receive treatment they may not see for another 1.9 years.

The marked lack of treatment facilities in rural areas isn’t the only barrier preventing addicts from seeking recovery. Studies also attribute the lack of treatment to long travel times and hefty transportation costs. Eight-five percent of patients in Sigmon’s Vermont clinic have to visit daily – an average travel time of about one hour. Patients spend nearly $50 per week on travel costs alone to attend the treatment clinic. The lack of available transportation leads to patients missing treatments, which results in an increased number of relapses.

Possible Solutions To Rural America’s Treatment Shortage

The lack of easily available treatment centers in rural America is a very real problem addicts face today. As the number of opiate and methadone addicts in rural areas escalates, our nation’s policymakers search for ways to make treatments more available. Sigmon identifies two main avenues that hold significant potential for solving the current deficit of treatment in geographically rural areas:

  1. Developing sustained-release opioid antagonist medications. Today’s most common treatment plans for opioid addicts require frequent clinic visits and multiple dosages of antagonist medicine. While this treatment method has proven effective for patients who can visit the clinic regularly, it does not lend itself to treating rural patients. Instead, Sigmon proposes a treatment with a longer-lasting formula to decrease the number of visits required of a patient.
  2. Leveraging modern advances in mobile health technologies. Today, treatment plans and professional support are not limited to the four walls of an office. Mobile apps and tools provide education, patient monitoring, and support during crucial times to remote patients. Studies show that increasing the psychosocial services available to recovering addicts reduces instances of relapse. Providing customized support via mobile technology can make this possible to patients in rural communities.

The Hope For Addicts In Rural America

Both solutions are already obtainable for patients in rural areas if treatment centers take the initiative to establish them as part of common practice. A recent example of a sustained-released opioid antagonist medication is a buprenorphine implant. This implant produces sustained plasma levels in the patient for six months without the need to return to a clinic. A matchstick-sized rod is inserted into the upper arm and delivers a continuous dosage of buprenorphine. This treatment reduces the risk of non-adherence to a treatment plan, abuse of the treatment drug, and diversion.

The second part of the solution is also available. Apps exist that track a patient’s personal recovery and treatments, connecting a patient to professional support at times during recovery that are particularly risky for relapse. Mobile health platforms that offer sophisticated computational capabilities and interactive voice response (IVR) systems have great potential. IVR systems provide customized content via telephone for low-cost and consistent access to 24/7 help and support. These two potential solutions offer hope for the future of addiction treatments in rural locations.

We have facilities all across the east coast, click the button below and see which location is closest to you.

Summit Behavioral Health’s Rehabs

Could Access To Medicaid-Approved Inpatient Addiction Treatment Soon Be Expanded?

Medicaid Coverage Inpatient Addiction Treatment - Summit Behavioral HealthFor years, low-income individuals have relied on state and local sources to seek addiction treatment. Now, thanks to a recent federal proposal, families with few financial resources can get the help they need. If this proposal goes through, Medicaid, funded by the Department of Health and Human Services, may channel federal dollars into addiction treatment options.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently sought the funds to provide patients with 15 days of inpatient rehabilitation services. The move is an attempt to draw more states into Medicaid expansion. To date, 30 states have accepted Medicaid expansion. Federal officials in favor of the proposal emphasize the role Medicaid could play in helping people recover from opioid abuse and mental health issues.

The Need For More-Accessible Addiction Treatment

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid’s proposal comes on the heels of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) new guidelines for prescribing opioids for chronic pain, a document in which the nation’s top health agency calls opioid abuse an epidemic.

According to a report by the CDC, more people died of drug-related overdoses in 2014 than in any other year ever recorded. Nearly two-thirds of these deaths involved an opioid, including heroin. Since 1999, overdose deaths involving an opiate have quadrupled.

Other statistics worth noting, via the CDC:

  • From 2000-2014, more than 500,000 people died from a drug overdose.
  • Seventy-eight Americans die each day from opioid overdose.
  • Of the 78 daily deaths, about 40 involve prescription opioids.
  • In 2013, nearly 2 million people abused or admitted to being dependent on prescription opioids.

The Scope Of The Problem

Given the scope of the problem, federal officials are wooing states into accepting Medicaid expansion by covering inpatient drug rehabilitation and detox. The program targets low-income uninsured individuals and families. According to a report by the Department of Health and Human Services, an estimated 2 million low-income people who suffer from a substance abuse problems or other mental health disorders reside in the 20 states that have not accepted the Medicaid expansion.

Sylvia Mathews Burwell, secretary of HHS, said the report was an eye-opener. She believes Medicaid expansion is an important, even necessary, step that states should take to treat serious behavioral health issues, such as opioid and other substance abuse problems.

Why Are Some States Against Medicaid Expansion?

Combating opioid abuse is a bipartisan concern, but Medicaid expansion creates contention among those on both sides of the aisle. The federal government maintains that Medicaid expansion allows access to quality care for individuals who suffer from addiction or other mental illnesses and who don’t have the necessary resources to get help.

Government officials also argue that Medicaid expansion cuts down on state costs, as many states must fund their own addiction treatment programs.

Medicaid is a product of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Social Security Act Amendments of 1965, long regarded as one of the most important public health acts of the 20th century. Medicaid is a state-federal joint venture that offers free or low-cost care to many poor individuals and families.

Who Would Qualify Under The Medicaid Expansion?

Medicaid For Addiction Treatment Can Taxpayers Afford It - SBHMedicaid expansion increases the income allotment to qualify for these services to as high as 140 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL), although the limit varies from state to state. Those who oppose Medicaid expansion claim the states and federal government can’t afford to expand. Some also cite a physician shortage that makes enrolling new members in health care coverage difficult.

Though many health policy experts predicted that states would quickly adopt Medicaid expansion after the Affordable Care Act passed, the rate has slowed. Federal officials are hoping that offering inpatient treatment services for those who need it will encourage states to jump aboard before President Obama leaves office.

How Will The New Provision Help?

Low-income Americans seeking addiction treatment often find themselves at the mercy of state and local resources, which are often underfunded and overflowing with patients who need help. The aforementioned proposal aims to fix that. By allowing 15 days of inpatient addiction treatment, individuals would have the opportunity to undergo detoxification, a process that often requires medical intervention.

In most cases, alcohol and drug withdrawals need medical supervision. Withdrawal symptoms from opioids can range from nausea and vomiting to abdominal cramping, insomnia, anxiety, sweating and agitation. Physicians can control the severity of withdrawal by administering medications and making the process easier. Those who drink heavily for long periods are prone to seizures and delirium tremens, which can be deadly.

Does The Program Go Far Enough?

15 Days Inpatient Addiction Treatment Long Enough - SBHDetoxification in a controlled environment is essential to a patient’s health, and such settings aren’t always available to low-income individuals. With Medicaid expansion, many more poor individuals will be able to detox and begin the healing process, a scenario that may not otherwise be possible. Though this will make life easier for people who are suffering, many wonder if the program isn’t shortsighted.

One of the principal complaints about the program is that it does not provide enough care to those who need it most. In some areas of the country, addiction health experts aren’t happy with the news. They say 15 days is too short a time to make a real difference for people in the throes of addiction.

Mike Harle heads the nonprofit addiction treatment program Gaudenzia, which serves 20,000 individuals per year. He said he doubts that the 15-day timeframe has anything to do with science-based evidence, adding that those suffering from addiction need much longer to recover, per his own observations.

Current Best Practices For Treating Addiction

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Harle may be right. The publication Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide suggests there is no appropriate predetermined length of treatment. Patients, the guide maintains, progress through the recovery process at different rates.

So, just what is the desired length of a treatment program? Like almost everything else medical-related, it depends.

Research shows no optimal length of time for addiction recovery treatment, but evidence does strongly suggest that “adequate” treatment length is essential to a good outcome. The NIH cites patient dropout as one of the main setbacks for treatment programs. Therefore, motivational interviewing can be helpful in keeping patients engaged. When recovering addicts see their disease as a chronic condition, they’re less likely to experience relapse when they return to the outside world.

The Argument Against Medicaid-Funded Inpatient Addiction Treatment

Some addiction treatment experts maintain the inpatient treatment covered by Medicaid is such a short window for recovery that it may do a person more harm than good. The proposal may also close existing loopholes that allow nonprofits to provide high-quality addiction treatment care. For instance, in Pennsylvania, behavioral health specialists use an obscure federal provision to receive reimbursement for longer treatment stays in especially dire cases of addiction. Officials worry that this provision may disappear under the new Medicaid proposal.

Chris Benedetto, a 30-year-old man from Pennsylvania who started using heroin when he was 13, says that this program saved him. Now an assistant addiction counselor, he worries others won’t have the same opportunity for recovery under the new proposal. Thanks to Pennsylvania’s loose interpretation of current federal rules, the Scranton native received five months of free inpatient rehabilitation after several relapses. It was that longer stint that allowed Benedetto to finally kick the habit and remain clean.

What About Alternative Treatment Services?

Others worry that the Medicaid proposal will decrease the popularity of outpatient treatment services. Dr. Jeffrey Samet, a researcher for Boston University’s Clinical Addiction Center, explains how these services can be effective for some struggling with addiction. He points to a risk of abuse if inpatient services become the new standard of care for low-income individuals.

Providers and patients alike may game the system, needlessly costing taxpayers valuable dollars, according to Samet. He urges providers to consider outpatient services whenever possible.

‘Half A Loaf’: Defending The New Provision

Medicaid Expansion Proponents Some Treatment - SBHWhile the new Medicaid proposal has its detractors, it certainly has its advocates too. Some applaud its attempt to reach a population who desperately needs, but does not have access to, high-quality care.

Cindy Mann, a former top administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, discussed how the change is long overdue and is actually capable of making a big difference. She conceded that 15 days may not be enough for some patients, but suggests that “half a loaf” is better that none at all.

Mann also offers some relief for those who worry about funding disappearing: State and local governments are still free to fund longer programs for those who need it. And if they’re still not happy with the plan, she explains, they can create new programs and apply for additional federal dollars.

Mann is referring to the Innovation Accelerator Program, which aims to improve the delivery of substance abuse rehabilitation services. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services funds this program too. It incentivizes nonprofits and other addiction treatment centers to develop programs that improve the continuum of care as it pertains to substance abuse. In other words, agencies that design programs that facilitate the transition from 15-day inpatient rehabilitation to separate outpatient services may be able to get those programs funded with additional federal dollars.

What’s The Current State Of Addiction Recovery Services?

Incarceration Vs Substance Abuse Treatment - Summit Behavioral HealthInsurance companies vary in their approach to substance abuse rehabilitation services. A lack of concrete data allows private insurers to cover virtually any amount of inpatient service time. Staying in treatment for as long as necessary is the biggest indicator of successful rehabilitation.

The NIH points to a variety of factors that keep people in treatment:

  • Motivation to change
  • Social support (such as family and friends)
  • Mandates from the criminal justice system
  • Ultimatums from employers, Child Protective Services and family

Another oft-cited factor in treatment is cost. Those addicted to heroin or other opioids often receive a methadone prescription to control their withdrawal symptoms, costing an average of $4,700 for a year of maintenance treatment. The actual cost the recipient pays depends on the amount of insurance coverage. Since Medicaid provides low- or no-cost services in some states, taxpayers could be shouldering all or part of this cost. However, this number pales in comparison to estimates that substance abuse costs our nation $600 billion annually, according to the National Centers on Drug Abuse.

Treatment is much less expensive than its alternative, incarceration, which costs an average of $24,000 per year for an inmate.

A Worthwhile Investment

Some estimates suggest that every dollar invested in substance abuse treatment programs has a return of up to $7 because of reduced crime, justice system costs, and theft. Economics aside, stepped-up treatment leads to fewer drug-related accidents, deaths and overdoses.

In short, addiction treatment services are well worth their upfront investment. Insurance companies, however, do not always cover the required amount of rehabilitation for people’s recoveries to be successful, leaving individuals and their families struggling to cover the difference. Medicaid’s new proposal hopes to bridge this gap for low-income families that suffer from addiction.

Getting Help To Those Who Need It Most

The Medicaid proposal is an important attempt to close the so-called treatment gap, which refers to the idea that many in this nation need substance abuse services, but few receive the help they need. In 2011, some 21 million people needed treatment for a drug or alcohol problem, yet only 2.3 million actually received it, according to the NIH.

Closing this gap will require a multifaceted approach. Increasing access to treatment is an important first step, but there is more that can be done. Reducing the stigma of mental illness and substance abuse is another important step, as is increasing awareness of addiction rehabilitation as a valuable treatment option.

Involving PCPs

Primary Care Physicians Addiction Sufferers - SBHFor every income level, treatment generally begins with a primary care physician. PCPs are trained to use screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) methods to connect patients with substance abuse problems to appropriate treatment. With Medicaid expansion, more low-income individuals will have access to primary care services.

To combat the substance abuse epidemic in the U.S. efficiently, behavioral health experts and state governments will have to take advantage of every tool available to them. By accepting Medicaid expansion, states can provide a stronger foundation for physicians and counselors to improve the continuum of care for those who struggle with substance abuse, particularly lower income individuals.

Using Neuroplasticity As A Tool To Recover From Addiction

It’s amazing to listen to a talented pianist play a song by heart or watch dancers perform intricate steps in unison. This level of skill is the result of neural changes in the motor cortex of the brain caused by learned, repetitive behaviors. In other words, the brain is actually altered by physical behaviors and by thinking.

Understanding Addiction As A Brain Disorder

There has long been a debate over whether addiction is a choice or a disease. As we learn more about addiction, we are discovering that it can be better described as a brain reorientation that creates unhealthy pathways that fuel addictive behaviors. With continued use, an addict’s brain adapts to these behaviors to further support the addiction.

Using Neuroplasticity As An Addiction Treatment

With new skills, behaviors and thoughts, neural pathways are formed. As they are repeated, pathways grow stronger, and they become part of our being and weaved into our consciousness. When these pathways are not used, they weaken and lose their familiarity. This moldable or plastic characteristic of our brains is referred to as neuroplasticity or brain plasticity.

While neuroplasticity can perpetuate addictive behaviors, it can also offer tremendous potential for individuals to improve their minds through cognitive function and language. In addition, neuroplasticity provides opportunities to treat addiction by enabling individuals to use their own brains to sustain recovery.

The key to using neuroplasticity to treat addiction is in finding a way to stop the neural connections that are feeding addictive behaviors and developing new behaviors and thought processes to create new, more beneficial pathways.

Incorporating Neuroplasticity Into An Addiction Treatment Plan

One of the many benefits to choosing a professional addiction treatment plan over simply going “cold turkey”, other than for safety and comfort reasons, is gaining the help of a team of specialists who guide the establishment of new pathways through therapy and holistic treatments such as yoga and meditation. In recovery, the brain can be rewired to embrace healthy habits and avoid those that led to addiction. By becoming mindful of thoughts and decisions and learning about inner experiences, addicts have a better chance of sustaining recovery.

Seek Personalized Addiction Treatment

Harness your brain’s power to heal and recovery. At Summit Behavioral Health, you will receive integrative, personalized care to help you achieve a lasting recovery. Our individualized treatment plans consist of cognitive behavioral therapy, holistic therapies, dual diagnosis treatment if applicable and much more.

Call us now to see how we can help you or your loved one overcome their addiction with custom treatment.

Discover How Quickly The Brains Of Teens Recover From Binge Drinking

How To Choose A Rehab

When you’re searching for a drug or alcohol rehab for yourself or a loved one, you naturally want one that will be effective. This isn’t like choosing a pair of shoes. It’s a life-changing decision that requires careful consideration.

The reality is that there is no facility that can guarantee recovery from drug addiction or alcoholism. With that said, there are facilities however, that use the most advanced treatments to provide higher rates of success than other treatment options. When you’re making this important decision, you need to use a few important strategies for choosing the right rehab.

Ways To Choose The Right Rehab

The following are ways to help you choose the right rehab facility for yourself or a loved one.

Ask Lots Of Questions

A reputable rehab facility will enthusiastically welcome your questions. Here are a few to ask:

  • How many patients have you treated?
  • Is the facility both licensed and accredited?
  • What kind of results can I expect from rehab?
  • What is the length of the program?
  • Does a physician supervise treatment?
  • What treatments are offered?
  • What if there is also an underlying mental condition?
  • Is the facility coed?
  • Is this an inpatient or outpatient facility?

Consider The Costs Of Addiction Treatment

When choosing the right rehab facility, cost will almost certainly be a factor. In some cases, insurance will cover a portion of the costs. It’s not uncommon to be shocked at the price of addiction treatment services. However, it’s important to remember that the price of treatment is far less than the long-term cost of addiction.

As with anything else, you get what you pay for when it comes to addiction treatment. Quality addiction treatment facilities with higher success rates tend to be more expensive. Yet, the rate of completing the program and sustaining long-term recovery will generally be higher with this type of facility rather than with one that is a “budget” option.

Are The Treatments Evidence-Based?

Regardless of your budget for treatment, it’s very important to choose one that offers evidence-based treatment protocols. This means that there has been research conducted into the therapies and medications used. In most cases, this research has taken place at universities and published in medical journals. Be suspicious of any treatment facility that does not use evidence-based treatments or is unwilling to provide their long-term success rates. As well, be wary of any program that sounds like a “quick fix.”

At the end of the day, you want what’s best, whether it’s for you or a loved. Take your time with choosing the right rehab and make sure you make a decision based on solid facts and evidence.

Are You Searching For Help?

At Summit Behavioral Health, we welcome your questions and want to help you in your journey of finding the right recovery facility. Call us today to learn more about our services and individualized addiction treatment programs.

Call us now, we will be with you and your loved one every step of the way.

Learn More About The Treatment Programs We Offer

How Do I Know What Level Of Addiction Treatment I Need?

Every individual who struggles with addiction has their own unique experience with substance abuse. No two stories are the same. This is why a cookie-cutter or one-size-fits-all approach to treatment is often not effective. If you are seeking help for addiction, the first step to finding the right program for you is determining what level of addiction treatment you need.

In many cases, multiple of levels of addiction treatment are required to give you the best possible chance of long-term recovery. The following are some of the levels of addiction treatment that Summit Behavioral Health offers that may be beneficial as you start on your journey to an addiction-free life.

Levels Of Addiction Treatment

Medical Detoxification – Medical detoxification is often needed when there is severe drug or alcohol dependence. This treatment can help overcome the challenging, painful symptoms of withdrawal.

Outpatient Program – An individualized outpatient program that includes a comprehensive assessment and integrated, comprehensive care can help you understand triggers for your drug use and enable you to develop strategies for overcoming your addiction. This type of treatment is best for those who have a stable home life and who can’t leave their responsibilities (work, school, family) for a long period of time.

Treatment for Co-occurring Disorders – Underlying mental conditions such as anxiety or depression can often be intertwined with substance abuse. When this is the case, simultaneous treatment for both the mental illness and the addiction offers the best chance of long-term sobriety.

Family Education and Counseling – Family can also be impacted by drug abuse. To help struggling family members, education and counseling sessions are often recommended to increase understanding and encourage positive change and growth between you and your family members.

Relapse Prevention – The urge to use can often continue long after initial treatment. A strong relapse prevention program can greatly improve your chances of staying sober and continuing on with your drug-free life.

Addiction Treatment That Meets Your Specific Needs

At Summit Behavioral Health, we are focused on helping you obtain the right levels of addiction treatment to help you successfully overcome addiction. This begins with a comprehensive assessment to better understand your level of dependence and how best to treat it. We then create a customized treatment plan with your individual needs and goals in mind.

Are You Ready To Take That First Step To Overcoming Your Addiction? We Encourage You To Call Us Now!

The Benefits Of Group Therapy In Rehab

In an integrated addiction recovery program, group therapy is often recommended to individuals to enable them to share common experiences with others and work together with the goal of sustaining recovery. Drug and alcohol addiction is not something that has to be battled alone. For many, the group setting offers substantial benefits that support both the early stage of recovery and long-term sobriety.

While some individuals in treatment are reluctant to participate in group therapy because they want to keep their recovery a private matter, the reality is that confidentiality is highly valued in the group recovery environment. Participating in a group setting is not a mandatory part of treatment, however, individuals typically find that regular group sessions offer unique benefits that cannot be achieved through individual therapy alone.

Benefits Of Group Therapy In Rehab

The benefits of group therapy in rehab are abundant and include:

Working Toward Common Challenges And Goals

The journey of recovery can seem very lonely. However, research has shown that a network of support offers a better chance of sustaining sobriety. While it can be difficult to share difficulties, problems, or thoughts with others in a group therapy setting, you’ll also find that you’re not alone in what you’re facing. Others will open up with similar challenges that will enable you to gain insight into your problems while being able to support others within the group.

Experiencing A New Perspective

Although you will have similar experiences and challenges with others within group treatment for alcohol abuse or drug abuse, every individual has a unique way of approaching issues. When in the throes of addiction, it is nearly impossible to see alternative solutions to your problems. One of the most valuable benefits of group therapy is the ability to obtain fresh ideas and external perspectives on how to approach your challenges.


Individual therapy and addiction treatment can be strengthened with the addition of group therapy by providing a sense of ongoing support. The group is there to encourage you both when you have achieved a goal and when you need to be lifted up during difficult times.

As part of a comprehensive rehab program, group therapy can be a valuable addition that offers the chance for developing a network of peers that can continue to help as you continue your addiction-free lifestyle.

To learn more about group treatment for alcohol or drug abuse, call Summit Behavioral Health now!

Discover The Benefits Of Breathing Exercises For Addiction Recovery

We Are Here To Help You And Your Loved Ones Today!