What is Specialty Addiction Care?
When someone with an addiction seeks treatment, one of the concerns they may have is how well they will be understood, accepted, and supported during this vulnerable time. For many, a program that has specialized addiction treatment can help foster feelings of support, belonging, and relatability.
While people are more than just their gender or occupation, there is evidence that specialized treatment is beneficial if certain needs are recognized and met in treatment.1
What Kinds of Specialized Addiction Programs Exist?
There are many different types of specialty programs, but the most common are:
- First Responders.
- Gender Specific.
Not every treatment program will have a focus on every group mentioned here, but oftentimes, even if the treatment program does not have a particular focus, support groups often exist for these groups.
LGBTQ Addiction Treatment
LGBTQ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer, and is a term used to encompass various gender identities and sexual orientations. Members of this group have historically dealt with stigma, harassment, family rejection, and a lack of social support. These situations are possible factors in increased rates of substance abuse and need to be addressed as part of treatment.2
Executive Addiction Treatment
Being highly educated, successful, or financially well-to-do doesn’t always protect someone from addiction. An estimated 20% of lawyers, for example, struggle with alcohol use disorders.3 Taking the time to participate in addiction treatment can be difficult for people with high-profile careers. However, there are a number of programs aimed at executives that enable them to combine work with treatment and learn to manage stress. Many executive addiction treatment programs allow clients to have access to their phones and laptops so that they can continue to work during treatment.
Faith-Based Addiction Treatment
Although spirituality is a focus of many treatment programs with a 12-step model that use the concept of a Higher Power, some programs are more explicitly rooted in spiritual principles. Many people prefer to have a strong spiritual component in their substance abuse treatment. The numerous types of faith-based addiction treatment programs tend to place great emphasis on spiritual concepts and typically have similar modes of treatment delivery.4 Some studies have indicated that identification with faith helps people maintain recovery from substance abuse.5
Faith-based addiction treatment is not right for everyone, but if your faith is an integral part of your life and you draw support from it, a faith-based program might be a good choice for you when seeking out a treatment program. Even if a program doesn’t offer faith-based treatment, faith-based support groups may be available.
Gender Specific Addiction Treatment
Some people feel more comfortable in gender-specific treatment programs. Men and women have a different set of issues related to social factors, and women tend to have a higher rate of comorbid psychiatric disorders than men in substance abuse treatment. These co-occurring disorders can also impact treatment outcomes. For example, women who have an addiction and depression have less favorable treatment outcomes than men with co-occurring depression.6 A gender-specific program might also provide women with a sense of comfort knowing that they have the support of other women, rather than participating in a mixed-gender program. 6
A gender-specific program may also be especially important for those who are pregnant. Other programs offer a specialized experience for post-partum women, helping them cope with parenting while in treatment and recovery. 6
Some mixed-gender treatment programs might offer gender-specific support groups where only men or women can attend.
Teen & Adolescent Addiction Treatment
Most addiction treatment programs separate adolescents and adults for a variety of reasons. Generally, however, the treatment needs and challenges for an adult compared to a teen are very different. Developmentally, an adolescent is at a very different stage than an adult, both socially, as well as in terms of brain development. Adolescents also have to deal with a different set of circumstances related to peer influences on their use and recovery. Adolescents are also more focused on immediate issues than adults, and more often diagnosed with a comorbid psychiatric disorder that requires treatment. 7 A treatment program that is designed for adolescents can provide the most optimal chance of recovery.7
For adolescents, a strong emphasis on family functioning is critical to help maintain sobriety. Adolescents live in a home where a parent sets rules/boundaries, and families are must be integrated into treatment to assist in developing expectations around ongoing recovery. Numerous approaches to teen addiction treatment focus on family relationships and family communication enhancement. 8
Veterans & First Responders Addiction Treatment
Veterans and first responders have specific needs in addiction treatment that are somewhat unique to them. The average person can certainly have difficult experiences, suffer from PTSD, and be under a great deal of stress. However, first responders and veterans have a unique set of factors that need to be understood for their treatment.
First responders, for example, often develop PTSD as a result of exposure to trauma on the job, and many will use substances to cope. Many first responders are also reluctant to seek help, in part due to the culture of their occupations, which paints them as being tough and heroic. This group often feels a great deal of stigma if they admit they need help and are fearful of being seen as weak, particularly by their supervisors. 9
Similarly, veterans often have PTSD from traumatic combat experiences. Many veterans also have traumatic brain injuries and chronic pain from service-related injuries. A program that understands these challenges is best equipped to serve the needs of veterans. 10
Both veterans and first responders have shared experiences that the average person might not understand. Being part of a treatment program with others who have gone through the same experiences can be helpful in recovery.
Desert Hope Salute to Recovery
American Addiction Centers (AAC) offers a unique recovery program for veterans and first responders called Salute to Recovery. Salute to Recovery provides addiction treatment in a setting where you can connect with other people in treatment who understand your experiences and challenges. In addition, many staff members at Salute to Recovery are veterans themselves, which lends them a unique understanding of the challenges faced by veterans in recovery.
Finding the Best Specialized Care
American Addiction Centers is a leading provider of addiction treatment where you can receive addiction treatment from leaders in the field at one of our 8 locations. We provide a wide variety of specialized programming at our facilities in the following states:
How American Addiction Centers Can Help
At American Addiction Centers, we are committed to providing the best possible addiction treatment to our clients and utilizing the most up to date and accurate information about treatment.
Still Unsure About Seeking Treatment?
If you are still unsure about how treatment works, how to ask for help, or how to get treatment, consider the following guides:
1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (1997). Specialized substance abuse treatment programs.
2. Stevens S. (2012). Meeting the substance abuse treatment needs of lesbian, bisexual and transgender women: implications from research to practice. Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation, 3(Suppl 1), 27–36.
3. Krill, P. R., Johnson, R., & Albert, L. (2016). The prevalence of substance use and other mental health concerns among American attorneys. Journal of Addiction Medicine, 10(1), 46–52.
4. Neff, J. A., Shorkey, C. T., & Windsor, L. C. (2006). Contrasting faith-based and traditional substance abuse treatment programs. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 30(1), 49-61.
5. Duvall, J. L., Staton-Tindall, M., Oser, C., & Leukefeld, C. (2008). Persistence in turning to faith as a predictor of drug use and criminality among drug court clients. Journal of Drug Issues, 38(4), 1207–1224.
6. Polak, K., Haug, N. A., Drachenberg, H. E., & Svikis, D. S. (2015). Gender considerations in addiction: Implications for treatment. Current Treatment Options in Psychiatry, 2(3), 326–338.
7. Winters, K. C., Botzet, A. M., & Fahnhorst, T. (2011). Advances in adolescent substance abuse treatment. Current Psychiatry Reports, 13(5), 416–421.
8. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2014). Family-based approaches.
9. Psychology Today. (2017). Trauma and first responders: When the helpers need help.
10. Olenick, M., Flowers, M., & Diaz, V. J. (2015). US veterans and their unique issues: enhancing health care professional awareness. Advances in Medical Education and Practice, 6, 635–639.