The Difference Between Addiction Treatment and a Sober Home

When it comes to addiction treatment, there’s much that is misunderstood.  South Florida is receiving more negative press than ever before in regards to the drug addiction industry

In case you missed it, journalist Megyn Kelly covered issues plaguing the South Florida recovery community in an NBC News Investigation piece. While the piece did an excellent job exposing the bad apples of the addiction industry, it left out important pieces of the puzzle.

To begin, addiction treatment and sober homes are not the same.  The piece mentions sober homes and recovery centers interchangeably. This can lead to some confusion as there are differences between the two.

Toward the beginning of the piece, Kelly describes Palm Beach County as the “recovery capital of America” and notes that “some 400 addiction treatment centers are luring thousands of young people.” Soon after, the piece cuts to an overdose occurring in a sober home. This insinuates that sober homes and residential treatment are the same, or connected to one another. In this article, we will specify some of the differences between a sober home and addiction treatment.

What is Addiction Treatment?

There are many well-regarded addiction treatment facilities that have operated for decades in South Florida.  When a client first comes to Florida for treatment, typically they go to residential treatment.

Addiction treatment facilities are more regulated than sober homes. Addiction treatment facilities provide around the clock treatment for clients seeking help. Detox is the first level of care for a drug or alcohol treatment program. In this stage, the client is monitored and guided through a safe medical detox.Once medically detoxed, the client enters the residential treatment program. During this stage, the client receives a custom treatment program which includes a combination of therapy, group classes and more.

In addiction treatment, there are licensed mental health professionals and physicians involved in helping clients get sober. There are different levels of care at treatment centers, including detox, residential, day/night treatment (sometimes referred to as partial hospitalization), intensive outpatient, and outpatient treatment.

Residential addiction treatment can last anywhere from 30 to 90 days and in rarer cases longer. Outpatient programs are different from sober homes in that they provide the varying levels of therapeutic care, but the client does not stay overnight.

What are sober homes?

On the other hand, sober homes are essentially homes where groups of people in recovery live together. Sober living units are privately owned and are free of a lot of the regulations needed to open a residential treatment facility.

Fewer restrictions mean people with bad intentions can open a sober home to cash in on the opioid epidemic occurring throughout the nation. Almost anyone can open a sober home, although regulations are being implemented to change this.

While some sober homes are stricter and have tough guidelines such as regular drug screenings, and mandatory meetings, others are not. Some sober homes are simply that: sober homes. These houses are bought and marketed for those who leave addiction treatment and they are not always created by people with the best intentions.

So why do people go to sober homes?

Instead of returning home, many clients will go to sober homes for guidance in maintaining their sobriety. Sober homes give clients a taste of what it will be like to maintain their sobriety on their own. They typically are not the first stop on the road to recovery. Sober homes provide a smoother transition into the real world.

While some sober homes are operated by the same people who run treatment centers, others are not. A sober home typically has a house manager who helps oversee all residents. Living in the sober home helps a person in recovery take charge of their life by learning to pay rent, buy their food, and abide by rules sober. Due to a variety of factors, more people are not going to addiction treatment as their first stop. Some are going to detox and then immediately to a sober home. This creates challenges as sober homes lack the structure and guidelines of an addiction treatment center.

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Truth about Sober Homes vs. Addiction Treatment

South Florida offers vast amounts of recovery options, and with that comes those who take advantage of a booming industry.

Unethical practices happen in illegitimate sober homes and corrupt treatment centers.  However, legitimate and accredited treatment centers are out there that do support recovery. Not all addiction facilities in South Florida participate in these illegal practices.   Furthermore, the media suggests that Florida has the worse overdose rates of anywhere else, and this is not correct. Areas like Ohio, West Virginia, and others are much higher.

It is important to understand the difference between a sober home and residential treatment. A person in a sober home is living more independently than someone in treatment. The original purpose of a sober home is to be a smoother transition in the recovery process.

Overall, addiction treatment is the first step in treating addiction, not sober homes. There is a difference between the two and it is important that people know the difference. Please make informed decisions when choosing a treatment center for you or a loved one. We can help you in this process. Do not wait. Call now.

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