One Drug Abstinence Method Earns a Second Look

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Burning Tree, a long term drug treatment center in Texas, reintroduces to the addiction community a proven, but sometimes forgotten about, method of treating chronic addicts and their families.

One method to treat the chronic abuse of illicit prescription drugs and alcohol is drawing more attention from persons with chemical dependence and their families. That solution is available through long-term rehabilitation, a consistently overlooked option involving multiple disciplines and continuous care in a residential setting. Often ignored in favor of medical detoxification, short-term rehab or outpatient services and self-help groups, long-term drug and alcohol rehabilitation is emerging as a critical choice to make earlier in the treatment process, especially through intervention by family members alarmed by current figures of the overdose deaths of 100 people daily, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

One key factor contributing to the assessment of treatment options is the success rate of each method. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, between 40% and 60% of people relapse after a short-term drug treatment that lasts no more than 90 days. Yet at Burning Tree, a long-term drug and alcohol treatment facility in Texas, the success rate of clients who have completed a Continuum of Care is 73% during the four-year period ending with 2010. In addition, 80% of clients who completed the Residential Treatment program at Burning Tree remained sober continuously for a year or more.

While alcohol dependence draws more people to treatment programs than any other substance, according to the CDC, the growing abuse of prescription painkillers has become another impetus to seek long-term rehabilitation. Estimates from the CDC show 12 million people used prescription painkillers for recreational purposes two years ago. The year before, the CDC reports that 475,000 emergency room visits were directly linked to the misuse or abuse of these same drugs. Among states, New Mexico ranks at the top for most overdose deaths, 27 per 100,000 people.

The reason for long-term drug and alcohol rehabilitation’s higher success rate can be attributed to custom approach to each person in treatment, with sensitivity to type of addiction, history, cultural background, gender and other personal factors. Also, at a long-term facility such as Burning Tree, addiction specialists can assess if a client is experiencing co-occurring disorders involving substance abuse and mental illness. This dual diagnosis approach may uncover reasons why past attempts at sobriety using short-term resources failed.

Since chronic relapse is an common occurrence among clients who have repeatedly tried short-term rehab programs, relapse prevention is an essential part of a long-term rehabilitation program. The long-term program staff treats a relapse as an inevitable part of the treatment and recovery process, while teaching the individual how to recognize warning signs and behaviors that lead to relapse. Relapse prevention also encompasses learning how to create a new support system that will help sustain a recovery attempt.

Burning Tree is a renowned long-term rehabilitation facility with two locations in Texas. Addiction specialists at residential facilities outside of Dallas and Austin treat people from all 48 contiguous states. To learn more about the drug and alcohol treatment services at Burning Tree, visit, or contact Burning Tree by phone at 866-287-2877.


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Michael Smith