Learn / Why Do So Many People Choose to Go to Rehab in California?

Why Do So Many People Choose to Go to Rehab in California?

Kayla Gill
 June 21st, 2021|   Clinically Reviewed by 
Olivia Mueller

Key Points

  • California has a reputation for high-quality addiction care.
  • Many California rehabs offer specialized amenities and higher levels of privacy.
  • CA's diversity can make it easier for people to find a program that fits their needs.

When you think of California, beaches, travel, and sunshine come to mind. It’s a place people go to soak up the sun and unwind. But some head to the Golden State for another reason: to heal.

California is home to some of the highest-quality addiction treatment centers in the world. They’re known to attract highly trained clinical staff. Many offer upscale amenities for executives and celebrity clientele. And we can’t forget the warm weather, with outdoor excursions available almost year-round.

Where you go for addiction treatment impacts key aspects of your recovery journey. California tops many people’s list of rehab destinations because of its wellness culture and abundance of available activities.

Given the number of addiction treatment options in the state, it can seem overwhelming to find one that meets your needs. Remember that this is a process, and each step—even information gathering—is progress.

To help you learn more about addiction treatment in California, we’ll look into everything from why people choose to go to rehab there, to what to ask an admissions counselor before enrolling.

Why Do People Go to California for Addiction Treatment?

California is often a top choice for addiction treatment. Here are some reasons why:

1. California’s sunny weather is therapeutic.

People love California for its great weather. But did you know it can have a positive impact on your recovery? Research from the University of Michigan shows that warm weather improves mental well-being.1 It often results in more time spent outdoors, which increases our openness to new information and creative thoughts. In addition to being mood-boosting in and of itself, sunny weather increases openness to new ideas,1 which may also make you more receptive to the work you do in therapy.

2. Nature thrives in California.

It’s no secret that nature enthusiasts love the grandeur of California. It’s dotted with breathtaking landscapes and some of the United States’ most iconic national parks. If you love the water, views along the coast reveal scenic seascapes.

Many California rehabs offer the chance to experience the state’s beauty with outdoor activities. Hiking, biking, or swimming are often on the agenda. Some rehabs have hiking trails nearby. Others let you bask in the simple joy of gardening or farming.

Given the year-round temperate climate, people in California love being out in nature. Time spent in nature can help you build a deeper connection with yourself and the world around you.

Rise in Malibu lawn
Residents at Rise in Malibu can enjoy views of palm trees and the ocean from the sun-drenched deck.

3. California has diverse options for treatment settings.

California is home to diverse environmental settings, with rehab options by the coast, in the city, at the beach, or in the countryside (though the latter two are less common). We each respond differently to different environments, so having a variety to choose from works to your advantage.

4. California has a reputation for high-quality addiction care.

People trust California’s quality of addiction treatment.

Some of the highest-rated medical facilities and doctors are located in California. It consistently tops the list of U.S. states with the best health care and this reputation translates to its addiction care. Many California rehabs, including Oro House Recovery and Cliffside Malibu, have been recognized in Newsweek’s list of Best Addiction Treatment Centers in the United States.2

5. California is a haven for holistic therapies.

California is known for pioneering holistic health, and saw the rise of the wellness movement in the ’60s and ’70s. Since then, the quantity and quality of alternative therapies in the state has only grown. If you’re looking for specific holistic and alternative addiction therapies, chances are you’ll find them in California.

6. California rehabs understand the needs of luxury clientele.

California has a higher percentage of luxury rehabs compared to the rest of the U.S. Many have been catering to celebrity and executive clientele for years. They understand the needs of their specific clients. That’s why extra-exclusive stays, specialized amenities, and higher levels of privacy are easier to find here.

AToN Center outdoor
AToN Center in San Diego has luxury amenities including both freshwater and saltwater pools.

How Does California’s History Influence Their Approach to Addiction Treatment?

California has long been at the forefront of addiction care in the U.S.

California was the first state to include an addiction treatment specialty for medical doctors.3

The ‘80s saw a rise in addiction center openings in California. Many of those rehabs are still there and are now well established. And many, like Bayside Marin, are regarded worldwide for their expertise in treating addiction and mental health.

California is a laid-back state, and this influences the types of treatment you can find there today. It’s usually among the first to embrace emerging alternative therapies. They have an impressive selection of holistic and non-12-Step rehabs. And a lot of rehabs offer complementary therapies like acupuncture or energy healing.

Explore California Treatment Centers

Types of Addiction Treatment Centers in California

California is home to various types of addiction treatment centers, each with its own treatment model. Learn about each to discover which one suits you best.

Residential (or Inpatient) Rehab

In residential rehab, you live onsite at the center as you receive treatment. This removes you from many of the triggers and environmental stressors you might encounter back home.

Our environment impacts our mood, so you’ll want to make sure you’re happy with the rehab’s setting and amenities. It’s a good idea to check for these on the rehab’s website or browse RehabPath’s individual listings. We always showcase images of the center and list its amenities, activities, and more.

Anyone struggling with substance abuse or mental health concerns can attend residential rehab. It’s recommended to receive residential treatment if you have high-risk concerns such as co-occurring disorders. Residential rehabs offer hands-on, round-the-clock care by clinicians and support staff that’s so important for some.

Holistic Rehab

California was one of the first states to embrace holistic wellness, but what exactly does ‘holistic’ mean? In medicine, holistic means “considering a whole thing or being to be more than a collection of parts.”4 Holistic rehabs focus on treating the whole person, mind, body, and spirit. This approach can touch parts of your life that traditional therapy may not always address.

A typical holistic rehab program incorporates alternative therapies ranging from reiki to acupuncture. Some may offer a comprehensive nutrition plan that emphasizes healthy, nourishing food. These therapies combined can help you feel more in tune with your body and spirit.

Holistic rehabs are a good option for people who want to make a full lifestyle change. It can also work for someone who favors natural treatments over allopathic medicine.

Several holistic rehabs in California offer alternative therapies that can’t be found in other residential rehab programs. To get an idea of the therapies offered, ask admissions what a typical day in their program looks like.

12-Step Rehab

California has many 12-Step rehabs that follow the well-known 12-Step treatment approach. This approach is based on a series of steps first outlined by the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous. They created it out of the idea that people can help each other maintain sobriety. Today, it’s one of the longest-standing and most common treatment approaches around.

Rehabs based on the 12-Step approach follow its principles for recovery. One of those principles is that recovery is an ongoing process. After completing a program, you’re encouraged to re-work the steps as many times as you need and to stay engaged in the community by attending regular meetings.

Non-12-Step Rehab

Other rehabs don’t follow the 12 Steps. While the 12-Step approach is one of the most common treatment models, it doesn’t work for everyone. Some find that it places too much emphasis on a higher power. Others don’t like labeling addiction as a “disease.”

California’s non-12-Step rehabs offer an alternative approach to treatment. You also have options for non-12-Step support groups as part of continuing care, such as Women for Sobriety or SMART Recovery.

Executive Rehab

You might think you can’t find time for rehab with a demanding profession. But there are rehabs that cater to working professionals. These are known as executive rehabs, and California has plenty of them.

California is home to many entrepreneurs, bankers, and lawyers. Consequently, executive rehabs there have robust experience in treating professionals. Mercui Recovery, for example, has been treating executive clientele since 1999.

Executive rehabs offer a structured schedule with daily intensive therapy. Some executive rehabs slot in work time so you can stay on top of responsibilities during treatment. These rehabs generally have business rooms to work from. A few allow you to bring your laptop and phone to rehab, but it’s best to check with the rehab first.

If you need to detox, some executive rehabs, like AToN Center, provide these services onsite.

Executive rehabs are suited for working professionals suffering from mental health or addiction issues. Work stress can play a significant role in someone’s addiction. Executive rehabs are equipped to address these specific issues.

What Can You Expect From a California Rehab?

To help you feel prepared for your treatment program, we answer some frequently asked questions about attending rehab in California.

What Should You Pack for Rehab?

What you bring to residential rehab depends on the climate, location, and activities offered. Remember that it’s generally warm in California, so you’ll have more opportunity to be outdoors. You may need to include hiking clothes or swimwear.

You can bring your own toiletries, but some rehabs require that they be unopened when you come in. It’s also a good idea to check whether the rehab allows devices like laptops and phones. For a more comprehensive list of what to bring, we’ve outlined a 28-day rehab packing list.

How Do I Get to the Addiction Treatment Center?

Whether you’re in-state or out-of-state, you should have someone assist you to your treatment center. If you can’t get someone to drive you, many rehabs offer pick-up services both in-state and from major airports. Some rehabs in California are located in beautiful but remote settings, making them a little more difficult to access. In any case, admissions can help you organize the logistics of getting there.

What Kind of Activities Do Rehabs in California Offer?

With its Mediterranean climate and iconic coastline, there are some experiences in California that can’t be found elsewhere. You can expect outdoor activities at most California rehabs. At some, you have yoga on a sundeck overlooking the sea. At others, a silent hike through a tranquil mountain trail. Given their proximity to the sea, coastal rehabs might offer beach excursions.

Alo House Recovery sound bath
Clients at Oro House Recovery in Los Angeles unwind to activities like yoga and sound baths.

What Are Some Common Therapies You’ll Go Through in Rehab?

Most rehabs offer cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), an evidence-based therapy that focuses on changing behavioral patterns and improving emotional regulation. CBT is held during one-on-one sessions and sometimes during group therapy.

Because addiction also impacts the family system, many rehabs offer family therapy. This often includes a family program that allows out-of-state family members to visit and attend therapy.

As one of the first states to embrace alternative therapies, rehabs in California usually offer more than just yoga or meditation. There, you can find a whole medley of alternative therapies like energy healing, tai chi, acupuncture, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).

What Amenities Do Rehabs in California Offer?

The weather in California impacts so many aspects of treatment, down to the amenities offered. You’re likely to find luxury rehabs with pools or hot tubs, an outdoor lounge, and garden area. Many have fitness amenities like a gym, walking trail, volleyball court, or tennis court. And for downtime, some have a spa, sauna, or wellness center.

What You’ll Be Eating at Rehab

A big part of recovery is building up good habits, including nutrition. California has always been at the forefront of health-conscious eating. Here you’ll find rehabs with organic menus, vegan options, and accommodations for dietary restrictions.

What Does a Day in an Addiction Program Look Like?

Here’s what a typical day in a residential rehab program might look like:

  • Wake up early and eat a healthy breakfast with others in the program.
  • Enjoy morning yoga overlooking the sea.
  • Attend individual therapy sessions with a therapist.
  • Have lunch, followed by downtime.
  • Attend group therapy.
  • Go to an educational or support group.
  • Eat a nutritious group dinner.
  • Wind down for the day with a soothing activity like art therapy or individual free time.

Programming and schedules vary depending on the center, so it’s always a good idea to ask admissions staff to take you through a typical day in their program.

How Much Does It Cost to Go to Rehab in California?

Most luxury rehabs in California cost between $25,000 to $50,000 per month, while ultra-exclusive programs can go for upwards of $80,000 a month. Almost all California rehabs offer options for financing your stay.

Many addiction treatment centers in California accept insurance to help cover program costs. If you don’t have private insurance, some centers accept Medicare or Medicaid.

Head over to the center’s website to see which insurance providers they accept. Otherwise, you can call the admissions team and ask them about insurance coverage and how much of the program it covers. You can also browse for rehabs in California that accept insurance using the RehabPath’s search tool.

On top of that, many rehabs offer in-house financing and flexible payment plans, and some even have scholarship funds available. It’s best to ask admissions about payment options to ensure you have the financial support you need to sustainably cover your treatment program.

How Can I Check the Reputation and Credibility of a Rehab Center?

How do you know if a rehab you’re interested in is trustworthy? We outline some ways to check the credibility and reputation of any addiction treatment center.

1. Read the reviews. You can check reviews on Google, Yelp, Facebook, and on our website.

2. Ask around. It may sound unusual, but you can ask your primary care doctor or therapist if they have ever heard of the rehab center or know someone who has. You can even ask admissions staff at other rehabs you call, which may give you some indication of their reputation.

3. Check their accreditation. The Joint Commission and Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) are national organizations that accredit treatment providers. Rehabs usually display accreditation logos on their website, but it’s best to check directly with the accrediting body.

How to Avoid Addiction Treatment Scams

You’ve decided to get help for addiction, which is an incredibly courageous step to take. As you search for a treatment center, you deserve to receive unbiased information so you can choose one that truly fits your needs. Unfortunately, unethical marketing practices and addiction treatment scams do exist.

A common scam involves a fake website or hotline that directs calls to a call center. The call center agents (not caregivers) generate commissions based on the number of referrals they place. Treatment centers involved in this scam will bid for patients and agents auction patients to the highest bidder.

Another malpractice is when someone receives a referral fee for recommending a patient to an addiction treatment center.

Here are some ways to protect yourself from addiction treatment scams:

  • Be wary of free hotlines. They’re often a source of referral fees.
  • See if the rehab center admissions team can give you specific details about their rehab during your initial call. Keep your guard up if they can only offer vague details about the program.
  • Ask upfront if they receive referral fees.
  • Search for rehabs using an unbiased platform.

What to Ask an Admissions Counselor Before Going to Rehab in California

As you narrow down your search, you’ll want to start asking the rehab specific questions to truly get to know them. Keep these few key questions in mind:

  • What is your treatment philosophy?
  • What kind of therapies do you offer (indicate if you have any specific needs)
  • What does your continuing care consist of?
  • What are the credentials of your medical staff members?
  • What does a typical day in the program look like?
  • Will you accept my insurance?

California Remains a Top-Rated Location for Addiction Recovery

Over the years, California has become a popular place to receive addiction treatment. Its therapeutic landscapes and sunny weather makes it difficult to resist. Others want to find holistic rehabs with alternative therapies that can’t be found elsewhere. And some go exclusively for the top-level luxury care they know they’ll receive.

Discover luxury addiction treatment centers in California here.

Frequently Asked Questions About California Rehabs

Why do people choose to go to rehab in California?

People choose to go to rehab in California for a variety of reasons. These might include: high-quality care (California has a reputation for high-quality addiction treatment and top-rated medical facilities and doctors) luxury amenities (specialized amenities and higher levels of privacy), and diversity, which can make it easier for people to find a treatment center that’s culturally sensitive to their needs.

How much does rehab cost in California?

The cost of rehab in California can vary depending on the type of treatment, length of treatment, and location of the treatment center. The average cost of inpatient rehab in California is $30,000 per month. The average cost of outpatient rehab in California is $10,000 per month. The average cost of long-term rehab in California is $50,000 per year. There are many resources available to help people pay for rehab, like insurance, government assistance programs, and scholarships.

What are some of the benefits of going to rehab in California?

Benefits of going to rehab in California include access to specialized facilities, higher levels of privacy, a focus on holistic treatments, and access to top-rated medical facilities and doctors.

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