Category Archives: Rehab Info

How Quickly Can You Get Into Rehab?

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Girl with suitcase

Once your loved one agrees to get help for their substance abuse problem, how long does it take to get into an Arizona rehab? For some people, treatment does not start right away. The main reason why this happens is that nearby detox facilities might not have spaces available. Not only are more people suffering from addiction, but also more people have insurance.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been a good thing, especially because it covers at least some treatment for substance abuse. However, it also means that more people have insurance and can seek professional care. Playing the waiting game is dangerous. Getting help as quickly as possible is what can make the difference between using again and not.

Let’s review a few of the barriers to getting treatment and how you can help your loved one start their recovery sooner.


The availability of treatment is dependent on where you live. Based on SAMHSA data from 2012, some states have no waiting lists – Connecticut, Indiana and Georgia. Other states – Arizona, California, Illinois – have long waiting lists of 100 days. Some states fall in between – Alabama, Colorado, Delaware – at approximately 10-50 days.

What happens if you live in a state like Arizona where the wait times are longer? Does this mean that you have to wait several months for professional attention? Not necessarily.

The River Source is one of the Arizona treatment centers that may be able to take your loved one on the same day. Our facility makes it a priority to have open beds for the patients who need it most. We can also arrange for transportation. Please call us in advance so that we can discuss your loved one’s needs.

Insurance Coverage

The type of insurance you have also plays a big role in how quickly you can get someone into treatment. The ACA does allow treatment for people with addiction or mental illness, but it’s not as easy as it looks. It’s common for insurance plans to limit or refuse treatment.

Even if insurance does agree, the stipulations might look something like this: X number of days for detox, Y number of days for treatment and everything subject to “medical necessity.” Unfortunately, what the insurance company considers to be necessary is not the same as the general public.

Work and Family

Another barrier that many addicts face is work and family obligations. Addicts often have to scramble to find care for children, pets and their home while they’re away. They might have a job that they’re worried about or school that requires full-time attention. Entering a restrictive Arizona drug rehab may be off the table for some.

In this instance – if the addict really has no one to hold down the fort while they are gone – we recommend an outpatient program. This at least gives the person some structure and support as they recover from the addiction. It’s not enough for everyone, but it’s better than nothing.

Admitting that you need help takes a lot of courage. Take the appropriate steps to ensure that your loved one can start their recovery right away. Call The River Source to learn about immediate options.

Signs Your College Student Has a Drinking Problem

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Sending your child off to college is a bittersweet moment. While you’re happy and excited for your child, you can’t help but worry about what they might run into. You are a parent, after all, and this doesn’t go away because your college student isn’t living at home. But, what happens when these normal fears are true? How do you handle a child that comes home on break and appears to have a drinking problem?

Signs of a Drinking Problem in College

Here are a few signs that your college student may have a problem with alcohol.

Skipping Classes

College is different from middle school and high school in the fact that the classes aren’t free. While college students rarely understand the true costs of college – until they are given their tuition bill – most recognize that they are paying to be there. If your child starts skipping class, it’s a sign that something isn’t right.

Difficult to Connect With

No longer are parents and children reliant on pay phones or pagers to talk to each other. Between social media, email, text and talking on the phone, there are plenty of ways to get in touch with your child. Understandably, your college student might not feel comfortable having two-hour heart-to-hearts with you, but they should be easy to reach.

Sleeping During the Day

Another warning sign of a possible alcohol problem is sleeping during the day. Sure, college students are known for pulling all-nighters, but this happens sometimes. If your child seems tired all the time, and this behavior is coupled with staying out all night, dig deeper into the reasons why this is the case. As noisy as dorms can be, even young people need their beauty rest.

Feelings of Hopelessness

What makes identifying an addiction in college students difficult is that the parents aren’t there. You can’t possibly know everything that is going on. While you don’t want to drive yourself crazy over-analyzing everything, you do want to be vigilant. If you find that your child is constantly feeling helpless, homeless and homesick, they could be struggling with something more.

Other conditions share the same symptoms as what’s listed above, so it’s crucial that you talk with your child and try to get as much information as possible. If you don’t think it’s alcohol causing the issues, it’s possible that depression is to blame. However, if you know that alcohol is at the root of your child’s academic and social issues, please call The River Source. We work with individuals 18 years and over and can help your child.

How to Talk to Your College Student About Drugs and Alcohol

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The start of college is an exciting time for a young adult. However, many college students have extra time on their hands, as well as exposure to drugs and alcohol. Although most students are aware of the negative physical effects of drugs and alcohol, many don’t know of the legal, social and academic consequences that can occur.

As a parent, you must realize that college students, particularly first-year students, are at an increased risk for alcohol-related problems. This increased risk comes from the availability of alcohol, the absence of parents and the desire to fit in.

With colleges and universities opening their doors in just a few short weeks, now is a great time to talk with your child about substance abuse. These conversations can be uncomfortable, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have them. Young people need to know the dangers associated with recreational drug use.

Start the Conversation 

Here are a few tips for starting the conversation with your child.

  • Ask the right questions. Get a feel for how your child will handle drugs and alcohol in the college environment. How will they decide whether or not to drink? What happens if they find a student passed out by the bathroom? What if they find themselves at a party with only alcohol to drink?

  • Set realistic expectations. Let your child know what you expect from them in terms of grades and behavior. It’s recommended that you stay in close contact for the first six weeks, as this is when college students are most vulnerable.

  • Know the consequences. It’s important for students to know the legal consequences of getting caught with a fake ID, drinking underage or driving intoxicated. College campuses also have their own set of rules for underage drinking.

  • Define high-risk drinking. There is a difference between having one drink (after a meal, at the age of 21) compared to drinking to intoxication. Taking shots, chugging beer, playing drinking games and more are all done to get drunk.

  • Examine your values. What types of messages does your family send about drinking and drug use? Avoid telling stories that glorify drug or alcohol use, as this could set the wrong impression.

  • Encourage intervention. It’s hard for young people to go against the crowd, but someone has to. Encourage your child to intervene when someone needs help, such as when they are passed out or unconscious.

  • Know the scene. For young people, it can feel like “everyone” is using drugs or alcohol. As adults, we know this is exaggerated. Help your child understand that it’s okay to resist the peer pressure.

  • Keep in touch. Most importantly, keep in touch with your college student. Set up times to connect, and be on alert for changes in their personality or behavior. If you recognize anything out of the ordinary, encourage your child to use the resources on campus.

This is a pivotal time in your child’s life – and yours! Make the transition smoother by having this conversation early on, keeping the lines of communication open and staying alert for potential problems.

Inpatient vs Outpatient Rehab

When you’re ready to start a treatment program, you will have to decide between an inpatient and outpatient program. Each one has advantages and disadvantages to consider. For most people, there is no right or wrong decision. It’s about choosing the route of treatment that will accommodate your personal needs and help you heal from your addiction.

Choosing between an inpatient vs outpatient treatment program is a major decision that will affect your treatment experience. Because of this, we would like to take some time to address the features and benefits of both types of programs. The River Source is proud to offer inpatient and outpatient rehab, so you can count on us to provide you with honest feedback on the two approaches.

Let’s begin!

Why Get Professional Treatment

We know more than ever before about addiction. We still have a long way to go, but the modern view of addiction is that it’s a complex brain disease that is characterized by the compulsive use of drugs or alcohol, despite negative consequences. While researchers don’t know for certain what causes addiction, it’s believed to be the “perfect storm” of genetic, environmental and behavioral factors.

In many cases, drug use starts as a voluntary behavior, usually as a form of recreation or relaxation. Not everyone gets addicted, but some do. As an addict falls deeper into the disease, changes in the brain begin to take place. Over time, addicts find it difficult to get pleasure from everyday things in life. The only thing that brings them “happiness” is getting high.

It is very difficult to stop using drugs and alcohol on your own. If you are addicted, professional help is probably needed. Not only will an addiction treatment program help you detox and withdrawal in a safe, medically supervised environment, but also you will learn new skills and coping mechanisms to navigate the world without needing your constant: drugs or alcohol.  

Inpatient vs Outpatient Rehab

When making the decision to seek treatment, you have two main choices: an inpatient rehabilitation program or an outpatient rehabilitation program. Your needs and the severity of your addiction will largely drive the selection process.

  • An inpatient program requires you to live at the treatment facility. The benefit to this is that you receive around-the-clock supervision by the support staff. Whether it’s a side effect from a medication or a difficult day in recovery, the help you need is just around the corner. Additionally, a residential treatment program gets you away from everyday distractions and temptation that you might have at home.

  • An outpatient program does not require you to live at the facility. Most programs entail some type of daily treatment, but you return home to your family. The main benefit to outpatient treatment is that you can tend to your responsibilities such as work and family. This makes getting help more attractive and feasible. Outpatient care is also less expensive.

Generally speaking, inpatient programs are best for treating moderate to severe addictions. Addicts need to be in a sober, supportive, distraction-free environment so they can focus on getting better. Outpatient programs work well for recovering addicts, after an inpatient program has been completed. They provide structure and motivation for staying clean, but often aren’t enough to handle serious addictions.

Features of Inpatient Treatment

The River Source strongly recommends inpatient treatment to those who are struggling with drug or alcohol abuse. We realize that outpatient care may look attractive, but severe addicts need to be able to focus on their sobriety with no distractions. By choosing a residential program like ours, you can expect the following benefits.

  • Supervised detox. The recovery process starts with detoxification. The River Source staff effectively manages side effects, keeping patients as comfortable as possible. It’s reassuring to know that you can detox safely, with access to doctors, nurses and support staff.

  • Administration of medication. If you need any type of medication, an inpatient treatment program is qualified to administer it. The River Source has a wide range of conventional and holistic medicines that we use during detox, and we can successfully treat a dual diagnosis.

  • Group and individual therapy. A large part of the treatment process involves therapy. You will start treatment with a lot of therapy, and it will taper off based on your needs. Group therapy is a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with others, avoid isolation and practice empathy. Individual therapy is a time for you to learn about yourself, identify the reasons for the abuse and work toward positive changes in your life.

  • Amenities/Therapies. Treatment facilities vary. Some offer high-end services such as horseback riding, fine dining and private accommodations. Others are more practical in their offerings. The River Source has an active and engaging program schedule that includes yoga, acupuncture, massage therapy, infrared sauna therapy and vitamin therapy.

  • Desirable location. Most inpatient treatment programs are located in desirable settings such as beaches, mountains and deserts. The reason for this is to offer a calm, peaceful environment to seek treatment in. It’s mentally and physically rewarding to look out at a vast desert and watch the spectacular sunsets as you reconnect with your spiritual side.

  • Supportive environment. It’s very difficult to stop the cycle of abuse when you return home to the same environment where you’ve used drugs and alcohol. Things are compounded if you have family that drink alcohol or friends that use drugs. An inpatient program removes you from this environment and puts you in a safe, sober community with people who support your recovery.

  • Distraction free. Another great benefit of inpatient rehab is that it is free from distraction and temptation. You can focus entirely on your recovery without having to worry about what’s going on at home or work. This focus provides the foundation for a successful recovery.

Features of Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient rehab appeals to many people because of its flexibility. If you need support, you can get it while still attending school, going to work or raising your family. Outpatient treatment is a wonderful extension of treatment. If you can’t afford a longer stay in a residential program, or you find that you need a bit more support in early recovery, outpatient care offers structure and stability. It can also be effective for some addicts.

The features of an outpatient treatment program are:

  • Live at home. Not having to leave your home and family is a major perk to outpatient treatment. You can receive counseling in a variety of forms, and be held accountable for your actions without having to leave your spouse or children behind.

  • Continue working. Even though addicts have rights in the workplace, it’s understandable that not everyone can leave their jobs. If you are someone who needs to keep working, you can do so with an outpatient treatment program. If you are in school, you can continue your education as well.

  • Support network. If you have a good support network at home, you might not want to leave it during treatment. Not everyone has this type of system at home, but you may. If you feel that your family can help you stay on track with your goals, outpatient treatment may make sense.

  • Therapy and education. Even though you are not living in a facility 24/7, outpatient care still provides you with essential therapy and education. You will learn many effective skills to help you lead a sober life and have the chance to practice them in the real world.

  • Less expensive. Outpatient programs tend to be less expensive than traditional residential facilities. For a family that doesn’t have a lot of money, this can be a huge factor. Luckily, many treatment facilities do accept insurance and have options to reduce the cost of care.

Inpatient vs Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment: What’s Better?

Remember, it’s not about making the “right” choice but rather about the type of program that is going to serve your needs and help you achieve sobriety. We’ve highlighted the features of inpatient vs outpatient alcohol treatment and we hope that you have a better understanding of what to expect.

To summarize, intensive inpatient treatment allows for a higher likelihood of success and a reduced risk of relapse. Outpatient treatment lets you to practice relapse prevention techniques in the real world, during the treatment process.

With the benefits to both treatments, The River Source often recommends inpatient and outpatient care. We feel that the treatments can be highly effective for people with chemical addictions. It’s a time and financial investment, we do realize, but it can make all the difference between succeeding in recovery and not.

Because each person is unique, we highly recommend calling the treatment center of your choice and moving forward with an assessment. The River Source assesses all new patients so that we can confirm a diagnosis. It’s possible that you may have a co-occurring disorder such as anxiety or depression that needs to be addressed as well. When we know what we are dealing with, we can advise you of the options that will best fit your needs and help you reach your sobriety goals.

Packing for Rehab: Items to Bring

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Packing for inpatient rehab is not as glamorous as packing for vacation. You won’t find an Instagram photo of your suitcase with the caption, “Can’t wait to be in treatment!” While a rehabilitation program may not be a luxury vacation, it’s much more important and life-changing. You may not be coming home with a tan, but you will be coming home with a restored spirit and a second chance at life.

Here at The River Source, we find that it’s the little things that can make inpatient treatment more successful, such as by feeling organized and prepared. Below is a simple checklist of items to bring to rehab. We recommend speaking to the admissions staff for specifics, as some facilities are different. You can also read more information on our FAQ Page.

  • Clothes. We recommend packing 5-7 outfits. Clothes should be casual, comfortable and season-appropriate. The River Source is located in Arizona, so cool, breathable clothing is best year-round. Other clothing items to consider is a light jacket/sweater and exercise/recreation clothes.

  • Shoes. Two pairs of comfortable, casual shoes are adequate. It’s also a good idea to bring along a pair of sandals for the shower and slippers for the evening hours.

  • Toiletries. Personal items will be your responsibility, including toothpaste, a toothbrush and deodorant.

  • Medications. If you are on any medications, bring them along in their original bottles, sealed and unopened. All instructions should be included as well.

  • Dietary Supplements. You may bring vitamins and minerals as long as they’re in their original bottles. Supplements are always subject to approval.

  • Family Photos. Family and friends can be an incredible support system while you’re away. Bring along photos of treasured loved ones.

  • Pillow/Blanket. Inpatient programs offer clean, simple rooms with beds and dressers. However, many patients enjoy bringing a piece from home, such as their favorite pillow or blanket.

  • Laptop/Phone. You can use electronic devices during the designated hours of 4:30-6pm Arizona time. Use of phones and computers is at the discretion of The River Source staff and restricted during the first week.

  • Cash. While it’s not necessary to bring money, you can have a credit card on file or a small amount of money (no more than $100) that is kept in the office. You can use this for snacks.

Going to rehab comes with mixed emotions. A bit of preparation can help make the transition smoother. If you have additional questions on the admissions process, call The River Source. We’re here for you every step of the way!

When You Have a Behavioral Health Issue and an Addiction

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It’s not easy to have a mental illness. It’s not easy to have an addiction. When you have both, things get even more complicated. Yet for half of individuals with severe mental disorders, a dual diagnosis is their reality. The link between mental illness and substance abuse isn’t well understood. However, researchers are finding that with support, self-help and treatment, you can get your life back on track and heal from both the mental illness and the addiction.

What is the Connection Between Substance Abuse and Mental Illness?

In a dual diagnosis, the mental health issue and addiction have their own unique symptoms. These symptoms can make it difficult to function in everyday life, manage stress and relate to others. To make matters worse, the symptoms of both conditions impact each other. When the behavioral issue goes untreated, the addiction usually gets worse. As the substance abuse progresses, the mental illness usually does, too.

Probably the biggest question that people have is what comes first – the addiction or the mental illness. Addiction is common in people with mental health issues, but one does not directly cause the other. The most likely conditions that are associated with drug and alcohol use are depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety and schizophrenia.

  • Alcohol or drugs are often used to numb the feelings of depression or anxiety.

  • Alcohol and drug use increase the risk of mental illness in at-risk individuals.

  • Alcohol and drug use can make the symptoms of an existing behavioral issue worse.

Recognizing When You Have a Dual Diagnosis

It’s difficult to admit that you have a problem with drugs or alcohol and are suffering from symptoms of depression, anxiety or PTSD. You are not weak to admit this. In order to move forward in your life, you must recognize your need for professional treatment. Mental health problems and addiction do not get better when they are ignored.

Here are a few things to consider when determining your risk factors.

  • Family history. Have others in your family dealt with mental illness, alcohol abuse or drug addiction? This can put you at risk for developing these problems, too.

  • Sensitivity to substances. What is your relationship to drugs or alcohol? Are you sensitive to their effects?

  • Symptoms of mental illness. How do you feel when you’re sober? Do you feel depressed or anxious?

  • Treatment history. Have you been treated for mental illness or addiction in the past? If the treatment did not work, why do you think this was the case?

The first step in conquering the demons and working toward a healthy, happy and substance-free lifestyle is admitting that you have a problem. If you are ready to work through your dual diagnosis, call The River Source. We are successful in treating both conditions, and our treatment is affordable and confidential.