At The Recovery Village in Umatilla, Florida, a carefully structured plan for addiction treatment is outlined for each patient.

The first step is acute medical detoxification, followed by residential treatment. Then comes partial hospitalization programs, along with intensive outpatient treatment, aftercare services and options for sober housing if need. Led by the center’s medical director, Dr. Jeffrey Weinheimer, a team of specialists that includes psychiatrists, nutritionists, dietitians, mental health therapists, nurses, integrative therapists and health technicians create each client’s customized plan. 

The setting, meanwhile, is serene. The 80-bed facility features green spaces and sits near the entrance to the Ocala National Forest. In addition, the facility offers a variety of resort-like amenities — from a fitness center, basketball courts and pool to yoga and art therapy.

Every Path Is Different

When it comes to rehabilitation care, what is much more difficult to forecast is what happens along the journey of patient recovery. That’s because every person’s path is different.

There is a plan for everyone, absolutely. But there isn’t necessarily an exact script for everyone. The patients write it themselves.

That is the backdrop of treatment care at The Recovery Village, where, more than anything else, the emphasis is squarely on one component: the patients. Or, perhaps more specifically, you.

“There isn’t one single path to recovery. Each person has to take his or her own path,” asserts Dana Giblock, clinical director at The Recovery Village.

Giblock, a licensed clinical social worker in state of Florida for nearly two decades, is certainly comfortable pointing out all that the treatment facility has to offer. However, she is even more at ease making this statement: “Everything is case-by-case, 100 percent; there is no one-size-fits-all scenario.”

In other words, individualized attention.

Giblock compares entry into The Recovery Village to someone’s first visit to a general practitioner. The doctor makes an assessment before taking an individualized course of action. For patients in recovery treatment, the same concept applies.

At the admissions stage, clients receive comprehensive neuropsychological evaluations to determine their physical, emotional and psychosocial needs. That’s just for starters.

Notably, anxiety is often the first observation.

“It’s not uncommon for new patients to not want to participate at all. They are closed off and don’t want to share. They keep to themselves. We hear, ‘I don’t want to,’ adds Giblock, with understanding.

Lead therapist and licensed mental health counselor Richard Jose Molina agrees.

“Generally, there is a lot of anxiety for patients when they first come into a place like this, especially if they’ve never been to treatment before. They don’t know what to expect. Most of them are used to a level of isolation in their addiction. They’re not used to being around people, particularly ones they don’t know,” describes Molina.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, approximately 20 percent of Americans with an anxiety or mood disorder, such as depression, struggle with a substance use disorder. Similarly, about 20 percent of those with an alcohol or substance use disorder also have an anxiety or mood disorder.

At The Recovery Village, such observation and evaluation —  starting even before official inpatient treatment begins — continues throughout the entire treatment process.

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Step By Step

Next comes the real start of addiction treatment — that carefully structured plan, spanning a total of approximately five to seven weeks.

For many patients at The Recovery Village, the launching point is detoxification, lasting five to 10 days. Patients arrive seeking relief from the acute effects of drugs or alcohol. They receive it through what essentially is an advanced medically assisted cleansing of alcohol, opiates and prescription drugs from the body. Clients are monitored 24 hours a day, and the process isn’t easy.

The next step is residential treatment, where medically stable patients find respite from the distractions of everyday life, allowing them to focus full attention on recovery while living onsite.

Given the difficulty of detoxification, part of this stage includes Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms, or PAWS. This involves sensitivity to light and sound, trouble sleeping, restlessness, agitation, nausea, dizziness, headaches, cravings and possibly seizures.

Typically, PAWS occurs within three weeks of initial treatment and should be expected as part of the recovery process, according to the American Addiction Centers.  

“Most of what we’re focused on is getting over a lot of those symptoms,” Molina notes.

In addition, residential treatment encompasses one-on-one and group therapy sessions, nutritional counseling, physical therapy, and an introduction to 12-step support groups, among other elements. Again, services include 24-hour care and monitoring, providing further individualized care. Also, relapse is an emerging concern at this stage. As a result, relapse-prevention planning is a crucial part of residential treatment.

By the time patients get to the next step, the partial hospitalization program (PHP) stage of care, they’re at least halfway through their inpatient treatment. The hope is that most of them are starting to move past their post-acute withdrawal symptoms. So, explains Molina, the target is nurturing emotional stability and enhancing coping skills. The ultimate goal is reaching aftercare — having the ability to rejoin the community through an outpatient program or sober living home.

In PHP, patients continue to live onsite while actively participating in intensive individual therapy, group counseling, 12-step preparation, life skills classes and other recovery services. This also includes continued recreation therapy, fitness training and expressive therapy.

The final step of inpatient treatment is intensive outpatient treatment, or IOP. Patients, advancing forward with each passing day, receive recovery services during specified daytime hours while living in transitional sober housing or private residences.

As patients progress toward aftercare, the key questions center on the future: Can they vocalize their emotions? Can they vocalize what they plan on doing when they leave here? Are other appointments already set up? Will they need post-treatment medications?

“Patients in this stage already have demonstrated a high level of motivation and accountability, and they have shown the necessary coping strategies to deal with stressors and triggers,” cites Molina.

Continuous Recovery

Recovery is a continuous healing process, and rehabilitation is only the beginning of a long journey, Molina emphasizes.

“The overriding topic,” Molina says, “is what’s going to happen next in aftercare?”

Yet, for those who are about to embark on their journey — whether yourself or a loved one — there is this news: At The Recovery Village, rehabilitation is a journey marked by individual paths as well as individualized treatments.

“Is this going to work?” asks Giblock. “My short answer is, yes.”

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