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Treatment in UK vs Treatment in US

man in recovery

Having been in primary care facilities in both London and America I find it very interesting to see the differences in the quality of treatment and the service provided. It is almost astounding to me at how the therapy can differ so much in both variety and progressiveness and the all-around effectiveness of the treatment you receive. Not to sound like I am going to be insulting any country or even treatment facility in particular, all that is written is simply my personal experience and feelings, not necessarily shared by everyone around me. However after reading this you may realize as to why I moved from London to America. Not exactly a convenient trip just for some therapy?

My first experience of rehab was back in 2009 in London. My parents shipped me off to what they were told and believed was the best treatment facility for me. In fact, it is known to be the best in South England, especially around London, with the exception to facilities reserved for only the highest of upper class or the most famous celebrities who require extra, more expensive care, unlike myself a mere mortal in their presence. This place was nothing like I had imagined, or more likely hoped, a rehab to be.

Understandably I was put on immediate restrictions in the way of limited phone usages and no laptop privileges amongst others. At the time, however, I was in the process of an application to a university and felt that their ‘across the board’ rule on laptops could have maybe been wavered considering I needed to apply via internet with an upcoming deadline. I soon began to find out that this would become a trend for this particular facility.

The building itself and the environment thrust upon you was that of a morbid hospital. Not an environment particularly helpful for someone with depression. The staff there was not any better; they constantly harass the patients as if they were fulfilling a sinister plot laid down in your case management file. When you were feeling unwell, for me from withdrawals, you would be isolated from everyone, you would not be allowed out the room for 24 hours or to speak to anybody, not even to attend therapy. All this because I was just feeling a little tired. The therapy itself was unusual to say the least with groups like movement therapy where I saw a 40 year old man standing on the piano wrapping the curtain around him so he could pretend to be a child hiding up a tree, I would imagine it could be effective, if I had opened up to it more. All in all the best treatment place around London is not living up to its name, and my parents sent me twice.

A few years later, April of this year, I found myself in need of some more therapy. Instead of the depressing hospital I was dreading the thought of going back to, I found myself at an outpatient facility closer to home. The building was yet again another very hospital environment. However I looked past that thinking I was only going to be doing outpatient. The therapy was not so progressive at the last place however it wasn’t varied in any way either. There were only two forms of groups, either cognitive behavioral therapy every day or interpersonal therapy, a process group. I ended up as an in-patient and didn’t attend or have the opportunity to attend a single fellowship meeting like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotic Anonymous throughout my stay. The key benefit of the place was the fact that the staff did seem to be more relaxed and the food was actually very good.

To summarize, I found that treatment in the United Kingdom for me was ineffective with a similarity of depressing environments and poor quality of therapy and overall treatment.

After my last failed attempt at recovery in London I flew across to Tucson, Arizona. Without a doubt the place I visited was the best thing that ever happened to me in my recovery. The therapeutic staff was of the highest standard I have ever seen, far outshining my best expectations. Each and every member of staff was kind, caring, insightful and very helpful. The groups themselves took the best of what I’d experienced in London with a much larger variety in group styles and a larger quantity of groups running as a whole. There was a standard process group every morning and I am grateful for all the work I managed to put in and get out with my primary therapist. On average there were 10 groups a day running at 3 different times, not including the primary process group. At night there was always the option to go to a fellowship meeting. The environment itself was therapeutic, unlike that of London, with ample recreational possible such as swimming, basketball, volleyball and gym. We were taken out every weekend on outings to museums, zoos and art galleries. All these benefits on top of the fact I had a view of nature from my window instead of a London newsagent and alcohol store.

After Arizona I moved to Los Angeles for extended care. I have to say the extended care facility didn’t quite compare in quality as to that of Arizona but still beat London hands down. As with Arizona there was a variety of useful groups every day with the inclusion of a process group in the morning. The staff there did care a lot about the patients and I hope to stay in contact with a few of them. There was a larger sense of freedom with me being allowed out in the afternoons as long as I said where I was going, who with and when I would be back. The only enforcement really (asides from the obvious no drinking, using and such) was that you attend a fellowship meeting every day. Being in Los Angeles itself helped me a lot in contrast to being in London. One would expect me to be bias towards where I grew up but I have found that the support network in Los Angeles throughout the fellowship is amazing. Everyone I have met in meetings are extremely welcoming and caring and I can now say that I have a good source of help in recovery should I need it.

I feel America provides a much better opportunity for those who are hoping to get sober and clean or deal with mental disorders such as trauma, anxiety and depression. The fellowship meetings are of a much higher standard and availability than in London. The therapy itself is much more progressive and effective to meet someone’s individual needs. The environment is more grounding back to nature instead of the feeling of being stuck inside a mental asylum from those horror movies you’ll sometimes see.

All in all, I cannot really find many similarities in available treatment between America and the United Kingdom. The only thing in common seems to be excellent food and high fees. The differences in America I have described are what helped me get to where I am now. Content and Sober.

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Filed under: Treatment · Tags: 12 step program, 12-steps, alcohol rehab, Alcoholics Anonymous, alcoholism, drug treatment, prescription drug addiction, Recovery, treatment center