The Benefits of Addiction Treatment in Southern California

When it comes to discussing the need for drug or alcohol addiction treatment, it’s common for a lot of people to have no real idea of the process. Yet there are plenty of professional addiction treatment facilities in Southern California providing information and education about how treatments work to improve recovery outcomes.

Despite the readily availability of professional treatment options in Southern California, it’s common for some people to avoid entering drug rehab. The reasons people avoid seeking treatment are different for each individual.

Some believe they have their drug or alcohol use under control and that they could quit whenever they wanted. Others may be worried about what will happen in rehab. Still others may be concerned about the financial aspect of paying for addiction treatment.

Regardless of the barriers, seeking addiction treatment is the first conscious step each person takes on their own individual paths to recovery.

Why Is Treatment Necessary?

It’s too common for people to believe that someone struggling in a cycle of addiction simply needs to use willpower and just quit. They seem to think that the conscious decision to stop taking drugs or drinking alcohol will result in a couple of rough days during detox, and then they’ll somehow be miraculously cured.

Detoxing Alone is Difficult

What those people don’t understand is that detox is only the first step on the journey to recovery. There is also risk of potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms, some of which may require emergency medical assistance.

When a person tries to detox at home, there is also a dramatically increased risk of relapse. After being abstinent for a few days, it’s common for a person’s tolerance levels to drop. If that person does relapse and start abusing drugs or alcohol again, the risk of accidental overdose is increased significantly.

Detox Does Not Address Triggers

Detox only clears the effects of the substance from the body. On its own detox does nothing to address the underlying psychological triggers behind addictive behaviors.

Research published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reveals that there are certain principles of effective treatment for drug or alcohol addiction1.

Professional rehab treatment programs use a specific combination of traditional treatments, medical monitoring and alternative therapies designed to increase likely outcomes for recovering people. Treatment programs in Southern California work to address both the physical and psychological aspects of addiction.

12 Benefits of Addiction Treatment

Aside from being a much safer way to begin the recovery process, there are lots of benefits to entering rehab addiction treatment. Here are some of the primary benefits to consider:

1. Ease physical withdrawal symptoms

When a person has been abusing drugs or alcohol over a period of time, it can be common for a range of withdrawal symptoms to emerge. Some of those symptoms may be annoying, while others can become excruciatingly painful.

Going through the detox process in a residential inpatient rehab center means the person in recovery has around-the-clock monitoring and medical supervision. Addiction treatment specialists are also able to provide certain medications that can help ease the worst of any withdrawal symptoms that emerge.

2. Medical care


In severe cases, some withdrawal symptoms could become life threatening and require emergency medical assistance. Going through the detox process under medical supervision makes the process much safer and provides the care needed should life threatening withdrawal symptoms occur.

If the person in recovery has other medical conditions or mental health issues, proper treatment and medication can be administered to help ensure symptoms are treated. Regardless of the potential problem, beginning the recovery process under the medical supervision of professionals is much safer than the alternative.

3. Proper diagnosis

Having access to medical monitoring also makes it easier to uncover any undiagnosed or poorly treated mental health issues that may exist, such as anxiety or depression. Attempting to recover from a substance abuse disorder without also addressing other co-existing disorders makes the process far more challenging.

In the event that any co-existing disorders are discovered, treatments and medications can be customized to suit each person’s individual needs. When both disorders are treated simultaneously, it becomes easier to improve recovery outcomes.

4. A safe environment

Entering an addiction rehab treatment center provides people in recovery with a safe environment to begin the recovery process. Moving temporarily into an inpatient treatment facility means they are removed from people, places and situations associated with substance use.

The result is that the person is free to focus on the recovery process without constant reminders that act as triggers for drug or alcohol use.

If the person in recovery is concerned about returning to a place or to people who were conducive to their previous substance abuse habits, it might be possible to step down from inpatient treatment into a sober living community or halfway house. Sober living homes are designed to allow people in recovery to continue to strengthen newly learned patterns of behaviors without the temptation of previous triggers, which increases the likelihood of long-term success.

5. Specialized therapy

When the detox process is complete, addiction specialists will begin to tailor a combination of therapies for each person’s unique needs. Just as the triggers behind each person’s addictive use are individual to them, the treatments needed also must be customized.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a specialized form of therapy that works to help identify underlying reasons for wanting to change self-destructive behaviors. Throughout therapy, the person in recovery learns to recognize their individual addiction triggers and find more positive and fulfilling solutions.

People in recovery are also encouraged to attend individual one-on-one counseling sessions to work through any other problems that may be linked to addictive substance use. Counseling and therapy sessions are always customized to suit each person’s needs and issues.

6. Peer support

Perhaps one of the most underestimated benefits of addiction treatment in Southern California is the advantage of peer support. Far too many people caught in a cycle of addiction end up isolating themselves from people they love.

After entry into addiction treatment, those in recovery are encouraged to participate in group support therapy meetings. Throughout those group meetings, people in recovery can meet others facing the same challenges. Meetings can form new friendships and result in peer support, which helps increase the likelihood of long-term recovery.

Most people might be familiar with traditional group therapies, such as 12-step meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA). However, many people are completely unaware that there are also alternative group programs available that don’t focus as much on the spiritual side of recovery.

Some examples of alternative programs include SMART Recovery, Women for Sobriety, SOS Sobriety, and LifeRing Secular Recovery. In some cases, the connections forged during group recovery sessions continue for years after treatment has ended.

7. Alternative therapies

When many people hear about alternative therapies being integrated into more traditional treatment models, they’re often skeptical at first. However, alternative therapies teach people in recovery to explore natural ways to cope with stress and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.

Some common types of alternative therapies that may be integrated into treatment include meditation, yoga, exercise programs, equine therapy, biofeedback and acupuncture.

After leaving rehab treatments, many continue to engage in the alternative therapies they personally found most helpful for their own recovery journey.

8. Family therapy

Family has typically gone through just as much turmoil as the person in recovery. Most comprehensive drug and alcohol addiction rehab programs incorporate family therapy sessions into treatment.

The objective of family therapy is not just to educate family members about their role in the addiction recovery process. Family therapy also helps begin to heal and repair damaged relationships and make it easier for the person in recovery to feel as though they still have the support and love of family members.

9. Education about addiction

Many people don’t understand how or why others become addicted to drugs or alcohol. Some assume the person has no willpower or that they’re weak. What they don’t understand is that addiction is a complex disease of the brain.

According to the NIDA, abusing mind-altering substances causes significant changes the brain’s chemistry2. Even if the person wants to stop or recognizes the problems drugs or alcohol cause in their life, they still might not be able to quit.

Throughout treatment and therapy sessions, the person in recovery has the advantage of learning more about the true nature of addiction.

10. Relapse prevention planning

Relapse prevention planning is an effective tool that helps with recognizing early warning signs of a potential relapse. A person trying to recover from drug or alcohol addiction without professional help is more likely to fall back into previous patterns of behavior soon after returning to independent living, simply because they struggle to grasp how they can prevent it from happening.

Understanding your own individual addiction triggers and temptations is the first step to avoiding relapse. Learning strong new skills that help avoid returning to previous patterns of behavior and maintaining abstinence is a big part of the recovery process.

Throughout an addiction treatment program, each person in recovery learns to identify their own individual addiction triggers and then develops healthy ways to stay on track without giving in to temptation.

11. Recovery tools and skills

Throughout a comprehensive addiction treatment program, participants are taught a range of strong recovery tools and skills. It might sound vague at first, but recovery tools are specific strategies that can be applied into the future after leaving rehab.

The point of learning a variety of different recovery skills is to reduce the risk of relapsing back into self-destructive patterns of behavior after leaving treatment. During rehab treatments, people in recovery learn to participate in therapy sessions and explore various alternative therapies.

After leaving rehab, the recovery skills learned can be taken back to regular life with them. The tools and skills that work for each person will differ slightly, based on the methods that worked best for them.

12. Aftercare programs

Just because treatment has ended doesn’t mean that support should end too. When a person leaves rehab treatment, they should be armed with an array of strong relapse prevention strategies and recovery skills.

Many people also require ongoing therapy, support, medication and treatment even after they leave rehab. A good addiction rehab treatment program should offer access to a range of aftercare programs designed to provide long-term support into the future.

The types of aftercare programs recommended for each person might vary, as everyone’s needs are different. Some people may need to step down from an inpatient treatment program to an intensive outpatient program to continue therapy sessions.

Others may need ongoing therapy sessions to continue working through issues. Still others may need to step down into sober living homes temporarily instead of returning to independent living to give them the opportunity to put newly learned recovery skills into practice.

In all these cases, access to ongoing therapy and treatment is always made available. For those who found benefits in participating in alternative therapies, continuing practicing the disciplines learned during rehab treatment is encouraged.

If you or someone you know is struggling to break free from a cycle of drug or alcohol addiction, take the time to reach out and ask for help. There are so many different treatment options available each designed to help people discover healthy, productive ways to live a sober lifestyle long after leaving rehab treatments.

Why Recover in Southern California?

The majority of addiction rehab treatment programs across America use a combination of the therapies and treatments mentioned above. However, when you choose to begin your journey to recovery in Southern California, you can take advantage of some additional benefits.

Warm climate:

The warmer weather in Southern California makes it much easier to spend more time outdoors. During rehab treatments, most people learn the benefits of engaging in physical activity. If you’re recovering in Southern California you have plenty of opportunities to enjoy some healthy outdoor activities, such as hiking, swimming, biking, or even taking a leisurely stroll in the park or along the beach.

Proximity to water:

No matter where you are in Southern California, there’s water nearby. Being near water can promote relaxation, which is an important element of the recovery process. You can head to the Pacific Ocean and enjoy some quiet time relaxing on the beach or explore Fairmount Park and hike along the Santa Ana River or head to Whitewater Preserve to cool off in the pond


Getting outdoors and into the sunshine can help boost your vitamin D levels. Studies show3 that many people in recovery from addiction suffer symptoms of vitamin D deficiency, which can cause symptoms including anxiety, depression, mood swings and muscle pain.

According to a study published by the Harvard Medical School4, a simple 30-minute trip to the beach can provide your body with all the vitamin D it needs for the day. Spending time in Southern California during recovery increases the opportunity to enjoy more sunshine.

Dr. Venice Sanchez


Clinical Outreach Specialist, Europe Division

Dr. Sanchez works closely with Truvida Recovery patients regarding substance abuse and related mental illnesses and creates a supportive, cooperative and informed therapeutic environment. Her areas of expertise include Substance Dependence, Dual Diagnosis, Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Generalized anxiety disorder, Panic Disorder, Bereavement, Acute stress disorder, and more. Ms Sanchez has extensive training with experts in the field of Substance Abuse, and mood and thought disorders underlying the substance use. She received a Bachelor’s degree from University of California, Los Angeles and Medical Degree from Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. She continues training at the UC Irvine Psychiatry Residency Program and has been recognized with the Outstanding Resident of the Year Award.

Jaime Askew


Clinical Director

Ms. Askew is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor who has been working in the field treating substance abuse and mental health issues for over twenty years.  She obtained a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology, with an emphasis in Marriage, Family, & Child Counseling from Pepperdine University and was among the first to obtain the LPCC license in the state of California.  She has been providing clinical supervision and training to interns, conducting workshops, and is a certified Trauma therapy trainer.  Her areas of expertise include working with legal issues, court ordered treatment, family preservation, trauma therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, family systems, social skills training, play therapy, and career/ vocational counseling.  Her passion is in advocating for at risk populations, holistic healing, and treating the underlying, core issues to help individuals achieve their maximum potential and happiness.  Jaime’s extensive experience and passionate leadership is of extreme importance to the overall TruVida clinical program, and her hands-on guidance of our clinical team insures that each patient is receiving optimal therapeutic treatment and care.

John Biroc

Consulting Psychologist

Dr. Biroc has a broad base of mental health and addiction recovery training and experience. He has supervised and taught therapists in various methodologies of effectively working with groups and individuals during therapy. He created and set up new group structures and trained staff in understanding the challenges of addiction recovery. He also helped develop curricula in Sociodrama and Psychodrama. Dr. Biroc is devoted to breaking paradigms that prevent progress in the path to lasting recovery. He is a member of the Nat’l Association of Marriage and Family therapists, and has a Ph.D. degree in Psychology, and a M.S. degree in Counseling from USC.

Dr. Nader Siahdohoni

Consulting Psychologist


Dr. Nader is one our esteemed consulting Psychologists who provides our Clients with various breakthrough therapy’s that focus the functional systems including neurons, neurotransmitters, and certain brain waves that enable the way we think, behave, move, feel, and maintain homeostasis. Such therapy’s include NeuroMax neurofeedback, the state of art integrated technology in Neurofeedback, combinations of wireless Electroencephalogram (EEG), real time brain mapping and a unique and exceptional neuropathway therapy called “Visual Concentration Attention Therapy (VCAT)”. Dr Nader graduated from Walden University.

Tiffany Agra


LMFT #103693

Ms. Agra is a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist, who has been working with individuals, couples, families, and groups for the past seven years. Her other therapeutic approaches include Narrative Therapy, Family Systems Theory, Psychodynamic dream interpretation, and Gestalt Psychology. She has also been a Guest Speaker at other organizations. This unique background has made her effective at helping clients overcome the grip of substance addiction. Tiffany obtained two Bachelor’s degrees from the University of California, Davis, and her Master’s degree from the California State University, Long Beach. She has worked for both the county of Orange and Riverside, helping those who struggle with addiction and mental illness. In addition to providing evidenced-based approaches to the clinical program at Truvida Recovery, she brings her compassion as a fellow addict in recovery; living proof that we do get better!

Deborah Wieland


MS, LMFT #96864

Ms. Wieland is an Eclectic EMDR Therapist, using R-TEP and G-TEP, and specializes in several modalities in treating Substance Use issues, Dual Diagnosis, Complex Trauma, and Severe Mental illness. Deborah also provides several types of therapy such as Psychodynamic, Rogerian, CBT, DBT, IFS, PICT, MI, Grief Recovery, Sand Tray, and Attachment Theory to help her patients achieve mental wellness and a sober lifestyle.

She has worked with Psychiatric Hospitals providing crisis interventions and psychotherapy to those struggling with substance abuse issues, mental health issues, and domestic violence. She completed her undergraduate and graduate studies at Vanguard University of Southern California. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Summa Cum Laude and a Master of Science in Clinical Psychology. She is currently completing her Doctoral studies in Clinical Psychology at Cal Southern University. Deborah is an active member of EMDRIA, California Association Marriage Family Therapist (CAMFT), American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), and Psi Chi International Honors Society of Psychology.

Ashley McLaughlin



Ms. McLaughlin is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in EMDR therapy. She brings over ten years of experience working in the field of addiction to the Truvida Team. She obtained a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology, with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from Pepperdine University and has two Bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Economics from University of California, San Diego. Ms. McLaughlin was trained in EMDR in 2013 and since has been helping individuals process through past traumatic experiences that have contributed to current struggles with substance abuse and mental health symptoms. Her extensive experience and passion for this field has helped guide individuals through the process of recovery in order to experience freedom from their past and a hope for their future.

Travis Taylor



Mr. Taylor is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in  Drug Abuse & Addiction,  PTSD, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Borderline Personality, Codependency, Coping Skills, Depression, Dual Diagnosis. Taylor uses an integrative approach geared towards understanding self, specifically what drives one’s thoughts and behaviors. He excels in helping patients identify automatic thoughts that lead to specific feelings and undesired actions. Another useful approach stems from understanding how thoughts and behaviors are fueled by former messages that have been consistently reinforced. Travis has over 6 years of therapeutic practice and obtained a Master’s degree at Vanguard University.

Kat Johnson

AOD Counselor, Group Facilitator

With almost 10 years experience working at treatment centers, Kat Johnson shares her wisdom and passion for balanced living, creative writing, and meditation and how each plays a role in early recovery and beyond. Certified as a CADC II, and supported by a bachelors in psychology, Kat’s infectious energy brings her groups to life. She is grateful for every opportunity to spread health and wellness.

Paige A. Chastain

AOD Counselor, Case Manager

Ms. Chastain has dedicated her life to helping the suffering addict/alcoholic, bringing personal experience to both individual substance abuse and group counseling settings. She has worked in the field of addiction for several years, currently working as an addiction counselor and case manager.  Paige too, is a collaborative member of the multi-disciplinary team providing excellence in addiction services, working with clients from detox to intensive outpatient levels of care. She holds a strong skill-set in Psychoeducation, Motivational Interviewing and Dialectical Behavior Therapy.  She also has extensive experience with 12-step recovery programs. Paige is passionate about treating the client with empathy, compassion and respect throughout the client’s journey.  Paige holds an AA from Saddleback College, a BA from the University of California of Irvine and is a certified CADC-I holding memberships with CCAPP and NAADAC.

Lesley Richards

AOD Counselor, Interventionist

Ms. Richards began in this field of healthcare as a volunteer for substance abuse treatment centers and worked her way up from there. Lesley has dedicated her life to helping the suffering addict. it is here strong belief that everyone deserves to have the opportunity to have a safe and sober life.  She is very compassionate about her work as an addiction counselor, and has a strong commitment in helping patients struggling with addiction in developing healthy coping mechanisms, and developing new positive behavioral habits.  Her Group counseling sessions are highly sought after within the TruVida program.  Lesley is a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC), National Certified Intervention Professional (NCIP), Nationally Certified Recovery Coach (NCRC), and is a member of the California Consortium of Addiction programs (CCAP), as well as the International Association of Addiction Professionals.

Christine Green

Treatment Facilitator

Christine Green is a certified personal trainer, and yoga instructor. Ms. Green is dedicated to helping patients struggling with substance abuse transform their lives through a consciousness-based approach to body-in-motion fitness.

Christine passionately shares her 18 years experience with our clients by sharing her specialized Yoga & Energy Healing Program, which she has developed over the past 8 years of working directly with addicts and alcoholics. Her Yoga program facilitates integration of all the layers of life – environmental, physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual with the primary initial goal of overcoming withdrawal symptoms and cravings from drug and alcohol dependency. TruVida is fortunate to have her as part of the team.

Allison Goode

Art in Recovery Counselor

Allison Goode is a lifelong resident of Laguna Beach and professional artist for over 15 years, and has developed a very successful and trans-formative Art in Recovery program in treatment facilities through out California. Her passion for the fine arts and helping others recover from substance abuse addiction is contagious. Allison has a unique ability to connect with clients through the creative process helping clients set positive goals for their recovery. Ms. Goode has studied Fine Art and Graphic Design at Laguna College of Art and Design, is a certified RADT1 technician, and is currently completing her CCAPP certification program.

Thomas Mladinich

Admissions Manager

Mr. Mladinich hard work ethic and dedication make him a key part of the TruVida team. Tom’s ability to connect and relate with others have allowed him to excel as admissions manager. His personal experience has allowed him to proudly serve those in need of recovery from addiction. Tom is eager to work with our clients and provide the experience, strength and hope that they need to find success in recovery.

Willie Sanchez

Operations Manager

Mr. Sanchez is a self-motivated professional with a positive attitude. He is actively involved in a 12 step fellowship. He effectively contributes to each Patient with their struggles with addiction. Willie is RADT1 certified counselor and has been educated at Long Beach City College.

Jose Flores

Program Manager

Mr. Flores is a highly motivated and hardworking team member with TruVida. He has several years of experience working in treatment helping individuals get back on track, achieving a lot of great results. He brings problem solving skills and experience to use everyday, and is proud and passionate about his profession as a RADT-I program manager.

Dr. Andrew Morrow

MD, Psychiatrist


Dr Morrow is a member of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology Psychiatry, who specializes in the treatment of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, thought disorders, other mental health issues, and substance abuse addictions. Having undergone extensive training in medical school, psychiatric residency and over 15 years of psychiatric practice, he is well trained in both psychotherapy and medication management of mental problems. Dr Morrow integrates psychological, and social characteristics with biological therapy to treat the whole person; mind, body, and soul, and it is with great humility that he pursues the goal of freedom from substance abuse addictions.

Dr DeSanto conducted his undergraduate education at St. Louis University with a B.S. in Chemistry graduating summa cum laude. He then attended medical school at St. Louis University School of Medicine, and completed his residency training and served as chief resident at University of California, Irvine Medical Center.