Addiction affects every corner of society, including the middle to higher income earners. We speak to Janine Elliot about new approaches available on the Gold Coast.
Janine Elliot has just opened Gold Coast Detox and Rehab Services. Her interest in addiction started 18 years ago when she met her Social Worker husband Alastair. He worked in a drug and alcohol addiction service. She was inspired by his commitment to helping people transform their lives. But it’s a one-shoe-fits-all service for those seeking help via public methods. Those who can pay for a private treatment program have few choices. “Community services do an amazing job with the resources they have, but they are always overstretched,” says Janine.
Addiction Treatments in the Public Domain
Patients admitted to hospitals or free/low cost detoxes said they had to be on a waiting list for up to six weeks. They also said they were “herded around like cattle” or they didn’t like the staff. They had to share a room. Or, they were over-medicated and got bored through the day with nothing to do. Professionals and those who work in the public arenas often left treatment early. They felt exposed or uncomfortable. Most of these people would be willing to pay for private treatment, but have nowhere to go.
After years of market research, Janine realised there was a need for detoxes and rehabs in a comfortable, non-clinical setting. “I noticed health retreats and yoga centres often serve as informal withdrawal programs, but they don’t have the funding, the skills or staff capacity for dealing with drug and alcohol detox.” People with addiction problems appreciated the supportive, therapeutic environment these centres offer nonetheless. They gravitate towards a more peaceful, private and holistic environment when given the option. “I wanted to offer clients a new model for drug and alcohol withdrawal with programs offering privacy, comfort and a high level of personal care.”
Janine believes addiction has a social stigma. Being in a clinical or hospital environment can make people feel institutionalised. Addiction is an uncomfortable process. “We make people feel at home by offering a beautiful retreat-style environment on the beachfront, with large rooms and all the creature comforts.” Janine says professionals need to stay in contact with their working life while they detox. So, clients can access the internet during their stay and use their phones.
Gold Coast Detox and Rehab Services aims to attract business people, corporates, celebrities and those with a public profile such as doctors, lawyers and politicians. Janine guarantees absolute confidentiality for clients. Personal details are NOT recorded on any government medical data system. This service offers 7-28 day drug and alcohol withdrawal programs with short-term rehabilitation. Clients have 24-hour medical care with a supervising doctor, nurses and addiction counsellors. Daily massage, acupuncture and physical therapies are also available. Healthy and nutritious gourmet meals are prepared and served daily. “But there’s nothing better than therapy on the beach,” says Janine.
It’s often tricky to figure out what’s going on when your loved one has an addiction. You may be the last one to know. It’s easy to hide an addiction, especially in the early days. Knowing what to look for can mean your friend, partner or family member can get the help they need. Watching out for key symptoms can help you identify which drug is the problem.
It’s common to have two issues with addiction, the addiction itself and the underlying mental health issue. This is called Dual Diagnosis. The drug may be covering up another issue such as depression or PTSD. Your addiction counsellor can help you with your underlying diagnosis and help you liaise with your doctor find the correct treatment plan. It also important to note there are five stages of change in addiction treatment. Your alcohol and drug counsellor can help work through which stage you are at and help plan for your withdrawal. Not everyone is ready for change, but they can get ready with help.
Stages of Change
Signs Of Drug Usage
Aggression, low mood, taking days off, missing events, weight changes, looking unkempt, being unreliable, disconnecting from family, not paying bills.
Agitation, overstimulation, manic, dramatic loss of weight, extreme behaviour, mood swings, psychosis, insomnia, facial skin eruptions, dilated pupils, loss appetite, increased sex drive, change of social scene.
Apathy, loss of memory, paranoia, philosophising, uncompleted tasks, lack of motivation, weight changes, increased appetite/ binging, conspiracy theories, isolation and agoraphobia.
Pinned pupils, drowsiness and sleeping a lot, aches and pains, clammy skin, sweats, loss of money, loss of daily routine.
Sniffing, runny nose, red eyes, loss of money (cocaine is more expensive than gold), agitated, over-confident, opinionated, euphoria, high energy, hypersexual, quick mood changes to depression and paranoia.
Heightened enjoyment, being out dancing all night, high energy, sociable but without sex drive, feeling nauseous, delirium, rebound long-term depression, bad hangovers.
Sleepiness, apathy, anxiety, incoordination, carelessness, bad reactions with alcohol.
Gold Coast Detox and Rehab Services opened last month. For more info, see goldcoastdetoxandrehab.com or phone 0476468860 ■
JANINE ELLIOTT is Manager at Gold Coast Detox and Rehab Services on the Gold Coast. She has a background in science, health science and nutrition and has been working with clients for 25 years in health centres and retreats. Janine has worked in health and medical clinics both in Melbourne and the Gold Coast, specialising in chronic illness and mental health. She has also worked in the not-for-profit sector since 2012 both in Australia and overseas, managing health projects and clinics. She teaches tertiary level health science at Endeavour College on the Gold Coast.
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