The True Power of Peer Pressure

friends taking selfie at billiard pool table

The words and behaviors of others can have a huge impact on the decisions we make in life, especially in our younger years. Young adults, especially teenagers, are more likely to make decisions based on what their friends do. In fact, one study found that children are six times more likely to try alcohol if they have a friend who drinks.1

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Growing Cultural Competence with Vanina Hochman and Recovery Unscripted

Recovery Unscripted with Vanina Hochman

Vanina Hochman, Community Relations Representative of Retreat Premier Addiction Treatment Centers, sat down for an interview with the Recovery Unscripted podcast after her recent presentation at the Innovations in Behavioral Healthcare conference in Nashville, Tennessee. Her conversation with podcast host David Condos explores the idea of cultural competence in mental health care as well as some of the important concepts that can better equip listeners to reach patients with a wide array of cultural backgrounds.

Based on her 15 years of clinical experience and her passion for understanding behaviors, she has been able to outreach specifically to the Hispanic community in South Florida. Through her soft-spoken voice, you can tell she is a natural fit for this task and has the passion to truly understand behaviors and help others heal.

One point Hochman touches on in the podcast is that culture values and beliefs can often be a barrier to treatment, since many individuals may not be able to fully connect with treatment providers or peers who come from a different way of living life. She also advocates for all practitioners to grow their own culture competence, which means being open minded, curious and willing to learn about other cultures. This understanding can help a patient feel comfortable and removes a barrier to treatment.

Through all of this, she reminds us of the importance of providing quality care. It all starts with diagnosis. If someone is misdiagnosed due to a lack of communication or understanding, it can negatively impact the quality of treatment they receive from that point forward. No matter what kind of treatment it is, all patients need to feel connected with their providers in order to truly heal. Love, trust and connection are the keys to long-term recovery.

Listen to the podcast interview here!

Listen to Hochman’s full interview with Recovery Unscripted on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or the podcast’s website to hear more about how culture can affect a community’s view of mental health and how to grow your cultural competence in reaching others.

What is Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy?

lady feeding horse

These days, there are all sorts of treatments available for people recovering from addiction. Medications, group therapy, and outpatient drug rehab are all commonly used, but there are also other forms of drug addiction treatment that can make recovery feel a lot less clinical. Enter: equine-assisted therapy (EAT). Here’s what you need to know about this form of therapy and how it may be a key component on your road to recovery.

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Are Identical Twins Usually Both Addicts?

half shaved man looking at himself

Is addiction caused by the environment someone experiences throughout life? Or is addiction a problem that lies deep within one’s genetic makeup? These questions have plagued researchers for years, and the answers greatly impact how we treat addicts. Addiction caused by a lack of nurture means that coaching and therapy in drug rehabilitation may be the best answer, while addiction caused by nature may be best treated with medication.

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How to Overcome the Denial of Being a Substance Abuser

young woman showing her denial with no on her hand

Denial is a defense mechanism that allows our brains to reject the facts in order to protect ourselves from feeling too uncomfortable or unsafe. When reality hurts, our brain immediately uses denial in hopes of mitigating and avoiding the truth.

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The Connection Between Addiction and Homelessness

homeless man hand help

Homelessness is something that’s often thought to affect people who become addicted to drugs. However, substance abusers are not the only ones who become homeless. In fact, many addicts are not homeless at all, but the situation goes much deeper than the commonly accepted stigmas surrounding addiction. Let’s explore the issue of drug addiction and homelessness.

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What Is the Recidivism Rate for DUI Offenders?

drunk woman driving car at night

There is a correlation between repeat DUI offenders and alcohol abuse. This correlation has been established by various studies over the past several decades. There has also been evidence of how DUI Courts are more effective at lowering recidivism rates.

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Facts About the Psychosis-Meth Relationship

showing human brain activity

Highly addictive crystal methamphetamine, first used in World War II as a stimulant to keep soldiers awake, is today an illegal and very dangerous recreational drug. Whether injected, snorted, swallowed, or smoked, crystal meth use can cause severe psychological damage, as well as physical damage to those who use it.
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How to Deal with Grief Without Using When You Are a Recovering Addict

sad woman discover how to deal with grief

You have taken the first steps on your path to recovery and entered an alcohol and drug addiction treatment program. Everything seems to be progressing okay, with good and bad days, yet you are working hard to remain clean and sober. Then, out of nowhere, something tragic happens.

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Romance in Recovery: Should Two Recovering Addicts Date?

Sparks Romance Between People in Recovery

Making a decision about relationships during recovery can be challenging. While this is a very personal decision, many addiction treatment counselors recommend waiting a year or more before taking this step. Should you delay or dismiss a building attraction to someone you meet in drug rehab?

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Celebrating Summer Sobriety: 9 Tips for a Successful Summer in Recovery

man with backpack walking between grass

The summer can be a difficult time for individuals in recovery, leaving inpatient rehab and as stepping out into summer activities can present an immediate challenge to your sobriety. Barbecues, camping trips, beach parties, and summer weddings may all have been associated with drug or alcohol use in the past, and new strategies will be needed to navigate these hurdles.

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Is There Such a Thing as a “High-Functioning Addict” ?

High Functioning Addict

We often see references to high-functioning drug addicts in the media, and this distinction bears further scrutiny. What is meant by this label and are there different types or levels of addiction? Do these distinctions affect the need for addiction treatment centers?

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The Relationship Between Sleep Disorders and Drug Addiction

Relationship Between Sleep Disorders and Drug Addiction

The human body requires adequate sleep to remain healthy. This drive to sleep well may be at the core of early drug abuse and stand in the way of recovery for many seeking drug addiction treatment.

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Why Is the First High Always the Strongest?

First High Always the Strongest

Do you remember the first time you rode a rollercoaster or did something adventurous? Do you remember feeling euphoric, almost as if you were on top of the world? Those feelings are truly irreplaceable. No matter how many rollercoasters you ride, nothing will be as exciting as the initial thrill.

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The Opioid Epidemic May Be Even Worse Than We Thought

By Peter Schorr, President

Every day, countless headlines and major news outlets hammer home the devastating effects of the opioid epidemic. But what we’re seeing on the front page may only be the tip of the iceberg.

The opioid overdose and death statistics come from numbers reported by hospitals and coroners—but those numbers may not always be accurate. As the Washington Post recently reported, some coroners will state the cause of death simply as an overdose, without stating the specific drug used. Because of this, opioid overdose deaths may be underreported by as much as 35%. While Native American and Alaska Native overdose death rates have increased fivefold over a six year span, these numbers may actually be even higher, since coroners sometimes misidentify the race of these groups on death certificates.

We also don’t know how many opioid overdoses are intentional suicides.

What we do know is that many families and communities are suffering as a result of this epidemic. We know there are people out there getting addicted to opioids everyday—or who may be dealing with an ongoing addiction and haven’t hit rock bottom yet. They are still getting up, going to work, and struggling silently with the shame and stigma of their disease. We know that children are losing their parents. Parents are overdosing with their children in the backseat. And some foster care systems are overwhelmed.

But these individuals, who are directly impacted by the opioid epidemic, aren’t being tracked by the CDC. Their problems are real, even if they can’t be reported in a statistic or mapped on a chart.

While we’ve made strides in bringing this crisis to the forefront of public consciousness, we can still do more. Let’s break down the stigma of addiction and shift the conversation so it’s fully recognized as a disease. From community education classes to changing the way doctors treat addiction and talking about the coexisting mental health disorders that can sometimes fuel this disease. This will encourage people struggling with addiction to get help, before they lose their kids—or become an overdose statistic.


Letting Go Of Unhealthy Relationships During and After Substance Abuse Treatment

Healthy relationships are vital to our emotional health and well-being. Conversely, unhealthy or dysfunctional relationships can be detrimental, acting as a destructive force in our lives. Toxic relationships can be particularly troublesome for those who are in or have recently completed substance abuse treatment and who thus may be in a particularly vulnerable state.

Sometimes the signs of an unhealthy relationship are obvious—extreme possessiveness or physical abuse, for example. In other cases the signs are more subtle, such as manipulation or passive-aggressive behavior.

How do you identify unhealthy relationships, and when it is appropriate to cut ties with a friend or romantic partner? What if the dysfunctional relationship is with a close family member? This eBook explores these and other questions and examines how and why we relate to others the way we do. Readers will learn about:

  • What constitutes healthy and unhealthy relationships with romantic partners, family members, and friendsLetting Go of Unhealthy Relationships During and After Substance Abuse Treatment Ebook
  • How unhealthy relationships can be detrimental for those in addiction recovery
  • Adult attachment theory, and different attachment styles
  • Common roles people assume in dysfunctional families
  • Why people stay in unhealthy relationships
  • How support groups can help provide the motivation to move on from unhealthy relationships

Download a free copy of our eBook today.

Download Ebook

Low Self-Esteem and How It Can Lead to Drug Addiction

People with low self-esteem can be at a greater risk for substance abuse and drug addiction problems. Self-esteem is how you view your self-worth and the level of confidence in yourself. Those with low self-esteem tend to be more influenced by those around them.

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How to Choose the Right Rehab Treatment Program


Selecting the right rehab treatment program and center should largely be based on your individual needs and requirements. You need to think about where you are on your road to recovery and in addressing your addiction problems.

If you are in the early stages, where you have come to the realization you need help, sometimes an inpatient program is the best place to start. Inpatient programs provide a structured, caring, and supportive environment to enable you to focus on your addiction.

On the other hand, if you have already gone through detox and are further along, outpatient programs ensure you maintain your sobriety. Even if you have a relapse, you will find the help and support you need to get back on track.

To learn more about how to choose the right rehab treatment program and center, we invite you to continue exploring and reading the following infographic. Afterward, if you have further questions or want to learn more about our inpatient and outpatient programs, please feel free to contact us directly at (855) 859-8810!

Choosing the Right Rehab Program Infographic

Click below to embed this infographic into your website:


Those in Recovery Can Say “This Is Me” to “This Is Us”

By Joseph Troncale, M.D.

As one of the highest-rated shows on television, “This Is Us” has become a must-see primetime drama in many American homes. While viewers enjoy the family dynamics and some of the unfolding mysteries, as an addiction treatment physician and a veteran, I appreciate how the show has been handling both substance abuse and the recovery process.

This season, we’ve seen a fairly realistic portrayal of how war trauma and flashbacks can play a role in addiction for veterans, as well as how alcohol abuse impacts families. We see flashbacks to Jack, the beloved family patriarch who struggles with alcoholism, serving time in Vietnam. While the show doesn’t directly correlate Jack’s time in the service with his current struggles—since he also grew up with a father who abused alcohol—this connection is something I see on a regular basis in treatment.

Combat veterans have high rates of subsequent substance use disorders and mental health issues. Trauma is psychologically incorporated as guilt and shame. Veterans may experience survivor’s guilt, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or grief and loss from battle buddies being injured or killed. PTSD, depression, and traumatic brain injuries are also known as “co-occurring disorders.” One study of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans shows that 39 percent of them were likely suffering from alcohol abuse. In order to fully treat the addiction, these mental health issues need to be addressed at the same time.

Family plays a huge role in addiction—both for an individual’s treatment and their risk. We see Jack’s father suffering from alcoholism, which likely impacted Jack. We also see Jack’s son, Kevin, as a grown man working through his own substance abuse problems. Kevin enters a treatment program, goes through the steps, and makes amends to those he’s hurt. It’s a bumpy road, but his family supports him. And having family support is one of the biggest indicators that an individual’s recovery will be successful. Having witnessed his dad’s struggle, Kevin also adopts one of his dad’s hobbies, and uses handyman work as a way to help maintain his sobriety.

While not much screen time is given to Jack’s experience in Vietnam, it’s still a critical facet of his character. But it’s also a very real issue for veterans today. My colleagues and I have been working with the VA over the last year or two to make sure veterans have access to the care they need. We have met with numerous VA facilities to determine how we can work with individual VA hospitals and with the veterans themselves to get them into treatment. Not all VA hospitals operate with identical practices, so we have gone to great lengths to smooth out ways to get the veterans the transportation, medications, and follow up that they need in cooperation with the VA.

While veterans are in treatment, we try to integrate them into the larger treatment community, while at the same time recognizing them as respected men and women who have served this country and deserve special respect. I’m glad our veterans—as well as individuals in recovery—can turn on the TV and see their struggles reflected in a genuine way. This is us.



Retreat Premier Addiction Treatment Centers Are Now In-Network with AvMed

Treatment facility now accepts new insurance plan


Palm Springs, Fla., March 7, 2018 – Retreat Premier Addiction Treatment Centers announced it’s facility, Retreat at Palm Beach, is now in-network with AvMed health insurance for treatment program services.


“Retreat’s partnership with Avmed ensures that even more individuals fighting addictions and their families can gain access to the lifesaving treatment we provide. With the overwhelming opioid crisis affecting our communities, adding Avmed to our list of insurance carriers is more critical than ever,” stated Founder and CEO Peter Schorr, Retreat Premier Addiction Treatment Centers. “It’s our responsibility as a good corporate citizen to help our communities become healthier and safer.”


AvMed joins Aetna, Blue Cross and other health insurance providers contracted with Retreat. As one of Florida’s oldest and largest not-for-profit health plans, this will benefit Florida residents who need to access care at Retreat’s Palm Beach County location.


“Retreat will continue to seek out relationships with major insurers to expand our reach and achieve our mission to provide a compassionate and spiritual environment for recovery,” said Schorr.

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About Retreat Premier Addiction Treatment Centers

Retreat Premier Addiction Treatment Centers is a fully accredited rehabilitation center, which provides a compassionate and spiritual environment where those suffering from the disease of addiction can begin the journey to recovery through enlightenment and education to the individuals and their families. To meet the diverse treatment needs of patients, Retreat offers detox, rehabilitation, family education, holistic therapy, a partial hospitalization program (PHP), an intensive outpatient program (IOP), and specialized programs for pregnant women, veterans and college students.


With its headquarters in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and a facility in Palm Springs, Florida, Retreat helps patients throughout the United States and accepts most insurance plans. It offers high-end accommodations, modern amenities and a recreational facility. Retreat hosts educational events regularly for public service officials and private sector professionals seeking continuing educational opportunities to facilitate awareness, encourage community involvement, and increase engagement. For more information, please visit or call 855.859.8808.





About AvMed

With headquarters in Miami and offices in every major metropolitan area of the state, AvMed transforms lives to create a WELLfluent world. By uniting around this sole purpose, we aim to inspire our 382,000 Floridian health plan Members to focus on health and happiness of the mind, body, and soul. Learn more at or visit our Facebook page to tag your WELLfluent life with #JointheWELLfluent.