Athletes have always been in the spotlight when it comes to drug abuse. Their addictions make headlines and stay in the news for months. It may offer some juicy gossip to the public, but it is, in reality, a great struggle and a menace not easily overcome. This article will shed light on some of the common reasons for drug abuse and addiction. 

We will then move on to assess the treatment options and facilities that exist for athletes with addiction. Most athletes seek luxurious rehab centers, and so a few have been discussed. Ultimately, our very own luxury executive treatment center is a perfect fit for athletes and stars looking for an extravagant yet practical experience. 

Man standing in a basketball court with a basketball in hand.

Professional athletics is a mentally and physically challenging world of its own. The athlete, if outstanding, is likely to gain the fame that leads to large sums of money. For this reason, and many others like sheer hard work, the general public looks up to them. No matter how seamless the field might look, it is not always fun and games when it comes to sports. Athletes spend every minute of their day becoming their best selves in order to succeed in their desired sport. Most of us have had Physical Exercise classes in our early school years, but only some of us actually pursue this. So, in essence, athletes have been trained to do so from a very early age, which contributes to their fitness levels. From what they eat and drink to how much they sleep and exercise, it is all monitored and each day is spent either trying to achieve a goal or to maintain it. 

Luxury Drugs and Mental health Rehab Spain

Generally, many reasons exist as to why people start to use drugs and develop an addiction. These include societal and peer pressure, the availability and legality of drugs, and dealing with emotional and physical traumas. These reasons are common in athletes as well. However, athletes usually have additional reasons to start abusing as well. Mostly, athletes want to boost their performance, and so they take drugs. They want to increase their stamina and have higher energy levels. The competitive nature of sports makes athletes push harder and do whatever it takes in order to win and excel. Thus, they turn to drugs to aid them. Pain and injury are an inevitable consequence of sports which leads to athletes using painkillers like opioids and Valium, that are highly addictive drugs. Such drugs can leave the athlete vulnerable to addiction.

There is no set level of a person’s career where drugs step into the picture, and hence it is possible to fall prey to the attractive nature of harmful substances at any stage.  In fact, the abuse through painkillers – that too, given by a doctor and not taken over the counter, is twenty times more common than the abuse of heroin. Anabolic steroids (most popular PEDs), which are also problematic drugs, are used to enhance the muscles whilst reducing body fat. Growth hormones, beta-blockers, and diuretics are other types of PEDs.

Another reason for drug abuse may be depression- which is something that is fairly common in athletes due to the fear of not being good enough, always competing, and/or having to retire at an early age because of the strict criteria of the industry. 

Furthermore, athletes are known to consume a significantly large amount of alcohol and drugs in comparison to the ordinary population. The cause for this may either be easy access to drugs due to the availability of money or an initial celebratory recreation turning into something addictive because of frequent use. So in an era where athletes are put on a pedestal, it is pivotal to find treatments for such intentional or unintentional substance abuses for the public eye as well as the performer’s own health.

Substance Abuse Treatment for Athletes

A professional performer is not advised to go cold turkey, leave his / her drug intake behind and start fresh. This is where the difference in treatment between the general population and the rehab of an athlete stands. A person who does not play sports for a living does not need to undergo all of the steps as an athlete does when easing their way out of addiction. Professional athletes need to be screened for how addicted they are and how is their current state of health before their treatment process begins.

This is because there is always a possibility that elimination of the consumed drug will lead to drastic changes in performance – obviously something that is not desirable. Even if leaving the drug does not hinder performance, it is likely that it will trigger withdrawal effects too intense to continue training. This is why athletes are put under the care of a healthcare professional, and their consequent treatment is supervised closely.

When a shoulder is injured, or a leg is broken, the athlete is given opioid painkillers. Suppose these are continued longer than a few weeks, addiction and tolerance development. These athletes who are addicted to opioid painkillers are given other medications (like buprenorphine), which help with withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, body aches, anxiety, nausea and vomiting, and continuous negative mood. Furthermore, athletes may also be advised to undergo psychotherapy (a one-on-one behavioral change therapy session) and are then assigned the best of the best therapists to make their journey easier and lasting. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) – which combines thought and behavior restructuring, and interpersonal therapy, are examples of psychotherapy programs used for athlete’s drug abuse rehab.

Conversely, they may be asked to join a group therapy session, which employs the 12-step method. The 12-step method for alcohol addiction rehab, for example, incorporates spiritual beliefs and principles. It helps the alcoholic believe they have been uncontrollable, but there is a bigger eternal Power that can restore them. They ask God to help them make amends and alleviate their addiction. In the end, they are encouraged, rather requested, to pass on the teachings to other addicts and use the teachings in their daily lives. Twelve-step methods for other addictions are also more or less the same, except that the substance is changed.

When deciding which rehab center to go to and where to seek treatment from, athletes analyze several factors, such as; location, comfort, recovery rates, money, time is taken for treatment, etc. The reason money is a factor is because some rehabilitation centers are liable to leave a dent in one’s wallet. So unless the athlete is Cristiano Ronaldo, who can earn the same amount back (or even a profit) after the session ends, it is better to opt for a rehab center that will not cause financial problems. Besides, not all athletes live off of their sporting life and might prefer a place more understated.

There are several types of rehabilitation centers for athletes, briefly described as follows:

1. Destination Rehab

This is where an athlete moves from their current residence to a place in another country or state for treatment. This is useful for those who prefer a shift in environment and believe a different setting would help them recover. If an athlete has a management body, and if they are aware of the substance abuse, they can sponsor or arrange for the travel to and from the rehabilitation center in order to make the player’s journey as facile as possible.

Not only are destination rehab centers good for a change in scenery- something that is proven to work for long, these centers also have a distinctive quality of providing rehabilitation for specific faith groups, demographics, e.g., LGBTQ+ and teenagers. Going to a completely different city, state, or even country for destination rehab may seem daunting, but the staff at the rehabilitation centers are trained to make the addict feel as comfortable as possible. Florida has numerous rehab centers that serve as destination rehabs as countless people choose to attend these from around the world.

2. Luxury Rehab

In luxury rehab, the main goal is individualized treatment in a comfortable upscale environment. These centers offer a variety of top-tier facilities that relaxes the athlete through and through, from the start to the end of the treatment. These facilities include swimming pools, massage therapy, yoga and meditation facilities, fitness rooms, and much more. Within luxury-style rehab centers, the athlete can pick whatever type that he/she wills. For example, they can opt for a resort at a remote location or a five-star resort. Near oceans or mountains and in mansions are common locations for luxury rehab centers.

These centers allow the professional athlete to recover using the same supervised methods but with the additional pampering from a first-class temporary living space. A recent trend in luxury rehabs is the use of animals as part of treatment programs. An example is a dolphin-assisted therapy in which the patients can interact with them. As expected, such luxurious substance abuse rehab centers cost a lot more than ordinary ones.

Professional famous athletes are more likely to pick these types of rehab centers because most also offer private penthouses that come with all sorts of individualized treatment, ranging from a private cook to a therapy session with a personal psychologist (who can also be present 24/7). California, New York, and Utah have several luxury rehabilitation centers, which also serve as destination rehab centers for those visiting from abroad or from another state. Paracelsus Recovery in Switzerland is one of the most expensive rehab centers, costing approximately $414,000 for five weeks. In contrast, one month at Cliffside Malibu costs $78,000.

3. Executive Rehab

These centers are tailored to white-collar professionals, like CEOs and business owners who cannot leave their job but need to be treated nonetheless. Managers (even athletic managers), directors, and professional athletes can choose these centers for their treatment. An executive rehab allows you to keep working as these centers allow laptops, computers, and phones, unlike other centers.

These centers are very similar to luxury rehab centers and also include facilities like pools, gyms, and spas. Executive rehab centers devise a flexible schedule so the patient can work and also seek treatment. They also follow the rule of complete privacy and do not let out any sort of information, lest it damages the company’s image. So if this is a priority, then they will choose an executive rehab, which will also allow them to keep their careers going. These centers can cost up to $120,000 easily per month.

4. Celebrity Rehab 

This type of rehabilitation is specifically only for celebrities, which includes professional athletes that are known worldwide. Recently, several celebrity rehabilitation centers have opened in California, New York, and Connecticut and are located near posh areas and/ or beaches. These also have many similar features to luxury rehab centers, such as spas, personal chefs, huge gardens, fitness studios, and meditation rooms.

Related: Addiction in Celebrities and Stars

These places help the celebrity to seek treatment in a secure place that ensures discretion, away from all the lights and cameras which tend to get into one’s head. The patient may also choose to receive specialized aftercare, which keeps chances of relapse low – e.g., how to practice self-care, find new hobbies and interests, and find a new social circle.

Just like with rehab for the general population, addiction treatment for professional athletes can either take the form of in-patient treatment, out-patient treatment, or partial hospitalization. In-patient treatment involves care all 24 hours of the day in a home-like environment. This can be a luxury rehab if the athlete is willing to spend that much. Out-patient treatment means the person gets to visit the required center or facility a few times per week. And partial hospitalization is a mix of the previous two, and the person gets to stay at home, but he/she also spends most of their day at the selected clinic. 

Of course, there are many more types of rehab centers, but the aforementioned ones are relevant to athletic drug abuse.

Wonderland Treatment Center, Los Angeles, California

this is where the renowned boxer Mike Tyson went for his rehabilitation. It gives the option of in-patient, out-patient, or partial stay treatment. The person in need can also choose whether he/she wants a long-term program or a short term. As the name implies, it is exactly so, with high ceilings and large beds. It costs about $60,000 a month and also works with the mentally ill and blind people, as well as substance abuse victims.

Casa Palmera Treatment Center, San Diego, California 

Lamar Odom, the notorious NBA player, chose this private abode as his rehabilitation center. He battled with drug abuse and nearly overdosed enough to take his own life. The treatment center helps not only in beating drug and substance abuse but also consequent trauma and mood and eating disorders. It uses the 12 step program as well as other treatments. The clients have several facilities, including meditation grounds and massage therapy. The center has an option of “intensive outpatient” services and “dual diagnosis.” The former allows the patient to live at home and carry on their work while also receiving treatment. The latter treatment type is for people who are victims of substance abuse and also other illnesses such as bipolar disorder or depression. This dual diagnosis, also called co-occurring disorder treatment, provides psychiatric help too. Both types of treatment vary in duration and intensity based on each individual case.

Rayville, Louisiana

Just outside of Monroe is where the former American football player Brett Favre went to treat his addiction to opioids. It started with a few Vicodin pills until the painkillers became an addiction too severe to let go of. He has even been reported to have taken a whole month’s worth of Vicodin in two days. His treatment came with many bumps, like all others, but he is now more than 20 years sober. The treatment center in Louisiana has in-patient treatment, so the person resides in the facility for the duration of the treatment. The environment is fit and comfortable enough to break through an alcohol or drug addiction gradually.  

Athletes and Sports professional Substance Abuse

Generally, athletes prefer a private and luxurious place to recover from their ongoing substance abuse. Some professional athletes may also opt for a place that is not that opulent, like Brett Favre. In the end, no matter the extravagance of the institution, it all comes down to willpower and how badly a person wants to change. The athletes mentioned above were all determined to improve their lives and leave the uncontrollable addictions aside- the center merely plays a supplementary role.

Deigo Maradona

Any football fan has probably heard of the name Diego Armando Maradona, a legend of the game which is still widely considered as one of the best football players ever to live; Maradona managed to achieve some of the greatest feats ever in football, including winning The FIFA World Cup which is considered one of the most prestigious tournaments in all of the sports. The Four-time ‘player of the year’ winner had an illustrious career filled with success until 1991 when he was banned from the sport for 15 months for testing positive for cocaine while playing for the Italian football club ‘Napoli.’ His next punishment for the use of illegal substance came during the 1994 world cup when he tested positive for drug use and was handed another 15-month ban, he then retired from international football playing only domestic leagues till 1997 when he failed a drug test for the third time putting an end to his playing days. 

Maradona continued to take cocaine after retirement and unsurprisingly faced some serious health issues, including an overdose in the year 2000 and a heart attack in 2004. After the heart attack in 2004, Maradona’s family had enough and decided to get him into a rehabilitation center; at first, many centers refused as they believed Maradona would be a difficult patient and the media attention would invade the privacy of other patients; however, the Del Parque private clinic accepted him as a patient and began treating him with intensive care. 

Maradona was then moved to Cuba as he preferred to be treated there instead of his native country Argentina. He was confined to Cuba’s Centre for Mental Health (CENSAM) until he became clean of cocaine in 2009. Maradona claimed that cocaine was his “toughest opponent” and talked about how good it felt to be free in numerous interviews. Though his cocaine addiction ended, his addiction to alcohol did not, resulting in further health problems for the football legend; in 2020, Maradona decided to go into rehabilitation once again to battle his alcohol addiction but died only weeks later to a heart failure. Maradona showed regret and despair about his drug addiction in various interviews. In one interview, Maradona said, “What a player I would have been if I hadn’t taken drugs, right?”. Regardless, Maradona will always be remembered as one of the best players ever to play football.

Vin Baker

Vincent Lamont Baker, better known as Vin Baker, was a professional basketball player who played in the National Basketball Association (NBA) from1993 to 2006. Baker made a name for himself in his very first year by being awarded the title of ‘America East Player of the Year.’ This was his first career highlight of many. Baker was named NBA all-star four times and even managed to win a gold medal in the 2000 Olympics for his national team. 

However, as he got better, expectations from him rose as well; he was held to the standards of Michael Jordan, widely the best player ever to play basketball. With the mounting pressure, Baker slowly fell into a cycle of Alcoholism. Soon he became addicted to alcohol, and teammates would often smell it on him during training. 

Vin Baker addressed this problem for the first time in 2003, “I’m an alcoholic,” he told the public before the 2003 season began. It started to affect his ability on the court, and he was moved from one team to another, scoring way fewer points than he was expected to. In 2006 he left the NBA. Baker tried to get into rehab but failed four times; he lost his money, his fame, and even his home in 2011. Baker had nothing left except his life; he asked his father for help as he had tried everything. His father, a pastor and a firm believer in God assured Baker that he would be okay as long as he was willing to help himself. 

Baker then decided to give rehabilitation one more shot and found commitment to sobriety like never before. After Baker was sober for a year and a half, he decided he needed to work and provide for his family and kids, and he decided to call Howard Shultz, the owner of Starbucks, in order to find a job. Howard offered to train Baker for a management role in one of his coffee shops. Initially, he worked as a Barista but slowly became a manager. 

In just a few years, Vin Baker went from being one of the best basketball players to working at Starbucks. To many people, it may sound like a failure, but to Baker, it was a success. “I came from a dark, dark place. And to be able to open a store up at 4:30 in the morning, 5:30 in the morning, and run a shift, and be responsible for a store is a big deal to a person in recovery. You know, it talks about responsibility. And so, it wasn’t $100 million to Starbucks. It was, ‘Wow, I’m the store manager at Starbucks.’ That’s how I felt when I went in there every day to work”, Baker says. 

He now works as an assistant coach for the Milwaukee Bucks and has been sober for ten years now. After going through it, Baker knows how problematic addiction is, which is why he has set up a non-profit organization called “Bouncing Back” dedicated to improving the lives of people affected by drugs and alcohol.

Keeping in view the treatment options and centers need for and adopted by athletes, The Balance has dedicated itself to providing 5- star contemporary rehab facilities best suited for athletes and celebrities. We understand the need for top-class services for athletes and have worked towards achieving a luxurious standard. We offer an extravagant rehab experience for athletes so that they may enjoy their time here in a manner befitting a star.

Our inhabitants are each provided their very own luxury villas. Along with these villas, they are given exceptional services such as housekeeping, drivers, etc. To ensure physical well-being, and because we understand the need for athletes to stay in shape, we offer a beautiful spacious garden in which to relax, do yoga or have a run, along with their very own swimming pool. Nutrition is also of great importance, and so, each patient is given their own private chef. 

It is important that, along with medical and psychological treatments, the patients are given a relaxing environment. Our novel facilities ensure the most opulent experience for those who opt for it. In addition, the need for privacy is acknowledged and respected. Therefore, our facility ensures complete privacy and security for our inhabitants. 

While you focus on getting better physically and mentally, we are there to cater to your every need in the most palatial manner. So, if you are someone looking for a state-of-the-art rehab facility, and wish to recover in the most effective yet relaxing environment, then look no further! Opt for us and prepare yourself for a lush experience. 

FAQS