Today’s guide outlines how to choose the best drug and alcohol rehab in Alaska. The Last Frontier has a surprising number of alcohol and drug rehabs. If you kickstart your recovery in one of the best Alaska rehabs, you could increase the likelihood of sustained recovery without relapsing.
Discover what you can expect from initiating your recovery from addiction in Alaska and explore the treatment modalities at your disposal if you are ready to reclaim your life from substance use disorder or alcohol use disorder.
Background of Alaska
Alaska is one of the Western United States located at the extreme northwest of North America.
Although by far the largest state by area, Alaska (AK) is the most sparsely-populated and the third-least populous of all U.S. states.
The state economy is one of the smallest nationwide, but per capita income in Alaska is among the highest in the U.S.
Visit Denali, the tallest mountain in the United States, at the Denali National Park and Preserve. As well as some of the largest national parks, Alaska is also home to vast areas of wilderness. This ruggedly beautiful state offers an abundant connection to nature ideal for those in recovery from addiction to drink or drugs. There are more than 60 drug and alcohol rehabs in Alaska.
Alaska Substance Abuse Statistics
According to this report from Alaska Department of Health, Alaska saw the largest increase in fatal drug overdoses of any U.S. state (from 146 deadly overdoses in 2020 to 253 deaths by drug overdose in 2021).
More Alaskan men died from drug overdoses than women. Based on 2021 data:
- 43 males died of drug overdoses per 100,000 people in Alaska.
- 27 females died of drug overdoses per 100,000 people in Alaska.
Most of these lethal overdoses occurred in Anchorage (50 deaths per 100,000 people) or the Gulf Coast (40 deaths per 100,000 people).
Among the 253 fatal overdoses in Alaska in 2021:
- 196 deaths involved opioids.
- 58 deaths involved fentanyl, a synthetic opioid up to 100 times stronger than morphine.
- 154 deaths involved methamphetamine (meth) more than doubling from 62 deaths involving meth in 2020.
The same data shows that 454 of the 778 drug overdose deaths in Alaska from 2017 to 2021 involved at least two of the following:
- Psychotropic drugs.
Dual Diagnosis (Co-Occurring Disorder)
Co-occurring disorder, otherwise known as dual diagnosis, is the clinical term for addictions that present simultaneously with mental health disorders.
Some addictions commonly associated with dual diagnosis are:
Mental health disorders commonly diagnosed in those with dual diagnosis include:
- Panic disorders
- Anxiety disorders
- Bipolar disorder
- PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
According to the most recent data from SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration):
- 17 million over-18s in the United States had co-occurring disorders with a substance use disorder and AMI (any mental illness). This represents a significant increase from 9.7 million over-18s with the same co-occurring disorders in 2019.
- 5.7 million in the United States had co-occurring disorders with a substance use disorder and an SMI (serious mental illness) in the same year.
With dual diagnosis, either the addiction or the mental health disorder may develop first. All co-occurring disorders are unique.
Research indicates that coordinated and integrated dual diagnosis treatment offers the optimum route to recovery.
Addiction Treatment in Alaska
The most effective drug and alcohol addiction treatment in Alaska will be individualized, drawing from the following pharmacological and behavioral interventions:
- MAT (Medication-Assisted Treatment)
- Behavioral Therapy
- Motivational Therapy
MAT (Medication-Assisted Treatment)
MAT is the abbreviated form of medication-assisted treatment, an evidence-based intervention proven effective for treating opioid use disorders or alcohol use disorders.
The FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) approves these medications for the treatment of alcohol use disorders:
The FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) approves these medications for the treatment of opioid use disorders:
All of these medications can reduce the intensity of drug or alcohol withdrawal. The medications can also mitigate the severity of cravings.
If medication-assisted treatment is utilized throughout addiction treatment in Alaska, this can encourage ongoing abstinence and reduce the likelihood of relapse.
The treatment team may also prescribe medications to relieve the following symptoms and conditions:
MAT is most effective when delivered alongside psychotherapy and counseling.
Most Alaska drug and alcohol rehab facilities offer these behavioral therapies as part of addiction treatment programs:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) will help you to identify the people, places, things, or thoughts that trigger you to use addictive substances.
Working closely with a therapist, you will develop healthy coping mechanisms to use in place of substance abuse. Equipped with these skills, you should strengthen your chances of sustained sobriety without relapse.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy
DBT (dialectical behavior therapy) is a sub-type of CBT. Initially developed to treat BPD (borderline personality disorder), DBT is now also used to treat various mental health disorders, substance use disorders, and co-occurring disorders.
In DBT sessions, a therapist will work with you, helping you to become more accepting of challenging emotions and emotional distress. You should find that you become more tolerant of life’s stressors as a result. Additionally, you will learn how to implement relaxation techniques in your recovery from addiction to drugs or alcohol.
Motivational therapy is typically delivered in Alaska drug or alcohol rehabs alongside behavioral therapies like CBT and DBT. The most popular motivational therapies include:
- Contingency Management
- Motivational Interviewing
- Community Reinforcement
CM (Contingency Management)
Contingency management is a form of therapy that rewards positive behaviors with vouchers or small gifts.
CM is particularly effective for treating addictions to:
- Prescription stimulants
MI (motivational interviewing) involves a collaborative conversation between you and a qualified therapist.
Instead of adopting the stance of an expert, the therapist approaches the dialogue collaboratively and neutrally, guiding you to make changes based on your personal goals.
As a short-term form of motivational therapy, MI can:
- Increase your motivation to make behavioral changes.
- Help you to develop healthier coping mechanisms.
- Solidify your personal reasons for making lifestyle and behavioral changes.
CRA (Community Reinforcement)
The community reinforcement approach is commonly used in outpatient therapy for addiction – more on outpatient treatment directly below.
CRA consists of individual therapy sessions held twice weekly for six months. CRA involves drug screens twice-weekly.
Through this motivational therapy, you will learn about:
- Creating a solid sober support network.
- Preventing subsequent abuse of drugs or alcohol.
- Developing healthy and creative interests.
- Connecting with the appropriate vocational development services and counseling services.
CRA can be used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for the following addictions:
Continuum of Care for Addiction Treatment
ASAM (American Society of Addiction Medicine) highlights the following levels of addiction treatment intensity:
- Early intervention.
- Outpatient rehab.
- Intensive outpatient programs and partial hospitalization programs.
- Inpatient rehab (residential rehab).
- Intensive inpatient rehab.
Inpatient rehab, otherwise known as residential rehab, is the most structured and supportive form of treatment for drug and alcohol addiction offered by most rehabs in Alaska. These are the most popular residential rehab programs in Alaska:
- 30-day residential rehab in Alaska
- 60-day residential rehab in Alaska
- 90-day residential rehab in Alaska
Inpatient rehab in Alaska is usually recommended for:
- Moderate or severe drug and alcohol addictions.
- Dual diagnoses.
- For people with volatile home settings.
You stay at an Alaska rehab from detox until discharge.
You can access the same treatments in either inpatient or outpatient rehab in Alaska.
Research shows that many mild addictions respond positively to treatment in an outpatient setting. Outpatient rehab in Alaska involves scheduled therapy sessions at a drug and alcohol rehab. Between sessions, you return home.
Most Alaska rehabs will offer these outpatient programs:
- OPs: traditional outpatient programs
- IOPs: intensive outpatient programs
- PHPs: partial hospitalization programs
Outpatient rehab in Alaska is usually recommended for:
- Mild drug and alcohol addictions.
- Stepping down from inpatient rehab in Alaska.
- A flexible and cost-effective route to recovery.
Activities in Alaska
Addiction recovery is not a time-limited event like detox, but rather a chain of events. Recovery is a lifelong journey that starts with detoxification and inpatient or outpatient therapy in an Alaska rehab.
As well as accessing the pharmacological interventions and behavioral therapies outlined above, you will also engage with individual and group counseling sessions.
Most of the best rehabs in Alaska will also provide supplementary holistic therapies and activities.
Some of the most popular activities in rehabs in Alaska include:
- Tai chi
- EMDR therapy
- Art therapy
- Music therapy
- Animal-assisted therapy
- Exercise programs
- Nutritional therapy
- Biochemical restoration
If you participate in different activities while at an Alaska rehab, this assists you with developing healthier habits and hobbies for your transition from addiction into sustained recovery.
Drug Rehab FAQ
Does Alaska accept Medicaid?
Yes. In Alaska, Medicaid eligibility was expanded under the 2010 ACA (Affordable Care Act), although changes were not implemented until late 2015. As of August 2022, over 71,000 Alaska residents enrolled in expanded Medicaid. 58 Alaska rehabs accept Medicaid from a total of 62 rehab centers in The Last Frontier.
Are there outpatient options in Alaska?
Yes. Of the 62 Alaska drug and alcohol rehab centers, 48 rehabs offer outpatient programs.
What areas have the most treatment centers in Alaska?
You will find Alaska drug and alcohol rehab centers located in Anchorage, the capital city of the state. There are also treatment centers in Juneau, Fairbanks, and Soldotna.
What can you do in Alaska?
If you are engaging with addiction treatment in Alaska from out of state, you can connect with nature in the many sprawling national parks. Denali National Park is the most famous, home to the tallest mountain in the United States. Visit glaciers and fjords or the magnificent Gates of the Arctic National Park for a view of life beyond substance abuse.