Home / Admissions / FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

The Basics

How do I know if I’m addicted? What kinds of withdrawal symptoms should I be aware of?

Below is a small list of withdrawal symptoms from commonly abused substances:

Alcohol withdrawal:
  • Many alcoholics experience ‘the shakes’ approximately 12–24 hours after their last drink. The shakes are tremors caused by over-excitation of the central nervous system.
  • Tremors may be accompanied by tachycardia, diaphoresis, anorexia and insomnia.
  • After 24–72 hours, the alcoholic may have seizures.
  • Delirium tremens (DT) may begin 3-5 days after the last drink. DT is characterized by disorientation, fever, and visual hallucinations. DT is a medical emergency and should be treated on an in-patient basis.
Opioid withdrawal:
  • Withdrawal symptoms from opioids may begin just a few hours after last use.
  • Along with a strong craving for the drug, opioid withdrawal may produces yawning, tears, diarrhea, and abdominal cramping.
  • Symptoms of withdrawal usually peak around 48 hours and again at 72 hours after last use.
  • Withdrawal usually subsides after one week, but some heavily dependent users may have mild symptoms for up to six months.
  • Although physically uncomfortable, opioid withdrawal is not life threatening.
Amphetamine withdrawal:
  • Actual withdrawal is fairly mild, but feelings of extreme distress are common
  • Complaints of depression, increased appetite, abdominal cramping, diarrhea and headache
Benzodiazepine withdrawal:
  • Withdrawal from benzodiazepines is often a long and uncomfortable process.
  • Benzodiazepine users may experience shakes and tremors during detox
  • Some heavily dependent users may continue to experience withdrawal symptoms for several months after their last use.
  • Benzodiazepine detox should be medically supervised to provide for safety and comfort
Psychological symptoms:
  • Anxiety/panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Ruminating negative thoughts
  • Rapid mood changes
  • Phobias
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Intense cravings
  • Nightmares
  • Feeling of helplessness/hopelessness
Physical symptoms:
  • Hyper-sensitive to stimulation (light and noise)
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Itchy skin
  • Fatigue
  • Tremors
  • Fluctuations in body temperature
  • Loss of appetite
  • Flu like symptoms
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Dizziness
  • Extreme thirst
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Weakness
  • Seizures

Cocaine, stimulant and hallucinogen withdrawal:

Cocaine, stimulants and hallucinogens do not have a typical physical withdrawal pattern. These drugs are considered psychologically addicting rather than physically addicting. Nevertheless, the pain and misery associated with discontinued use can lead the individual to feel extreme amounts of physical discomfort, distress, anxiety, restlessness, cravings and depression.
What is the average age of clients at Alta Mira?
You must be 18 or above to receive treatment at Alta Mira. The average age of our population differs from time to time depending on the current group receiving treatment. If this is a concern to you, ask the staff member assisting you at the time of your admission.
What is the average length of stay?

We ask that new clients commit to a minimum of 30 days, which is the length of our core curriculum.  Our innovative curriculum incorporates biological, psychological, social, and spiritual content each week.  However, often our clients extend their treatment at Alta Mira to 60 days or longer.

Some of our clients enter Alta Mira in the 90-day program, which is designed for individuals who may have had prior treatment episodes, a complex detox, and / or significant co-occurring medical or psychiatric issues.  The 90-day program also allows clients an opportunity to work on other issues that may be affecting their ability to achieve lasting recovery including codependency, trauma and cross-addiction. The average length of stay varies based on, among other things, severity of withdrawal symptoms, completion of clinical assignments and overall progress in treatment. Clinical research studies indicate that long term sobriety rates are highly correlated with treatment lengths of stay that are 90 days or greater.

Do patients have private rooms?
Clients have two room options:
  • Double room with shared bath
  • Private room with private bath
  • Private suite (single room with private bath)
What is the cost?
The price of the program varies depending on admitting diagnosis, level of care, withdrawal symptoms, and accommodations (e.g., double vs. single rooms).  Please call us to obtain further pricing information.
Do you accept insurance?

We do not accept insurance.

In some cases, insurance companies will reimburse at a rate consistent with their “reasonable and customary” charges for “out of network” residential substance abuse treatment. It is the client’s responsibility to negotiate with his or her insurance company for reimbursement.

What are my payment options?
We require full payment at time of admission. If this poses a financial hardship at time of admission, please discuss this with the business office.
Is Alta Mira a licensed treatment facility?
Yes, Alta Mira is licensed by the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs.
How does Alta Mira protect privacy and confidentiality?
At Alta Mira, we are committed to protecting confidentiality, ensuring the utmost privacy for our residents and their families. Read Alta Mira’s Privacy Policy

Life at Alta Mira

What is a typical day like at Alta Mira?
The days are full at Alta Mira. Here is an sample example of a typical Monday:
7:007:30 Breakfast
7:30—8:00 Morning Community Meeting
8:00—9:00 Yoga / Group Acupuncture / Tai Chi
9:00—10:00 Lecture on Neurobiology of Addiction
10:00—10:30 Self Care
10:30—Noon Process Group
Noon1:00 Lunch
1:00—2:00 Recovery Skills Group
2:00—5:30 Individual Therapy
3:00—4:00 Gym
4:00—6:00 Massage, Acupuncture, Self Care
6:007:00 Dinner
7:00—9:00 Support Group Meetings
9:00—9:30 Closure Group
9:30—10:30 Self Care and Medication
11:00 Lights Out
Does Alta Mira have telephones available for use?
Clients can bring their own phones, although staff will maintain possession of the phones and allow clients to use them at designated times during the day.  Clients can also use certain phones in our facilities.
Can I bring my laptop and/or cell phone?
Clients can bring their cell phones, but Alta Mira staff will maintain possession of the phones and allow clients access at designated times during the day.  We discourage clients from bringing laptop computers in order to remain focused on their work in recovery.  Clients that do bring laptops will have to turn them in to Alta Mira staff.
Is smoking/tobacco use permitted?
Although we do not mandate that clients stop using nicotine while in the program, we strongly encourage it and offer smoking cessation classes and medical assistance. Any client that uses nicotine will receive a treatment plan that requires that they examine their use and be required to attend weekly smoking cessation classes. For those clients wishing to quit nicotine while in treatment we will provide withdrawal medications, education, counseling and other support services.
Can you accommodate my dietary needs?
Each client will meet with our dietician and receive detailed recommendations on their dietary and nutritional needs.  Our dietician consults with our executive chef on meal plans each month and we can accommodate specific dietary needs if necessary
Are there visitation hours?
Yes, visiting hours are typically every Sunday from 1:00pm to 5:00pm.  However, clients need to receive permission in advance to have visitors and they must sign a release of information for each visitor.
Can I bring my pet?
Under certain circumstances Alta Mira may allow clients to bring a pet to treatment.  However, there are strict rules for clients bringing pets including the requirement to purchase a single room. Please discuss these guidelines with an Admissions Counselor.
What kind of amenities/activities does Alta Mira offer?
Alta Mira Recovery program provides treatment in one of the most beautiful and serene settings in the world. Clients are treated to panoramic views of the entire San Francisco Bay, while receiving among the most comprehensive clinical care in the industry. Here are just a few of the amenities and activities clients can expect to experience while here:
  • Gourmet meals
  • Private and double room accommodations
  • Weekly massage or acupuncture
  • Yoga three times a week
  • Art and music therapy
  • Equine therapy
  • Intensive 4-Day Family Program
  • A variety of off-site sober fun activities (e.g., movies, museums, community events, etc.)
  • Adventure therapy (e.g., hiking, kayaking, sailing, etc.)
  • All licensed primary therapists
  • A clinical staff to client ratio of 1:2 during the days, 1:3 in the evenings and 1:6 overnight.


Is onsite detox included in treatment?
Yes. Clients who undergo detox treatment are monitored by Alta Mira’s highly credentialed medical team that are all licensed independent affiliates, including our American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) certified psychiatrist, our ASAM certified internal medicine physician, our Chair of Addiction Medicine, and 24-hour detox specialists.
Does Alta Mira offer personalized treatment tracks?
Every person’s path to addiction is unique, and their path out of it must be as well.  Our alcohol and drug addiction treatment programs are tailored to meet the specific needs of each client. We also offer specialized treatment for co-occurring disorders and chronic relapse.
How does the center treat those with a history of relapse?
For each client, we work to develop a specific course of treatment that focuses on the underlying clinical issues and on developing a comprehensive relapse prevention plan. In this level of care, clients focus on identifying their personally unique relapse warning signs, develop effective management strategies, and leave treatment with an individualized Recovery Plan that addresses their specific triggers.
Does Alta Mira offer dual-diagnosis treatment?
Yes. We believe that clients suffering from co-occurring disorders must develop dual recovery programs. Each client who seeks treatment for a dual diagnosis will be given psychiatric and psychological assessments, along with a medication evaluation, monitoring, education about the illness, symptoms management strategies, and more frequent individual therapy. These clients are taught to develop a recovery plan for their psychological or psychiatric issues that support and compliment the recovery plan for their addiction.
Are family members involved in treatment?

With the patient’s consent, we include the family and referral source in our evaluation, treatment and discharge planning. We believe that outside support is crucial for long-term recovery. Our model for family therapy is comprehensive and unique. With the client’s authorization family members receive weekly updates and inclusion in our 4-day family program, which includes private family therapy, psychoeducation and multi-family process groups.

Learn more about our family program

Does Alta Mira provide aftercare?
Yes, we offer comprehensive discharge planning and lifetime alumni support. Many of our residential clients continue their treatment in our Intensive Outpatient Program.  Clients who successfully complete treatment are encouraged to return to attend weekly alumni support groups and quarterly alumni events.
Is there a full-time psychiatrist on staff?
While we are not primary medical or psychiatric facility, Alta Mira has an American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) certified psychiatrist who is a licensed independent affiliate and on call seven days a week, 24 hours a day for medical and/or psychiatric emergencies. Our on-site medical office is staffed 24 hours per day seven days a week with licensed detox specialists that have extensive experience treating addiction in the treatment setting.
What is the staff-to-client ratio?
During the day, our clinical staff to client ration is approximately 1:1.  During the evenings, the ratio is 1:3 and overnight 1:6.