Frequently Asked Questions

When considering treatment, it’s normal to have a lot of questions. Below, we have provided a list of some common questions and answers about addiction and our treatment programs. However, if you don’t find the answer you are looking for, please do not hesitate to call us and speak with us directly. We are always here to listen or to answer your questions.

The Basics

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 and discomfort are common.
  • Complaints of depression, increased appetite, abdominal cramping, diarrhea, and headache can be part of the process.

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

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.

To join Alta Mira’s residential treatment program, you must be at least 18. The average age of our clients changes with each current group receiving treatment. Please feel free to talk to our admissions counselors about the ages of current residents if this is a concern to you.

At Alta Mira, our goal is to design highly individualized treatment plans so that you receive the most effective treatment for your personal needs. Our admissions counselors will work with you to determine how long you should stay in treatment with us in order to achieve the results you want. However, studies show that individuals in recovery benefit when they remain in treatment for 90 days or more.

Among our clients at large, the average length of stay varies based on, among other things, severity of withdrawal symptoms, completion of clinical assignments, and overall progress in treatment. We ask that new clients commit to a minimum of 30 days, which is the length of our core curriculum. Often our clients decide to extend their treatment at Alta Mira to 60 days or longer.

Some of our clients choose to 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 the opportunity to work on other issues that may be affecting their ability to achieve lasting recovery including grief and loss, trauma, relationships, money and recovery, and cross-addiction.

All of the rooms at Alta Mira offer luxury and comfort, allowing you to make the most of your time with us. Depending on your desire for companionship or privacy, you have the following room options:

  • Double room with shared bath
  • Private room with private bath
  • Private suite (our most spacious rooms with large private bath)

What to bring to treatment is important – to make sure you have the things you need, and you don’t bring an items that are not allowed. To simplify your planning, we have created a list of things to pack when you are preparing to enter treatment at Alta Mira.

Our top-quality recovery programs are all-inclusive, covering all of your clinical treatment, luxury accommodations, gourmet meals, a number of massages, yoga, personal training and acupuncture sessions, and our continuing care and alumni programs.

The price of your program depends on your admitting diagnosis, length of stay, withdrawal symptoms, and accommodations (e.g., double vs. private rooms). Please call us, and we will answer any specific questions you may have regarding pricing.

We are a private pay facility, but we do assist clients in getting as much insurance reimbursement as possible for all eligible services. However, the amount of the reimbursement is at the discretion of each client’s insurance provider.

Clients are responsible for payment of services upon admission. The actual cost varies depending upon the program, the accommodations, and the initial length of stay. Each client’s insurance company is fully responsible for making the decision on the amount and timing of reimbursement for our services. Our team will complete verification of benefits, utilization review, all billing, and insurance appeals on your behalf.

We require full payment at time of admission. If this poses a financial hardship, please contact our business office to talk about your situation.

Yes, Alta Mira is licensed by the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS).

At Alta Mira, we go above and beyond to ensure security, protect confidentiality, and offer the utmost privacy for our residents and their families, addressing special concerns of our high-profile clients.

Read Alta Mira’s Privacy Policy

Life at Alta Mira

So that you receive maximum benefit from the time you invest with us, we keep the days full at Alta Mira. Here is an 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

Every treatment program has its own policies regarding the use of mobile phones, laptops, tablets, and other electronic devices. Some programs don’t allow phones or electronics at all.

The electronics policy at Alta Mira was designed to provide a process for clients to have access to telephone and computer for personal, and business needs, while establishing and maintaining a healthy focus on treatment goals without the potential distraction of unlimited electronics access.

Questions regarding the electronics policy may be addressed to your admissions specialist or primary therapist.

Clients may receive packages from family and friends while in treatment. However, for safety, we do not accept and food or drink products. Also, for your privacy, when you are having something delivered, it must be approved by the clinical team before delivery, or it will not be accepted.

Because Alta Mira encourages you to pursue your highest potential health, we encourage smoking cessation and provide medical assistance to help you discontinue smoking or tobacco use. However, we do not mandate that clients stop using nicotine while in the program. If you use nicotine while you’re here, you will receive a treatment plan requiring you to examine your tobacco use. If you are ready to quit nicotine while in treatment, we will provide withdrawal medications, education, counseling and other support services.

Our staff includes our Executive Chef who will make sure your gourmet meals are crafted to meet your special dietary needs. After arrival at Alta Mira, you will meet with Chef Steve who will offer detailed recommendations on your dietary and nutritional needs.

Yes, we encourage connection with friends and family. Our visiting hours are typically every Sunday from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. While in treatment, you will request permission in advance to have visitors, and they must sign a release of information.

At Alta Mira, we believe pets contribute to the warm, nurturing environment we create for our clients. Therefore, we allow you to bring your pet to treatment. Please know that you must select a single room and follow certain rules in order to keep your pet with you at Alta Mira. If you are interested in bringing your pet to treatment, please let our admissions counselors know so that they can give you all the information you need. If you decide to bring a pet to treatment, you will need to choose a private room or suite for your stay.

Alta Mira Recovery Programs provides the best quality 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 the most comprehensive clinical care available. You can expect the following when you come to Alta Mira:

  • Gourmet meals
  • Private or 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 activities (e.g., movies, museums, community events, etc.)
  • Adventure therapy (e.g., hiking, kayaking, sailing, etc.)
  • Treatment from licensed primary therapists
  • A clinical staff to client ratio of 1:2 during the days, 1:3 in the evenings and 1:6 overnight.


Yes. Clients who undergo detox treatment are monitored by Alta Mira’s highly credentialed medical team. They 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. Detox is included in the treatment price.

Yes. 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 your specific needs and goals. We also offer specialized treatment for co-occurring disorders and chronic relapse.

Our highly trained specialists help you to break the relapse cycle by creating highly individualized treatment, focusing on the resolution of all underlying issues that have contributed to your struggle with alcohol or drugs. Plus, we develop a comprehensive relapse prevention plan, specifically tailored to your needs. At this level of care, you will learn how to identify your personally unique relapse warning signs, develop effective management strategies, and leave treatment with an individualized Recovery Plan that addresses your specific triggers.

Yes. In order to support your lasting recovery, we help you to resolve all co-occurring issues, such as anxiety and depression, that have contributed to your struggles with substance abuse. After arrival at Alta Mira, you will be given psychiatric and psychological assessments, along with a medication evaluation, monitoring, education about the illness, symptoms management strategies, and individual therapy for your co-occurring disorder(s). Our experts help you to develop a recovery plan for your psychological or psychiatric issues, complementing your recovery plan for addiction.

Yes. We believe that the support of your family is crucial for long-term recovery. With your consent, we include your family in our evaluation, treatment and discharge planning. Our model for family therapy is comprehensive and unique. With your authorization, we give family members weekly updates and include them in our 4-day family program, which includes private family therapy, psychoeducation, and multi-family process groups. In this way, you and your family are encouraged to work through issues surrounding your substance abuse, allowing them to better understand and support you in recovery.

Learn more about our family program

Yes, we continue to provide top-quality care after you leave our campus. Alta Mira offers comprehensive discharge planning and lifetime alumni support. Plus, you can continue your treatment after you leave our campus in our Intensive Outpatient Program. Once you successfully complete treatment, we encourage you to return to attend weekly alumni support groups and quarterly alumni events.

While we are not primarily a medical or psychiatric facility, Alta Mira has an American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) certified psychiatrist who is a licensed independent affiliate. This psychiatrist provides care to each client throughout his or her stay, and is on call seven days a week, 24 hours a day for medical and/or psychiatric emergencies. Our on-site medical office is also staffed 24 hours per day with licensed Detox Specialists.

We keep our staff-to-client ratio low so that we can focus our full attention on you and your recovery. During the day, our clinical staff-to-client ratio is approximately 1:2. During the evenings, the ratio is 1:3, and overnight it is 1:6.