Sunset Malibu Treatment Center

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Sunset Malibu Treatment Center

By The Fix staff 01/05/15

The kind of addict who comes to Sunset Malibu is frequently using drugs to cope with a deep pain; for these people, life is just too painful to deal with without the buffer of drugs or alcohol.

Sunset Malibu
Location : Malibu, CA
Phone : (800) 731-5051
Price : $58,000/mo. for a semi-private room; $88,000/mo. for a private room
Overall :
Accommodations :
Treatment :
Food :
Insurance : Yes
Detox : Yes

California Drug Rehab Center Review

Sunset Malibu Treatment Center is a high-end luxury treatment facility that integrates evidence-based treatment for depression, co-occurring disorders, addiction, and other behavioral disorders with luxury amenities, spa cuisine, comfortable and beautiful accommodations, and dedicated, compassionate, and knowledgeable staff members.

Located above Zuma Beach with panoramic white water views of the Pacific, Catalina, and the Anacapa islands, Sunset Malibu is considered to be one of the best places to go for depression, anxiety, trauma, and all co-occurring disorders including eating disorders. So it’s no surprise that clients rate treatment quality as their primary reason for choosing Sunset. People from all walks of life come to Sunset, with one alum saying that her peers in treatment ranged from 18 to 89, with all incomes, races, and sexual orientations represented. Another client agreed, adding that the diversity “allowed for an enjoyable and unique experience.” 

Sunset Malibu offers organic (whenever available) gourmet cuisine, and the menu did not disappoint. Across the board, alumni gave high marks for food, with one person also praising the chefs: “Not only are [the chefs] the most friendly people but they cook gourmet healthy meals every day.” Favorites include teriyaki steak, sushi, and homemade pizza night. One client, although impressed with everything else, was not a fan of the poached salmon. Coffee and snacks were always available. Sweets were available but limited since “it was all about balance.” Fruit selected from the 70 organic fruit trees on Sunset’s property is always available to complement a meal or for a healthy snack.

Accommodations are comfortable and luxurious. Some clients had private rooms, while others had one roommate. Days are packed with therapy, exercise, meditation, and relaxation. One former client spent her free time “by the beautiful pool or looking into the ocean with the amazing views.” Part of Sunset’s appeal is that the location and environment is intensely private which helps clients feel safe to focus on the intense therapeutic work they will do. The only chores are keeping your room tidy and getting to groups. The program at Sunset is challenging and effective and alumni highly rate the treatment: “I fully engaged the program, so it was packed daily. Basically, night and day were all focused on my wellness. No chores, or jobs other then the hardest of all: getting better.”

Rule infractions at Sunset Malibu are processed by the group, which results in a closer bond between the residents and a feeling that everyone is invested in everyone else’s recovery. The staff is fair and appropriate when it comes to consequences. One person reported that “The staff is amazing. Great people who can all relate to the part in life that you’re experiencing. Makes it like a family dynamic.” There were no complaints about the staff except one: “There was one Resident Advisor who I didn’t jibe with at all, but the staff is huge so I guess that’s to be expected.”

Activities include yoga, breathwork, tai chi, art therapy, equine therapy, acupuncture, and sweat lodge. Offsite outings may include 12-step meetings, however SMART recovery and other options are available to people who are 12-step resistant. The treatment center also has a “gym on the property, a large basketball court and places to get away and just read or journal” during downtime. Residents can spend their free time watching TV, talking on the phone, or using their laptops. (After detox is completed, residents are allowed to have their cell phones and laptops and can use them during non-group hours).

Sunset Malibu ratings for quality of treatment are the highest possible. This is no surprise, considering Sunset’s reputation for treating depression and dual diagnoses. Therapists do a lot of intense trauma work and specialize in eating disorders, anxiety disorders, stress, and clinical depression. The kind of addict who comes to Sunset Malibu is frequently using drugs to cope with a deep pain; for these people, life is just too painful to deal with without the buffer of drugs or alcohol.

Apart from the individual and group therapy sessions, alumni mention Breath Work and Art Therapy as favorites, but “everything is memorable” and “it was truly life-changing.” One former client remembers that “The best part of the program is growing with a group of people. You develop great relationships. You have the option to do 12-step meetings but there are other ways offered as well.”

The on-call doctors are “amazing” and “always around to help. If anything is wrong or you’re uncomfortable you can pull one aside and have a one on one. Very helpful.”

All of the alumni who filled out our survey have stayed away from the addiction or the problem they originally sought help for at Sunset. With high praise such as “Great people great food great location. The treatment is unbeatable,” it’s no surprise. Alumni claim that Sunset provided them with the “tools [that] will stay with me for life” and many express gratitude for getting the help they needed and leaving inspired to begin their new lives.

Considering other options? View the top rated rehab centers in the nation

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