Concurrent Disorder Programs for Females

Posted by on Jun 16, 2014 in Blog, Concurrent Disorders | 0 comments

Lisa* lives in Calgary, AB. She’s 29 and abuses her prescription medication in addition to non-prescribed Benzodiazepines and stimulants. Lisa also abuses the medication she uses for a mental health issue. Lisa called us at the end of April looking for affordable treatment. As we talked, she became more interested in public services available to her. Lisa desired to reside at a treatment centre that was long-term, women-only, preferably in Saskatchewan or Manitoba, and publicly funded.

Public addiction treatment has many limitations. When we researched facilities with Lisa’s wish list, we found very few women-only programs existed. On top of that, Alberta Health Services (AHS) doesn’t fund individuals to attend treatment in another province just because she wanted women-only (even though research suggests gender-specific treatment can yield more benefits).

AHS generally only sends clients out-of-province when there is a good reason (AHS lacks specific resources) such as severe mental health issues and addiction.
While there are programs in Alberta that treat concurrent disorders, Lisa truly did not want stay in Alberta for treatment.

Unless Lisa was willing to stay in Alberta for treatment, she would need to start considering securing funds beginning at $15,000 to attend private treatment centres outside of Alberta. 
Obviously these sorts of costs are unrealistic and unachievable for many people struggling with addiction and dependency issues. We discussed two public/charitable programs for women only in Calgary, but, again, Lisa didn’t seem interested.

Sometimes our calls with people in need don’t always end positively. Sometimes all we can do is talk with callers, present them their best options, and let them weigh the pros and cons of each after our time together has ended. After all, choosing your own treatment is the first step to living a life with more autonomy and control.

Our first recommendation for Lisa:

Claresholm Centre for Mental Health & Addictions (Concurrent Disorders Program)
139 43 Avenue W
Claresholm, Alberta
T0L 0T0
Telephone: 403-682-3500 Email: Website:

Claresholm is offered by AHS and specifically treats and supports individuals with chronic pain, medication misuse, and benzodiazapine dependence who are also coping with a mental illness.

We also provided Lisa a link to our directory for all residential programs in Alberta (public, charity, and private)

It was also important that Lisa, if she did opt for public treatment, call AHS Addictions (1.866.332.2322) to start her assessment and detox, which are both needed before entering residential treatment.

We also provided Lisa with a list a questions that we believe all individuals looking for treatment for themselves or a loved one should ask a treatment center they’re considering attending. You can find these questions here. Be sure you have all of these questions answered if you’re also looking for treatment.


To start the process of contacting treatment centres, we suggest copy and pasting the contact information you find on our online directory into a word document. Once you print this document, you have an easily readable list for you can start contacting different treatment centres.

For Lisa, we suggested she contact residential treatment centres first, before detox. Because Lisa, has such specific needs she has a more limited set of treatment options available, it’s in her best interest to try and secure a spot in a treatment center before detox. Public treatment center waitlists can be long-term so the sooner Lisa gets on the list, the sooner she can get in to treatment. Doing it this way also has the added benefit of allowing you or your addicted loved one to schedule detox right before the intake date to treatment. This way people like Lisa can go directly from detox to treatment and avoid having to sit through a lag period, which is where many people relapse back into their addiction. This can be also problematic for those required to be sober for a certain length of time before entering into residential treatment.

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