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Promises’ Dr. David Sack Talks about Revamping Addiction Treatment

Lindsay Lohan is back in the news after she failed to report to a mandatory court hearing in Los Angeles, which resulted in a warrant for her arrest. Judge Marsha Revel of Los Angeles County Superior Court also revoked Lohan’s probation, which she was given after two arrested in 2007 on drunk-driving charges. The judge stipulated that if she makes bail, she will be prohibited from drinking alcohol, required to wear an alcohol-monitoring bracelet, and undergo weekly drug testing.

Monsters and Critics talked to Promises’ CEO Dr. David Sack about Lohan and the revamping of drug addiction treatment at Promises.

Dr. Sack, a board-certified addiction psychiatrist with 28 years of experience, acquired Promises Treatment Centers in 2008, and took to reimagining the programs at both the West LA and Malibu campuses. While remaining focused on 12-step recovery methods, Dr. Sack has incorporated more involved mental health treatment as most people with substance abuse problems also suffer from depression, anxiety, and stress disorders.

Dr. Sack says the home-like and relaxing setting of both the Malibu and West LA campuses are conducive to the recovery and healing process. He also told Monsters and Critics that bureaucratic settings were not as effective for a patient’s recovery, and the quality of the experience often hastened a patient’s actual recovery time. He has also implemented an improved follow-up care protocol and support alumni groups.

When asked why people often use the term “sex addiction” when high-profile men are caught cheating, Dr. Sack responded: “Not everyone who cheats is a sex addict. The idea of sexual addiction or compulsive sexual behavior should be used when the person is preoccupied with thinking about engaging in the particular behaviors and that these behaviors significant disrupt social or occupational functioning. The person who spends several hours day cruising internet pornography at work might be a good example. The behavior interferes with work, involves risks (most employers monitor website activity), and the person continues to engage in the activity despite those risks. Someone who is in a failing marriage and starts an affair may be dishonest, but is not necessarily a sex addict.”

Monsters and Critics then asked whether rehab can really work for someone who is forced into rehab, as Lohan might be. “There is clear and convincing research that says that people who are court ordered in treatment do at least as well as individuals who self-refer,” Dr. Sack responded. “Individuals in treatment for substance abuse who are court involved are actually less likely to commit suicide than those seeking treatment on their own. The fact is that most people entering treatment for drug or alcohol problems are responding to external pressure that may come in the form of a spouse threatening to leave, an employer who threatens termination or legal proceedings (civil or criminal).”

Posted on May 19, 2010 and modified on April 28, 2019

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