Mclean Hospital


Care and Support for Drug and Alcohol Abuse


If you or a loved one are suffering from misuse of alcohol, prescription drugs, heroin, cocaine, marijuana, or opioids such as Oxycontin or Percocet, McLean Hospital offers comprehensive services to set you on a path toward recovery. We know that substance abuse changes normal desires and priorities. It changes normal behaviors and interferes with the ability to work, go to school, and to have good relationships with friends and family.

For more than 40 years, McLean Hospital has been a leader in care for patients with substance use disorders. We’re here to help you.

Addiction Treatment at McLean

McLean Hospital provides comprehensive support for individuals who want to reduce chemical dependency and regain control of their lives. Knowing that substance use is often seen alongside other psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety, and trauma, our programs leverage the expertise and wide-ranging mental health and evaluative services throughout McLean Hospital.

Addiction care is provided in a variety of environments—including inpatient, residential, and day programs (partial hospital)—in order to meet the needs of all McLean patients. In-depth assessment, personalized treatment, case management, and ongoing support and education are hallmarks of these services.

Based on the proven success of a residential model to treat addiction, McLean offers both insurance-based and self-pay treatment options. Each of our programs combines evidence-based psychosocial treatment provided by Harvard Medical School-affiliated clinicians. Individual and group therapy is offered, along with medication management, if required, and a daily educational curriculum to promote prolonged recovery.

With treatment options from short-term detox to insurance-based and self-pay around-the-clock residential care, McLean offers an array of alcohol and drug abuse treatment programs.

McLean’s Addiction Programs

Signature Recovery Programs – Our 30-day, self-pay programs—Fernside and Borden Cottage—offer evaluation and individualized drug and alcohol treatment for adults with substance use disorders and co-occurring psychiatric conditions. Comprehensive care delivered by experts in addiction treatment is combined with luxury amenities and serene settings that support recovery.

Naukeag – An insurance-based treatment program in Petersham, Massachusetts, providing care for adults with substance use disorders that may be complicated by other psychiatric conditions.

Treatment at McLeanLEADER – Substance abuse and trauma care focused on the unique needs of first responders and active duty military. Residential and outpatient options are available.

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Inpatient Program – Short-term inpatient detoxification and treatment for adults with substance use disorders who require a secure environment.

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Partial Hospital Program – A program for individuals with substance use disorders who need intensive treatment but do not require the security or structure of inpatient care.

Adult Outpatient Services – McLean’s outpatient care includes individual and group therapy options focused on addiction.

What Is Addiction?

Substance abuse, or addiction to drugs or alcohol, is a recognized medical brain disorder. This psychiatric illness refers to the abuse of illegal or legal substances such as alcohol, opiates, cocaine, marijuana, and so on. Substance abuse causes serious problems at work, school, in relationships, and with the law.

These behaviors likely signal a problem with drug or alcohol abuse:

  • Getting high or drunk on a regular basis
  • Lying, especially about how much you are using or drinking
  • Avoiding friends and family members
  • Giving up activities you used to enjoy, such as sports or socializing with non-using friends
  • Talking or thinking a lot about using drugs or alcohol
  • Believing you need to use or drink to have fun
  • Pressuring others to use or drink
  • Getting in trouble with the law
  • Taking risks, such as sexual risks or driving under the influence of a substance
  • Diminishing work performance due to substance abuse before, after, or during work hours
  • Missing work due to substance use
  • Feeling depressed or hopeless, or having thoughts of self-harm or suicide

Though the exact cause of substance abuse and dependence is unclear, it likely involves a mix of genetic, environmental, and emotional factors. However, while the first use of drugs or alcohol is voluntary, continued use quickly causes changes in the brain so that a person no longer has control. Substance abuse disorders result in the compulsive need for the substance.

Addiction to drugs or alcohol is most often accompanied by additional mental health diagnoses including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Treatment for substance use disorders may incorporate a combination of group, family, and individual therapy targeted at medical stabilization, reducing the severity of the patient’s symptoms, and providing tools, ongoing support, and resources to prevent relapse and address co-occurring symptoms.

Addiction Resources

You may find these organizations useful for more information on addiction:

Books About Addiction

McLean Hospital faculty have penned more than 50 books in recent years, including these books about alcohol and drug abuse.

Treating Women with Substance Use DisordersTreating Women with Substance Use Disorders: The Women’s Recovery Group Manual
by Shelly F. Greenfield
(Guilford Press, 2016)

Brain-RobbersBrain-Robbers: How Alcohol, Cocaine, Nicotine, and Opiates Have Changed Human History
By Frances R. Frankenburg, MD
(Praeger/ABLC-CLIO, 2014)

The Effects of Drug Abuse on the Human Nervous SystemThe Effects of Drug Abuse on the Human Nervous System
by Bertha Madras and Michael Kuhar, eds.
(Elsevier, 2013)

Integrated Group Therapy for Bipolar Disorder and Substance AbuseIntegrated Group Therapy for Bipolar Disorder and Substance Abuse
by Roger D. Weiss, MD, and Hilary S. Connery, MD, PhD
(Guilford Press, 2011)

Women & AddictionWomen & Addiction: A Comprehensive Handbook
by Kathleen T. Brady, Sudie E. Back, and Shelly F. Greenfield, eds.
(Guilford Press, 2009)

Cell Biology of AddictionCell Biology of Addiction
by Bertha K. Madras, Christine M. Colvis, Jonathan D. Pollock, Joni L. Rutter, David Shurtleff, Mark von Zastrow, eds.
(Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 2006)

Medical Management (MM) Treatment ManualMedical Management (MM) Treatment Manual: A Guide for Medically Trained Clinicians Providing Pharmacotherapy as Part of the Treatment for Alcohol Dependence
by Helen M. Pettinati, PhD, Roger D. Weiss, MD, William R. Miller, PhD, Dennis Donovan, PhD, Denise B. Ernst, MA, Bruce J. Rounsaville, MD
(National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Monograph, 2004)

Integrated Treatment for Mood and Substance Use DisordersIntegrated Treatment for Mood and Substance Use Disorders
edited by Joseph J. Westermeyer, MD, MPH, PhD, Roger D. Weiss, MD, and Douglas M. Ziedonis, MD, MPH
(Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003)

Understanding Personality Problems and AddictionUnderstanding Personality Problems and Addiction (workbook), 2nd ed.
by Roger D. Weiss, MD, and Dennis C. Daley, PhD
(Hazelden Educational Materials, 2003)

CocaineCocaine, 2nd ed.
by Roger D. Weiss, MD, Steven M. Mirin, MD, Roxanne Bartel, MD
(American Psychiatric Press, 1994)

Learn More

Looking for information on another mental health condition? Visit one of these pages to find out more.