Sports and mental health


“Get moving,” is the message we are echoing, because exercise and mental health are linked. Studies point to evidence in children and adults that daily exercise can both prevent and treat mental health issues. Moreso throughout the world mental health professionals are working with community groups and sporting groups to promote an active lifestyle. 

In August, we joined forces with Lanna Rehab, and sponsored the fifth annual Koh Chang Cricket Tournament. Continue reading “Sports and mental health”

father daughter

Father’s day: I have my daughter back

Articles, Understanding Addiction
Today, on Father’s Day, we’re sharing an email we received from one of our client’s dads. He wanted to share his experience, from his own unique perspective. Making the good point that much of the time it’s the family members who do the research, find the rehab and even pay for treatment. He hopes by sharing his experience, it helps other people. 

We had no idea 

We live in an Australian country town which is where our nightmare started 4 years ago. Up until it did our daughter Sharon* then, at 30 years old, had been a fully employed caring person. 
At that time we noticed her decline but assumed it was an issue with depression and anxiety so we encouraged her to see her doctor who then referred her to a psychologist.
The psychologist visits did not seem to help. We were still under the impression that it was an anxiety issue.
So, now over a year or two had passed and we had made no headway along with her increasing mood swings, damaging her vehicle and missing money from our home.
The group of people she was associating with were not of a good nature so we believed her actions were due to the company she kept. We were still totally in the dark.

“Totally in the dark” about our daughter’s addiction.


Confronting the truth

A person we knew quite innocently asked about Sharon’s crystal meth addiction. She told us her nephew showed the same symptoms and wanted to know how we were coping.
We were stunned. But, once we were confronted by the words, things started to fall into place.
At home we confronted Sharon and she replied she was using meth was, but ‘it was not a problem’ and she ‘was not an addict’.
We were shocked. We were aware of a local meth problem in what is now endemic in all areas but assumed that this had been addressed by her doctor and the psychologist.
However, can you believe that despite the help we had been seeking, at no point in the last two years had a doctor or psychologist suggested a drug test?

Desperately seeking help

We encouraged Sharon to move back home. My wife and I sought help from government addiction services, but this proved to be futile. We were at a loss and totally out of our depth.

By this point, she had been stealing from us for over 2 years. We were up at night every night worried she would drive on drugs and hurt herself or somebody else.

There comes a time when a decision you have to make is the last thing you ever wanted to do but it had to be done. I told Sharon she had to go and I would not have any contact with her from this point on.

Days went by and in her absence, we researched and believed that a 24/7 situation away from here would be the best for her if she would agree.

It took two weeks – that felt like a lifetime. But, she asked to come home. She admitted her addiction and she wanted treatment. 

Asking DARA Rehab for help

We contacted DARA Rehab and spoke to Martin who was the first helpful person and who fully understood Sharon’s problems and needs.

We spoke to Sharon and she agreed to go to DARA Rehab for 3 months. Once the decision was made, they made it possible to get her there very quickly.

She spoke to us daily on Skype informing us of how much she is enjoying getting her life back and how well she was doing.

We also spoke to Martin who made himself readily available in regards to Sharon’s progress. 

Are Strict Australian Laws Encouraging Alcoholism?

Leaving rehab

At the end of the 3 months, my wife and I went to DARA Rehab to discuss any ongoing concerns and to bring

Sharon home. Sharon came home as the person she always used to be we were all very happy, her determination

to succeed was back and she was determined to move forward.

After treatment, she kept in touch with DARA Rehab once a week. These regular talks with her psychologist settled her back into normal life.

She also kept in touch with the friends she made at DARA Rehab. Sharon joined and attended regular NA meetings. The support system was working and we were getting our daughter back.

Recovery is ongoing

Months went by since Sharon had returned home from rehab and things were looking so positive.
My wife and I had plans for a 3-week interstate trip. We all thought things would be fine but we still kept in touch every day while we were gone.
Right before we returned home we noticed a change in her and we were worried, but not convinced there was a problem. Unfortunately, on our arrival home we found a sorry Sharon we suspected she had slipped and had taken Crystal meth on the Saturday before our arrival home on Monday.
Sharon owned up to her slip and was very ashamed. Not only were we devastated, but she was also in a state of despair that she had not only let us down but herself by being 1 month away from a year drug-free. We were at a loss as to what we could do and the possible ongoing effects of this slip.

Ongoing support on the phone

I rang Martin, from DARA Rehab, straight away and we discussed her circumstances and a way to move forward. 
Martin had told us that after Sharon left DARA Rehab we could still contact him, and he was true to his word. He gave us advice and reassurance and helped us move forward as a family.

I can happily say that Sharon is back on track and moving forward. Sharon is now working full time and her slip is well behind her.

We are thankful for the understanding and help we received from DARA Rehab and hope that you can start on the journey that will bring your loved one home.


Two thankful parents

Mum shares her gratitude


One mum’s experience with addiction

When I made my initial contact with DARA on July 16, 2019- it seemed like there was no hope for my daughter and I. She was struggling to a very large extent, with anxiety and depression and alcohol abuse.

Many times I was so afraid that something really bad was going to happen to her. I was living with a lot of guilt because I knew that these anxiety attacks were a result of a lack of parental love and nurturing and guidance during her childhood.

As a mother, I did not protect her as I should have, and now the nightmares were literally driving her to excessive drinking as a self-medication tool to ease her pain. I was in self-denial and I also felt so helpless at times.

One day, my daughter said something very profound, something that drove me to plead with God for help. I was presenting her with a book that she had wanted, a book written by an author who had overcome alcohol addiction and was managing his anxiety attack well.

My daughter said; ‘Thank you, mother, for this book. This is a story from someone who was determined to overcome alcohol addiction and who received professional help to do it.’

This statement really hit a nerve in me. We had tried applying to rehab centers around us and in our home country before. The problem with the local centers was the impossible amount they were charging, and my daughter worried about the lack of confidentiality.

We started searching abroad, and lo and behold, DARA came up. The words I read that really attracted me was the description I read: 

‘Our comprehensive treatment program is based on a holistic treatment model of physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, and social aspects, to help clients with their current issues, get them clean and prepare them for a lifelong journey of recovery. We use a range of evidence-based treatment approaches including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Transactional Analysis, Mindfulness and introduction to 12-step, based on individual needs. We are not a “one size fits all” facility. All Dara professional counselors have recognized University degrees, are Internationally trained and have relevant experience in substance abuse and mental health, and we specialize in depression, anxiety, trauma, and PTSD. We have a total of 45 staff to take care of the client’s needs, which is one of the highest clients to staff ratio of any rehab in the region. Dara is essentially an International rehab located in Thailand and is also fully licensed by the Thailand Ministry of Health to be a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, the only one by a beach.’

When After I first contacted them on July the 16th, everything seemed to fall into place. Starting with a very informative and warm response from Martin, to God making a way for the fees, to my daughter being grateful and excited and anxious about the opportunity to be at such a promising center.

To cut the long amazing story short, 10 days after my initial contact with DARA we were traveling to Thailand on Friday, July 26, 2019.

The welcome was soothing to our hurt souls. My daughter has been in DARA Rehab for 4 weeks now. I cannot fully explain the transformation I see in her when she communicates with me. DARA is providing exactly what they had promised. A number of professionals attend to her, and she is learning about herself, about how her brain works, about how to deal with stress in a positive way. She loved one-on-one therapy sessions, and she also loves her group sessions. She says the CBT class is very informative and it sheds so much light on so many things that were a mystery to her. She loves her meditation classes also. She always looks forward to here excursion time on weekends. She has made a lot of friends on campus, which includes the cat, the dogs, and the monkeys.

The scenic environment of the beach and beautiful nature is a cure also in itself. Thank you so much DARA for all the help that you are providing to all your students, especially to my daughter. DARA Rehab has actually exceeded our expectations, and we are truly grateful for this. We are aware that healing is a lifelong process in this stressful world. We are determined to continue to use the tools, skills, and strategies that my daughter is being equipped with at DARA. Well, this is a long post, all I really wanted to say was, “Thank you so much DARA”.

New Zealand Drug Market for Meth and Cocaine Striving

New Zealand Drug Market for Meth and Cocaine is Thriving

Alternative Treatment, Articles, Australia, Education, International, Treatment, Understanding Addiction

New Zealand Drug Market for Meth and Cocaine Thriving

New Zealand is a beautiful place filled with natural and man-made marvels that can be a delight to behold. However, a sinister shadow has been recently cast over New Zealand. According to the US DEA drug enforcement agency, the New Zealand drug market has become the number one hot spot in the world for both meth and cocaine.

Why the New Zealand Drug Market?

It may seem odd that New Zealand is a hub for the drug industry, but this has a great deal to do with money. Drug sales, the money to be made from sales, have gained the attention of the major cartels in the world. Specifically, the Sinaloa Cartel seems to be targeting the New Zealand borders for drug trade and sales. One bust in particular found 110 kilos of methamphetamines being smuggled into the area in golf cart batteries.

As mentioned, money is a big motivator and New Zealanders pay the price for party drugs. As of 2018, Kiwis paid an average of $360 for a single gram of cocaine. This is about four times what those in America said they paid for the same amount. This is in part due to the smaller population of the area, but strict border control also raises the price. This also drives the rates of meth use as it can be created from items that are easier to obtain in the country. However, for those wanting cocaine, it can be tough and expensive to come by without any assurance that what is sold is safe or pure.

Cocaine Use

While meth may be growing in popularity, cocaine is still a favorite of users in New Zealand. Unfortunately, neither are safe for short or long term use. While cocaine addiction may not be as instantaneous as meth addiction, it can still happen quickly. This is because both have related short term effects that include:

  • Energy
  • Euphoria
  • Extreme sensitivity to sound, touch, and sights
  • Anger
  • Irritability
  • Paranoia
  • Decreased appetite

Someone who is energetic, does not need to eat or sleep, and can seemingly feel things deeply, will not want to stop. The same is true of meth, however, cocaine is a fast acting short term high where as meth tends to stay in the system longer with stronger effects over time.

Long Term Effects of Cocaine and Meth

While the short term effects are not necessarily horrible, the long term effects can be both permanent and deadly. These include:

  • Headaches or migraines
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Heart attack, disease, or stroke
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Psychological and mood issues
  • Lung damage
  • HIV and Hepatitis (from sharing or reusing needles)
  • Bowel decay
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Loss of smell
  • Nosebleeds (from snorting)

Drug Use

Both meth and cocaine can be snorted, smoked, or injected. While all forms are dangerous, injected either substance puts the user at higher risk. This is especially true for those that share needles as infections are easily passed through the needle. Injection sites can also get infected and cause problems throughout the body that are not easily treated, even if the user does seek treatment. Those using meth are more likely to pick at the skin which spreads the infection further.

Seeking Treatment

New Zealand Drug Market for Meth and Cocaine Striving

Though New Zealand has far from cornered the market for cocaine and methamphetamine purchases or production, there is still a need for proper treatment for those who are addicted. DARA offers an excellent resource for those with any type of addiction. The best part is there are several facilities within Australia. These are located in Sydney, Brisbane, Auckland, and Melbourne.

DARA’s Treatment

DARA is unique in that each individual who enters the in-patient facility is given an individualized treatment plan. While the overall treatment is the same for everyone, the specifics are designed to help each addict in the way they most need.


This is accomplished with a focus on the mind, body, and spirit for each patient in the affordable, resort style facility. For the mind, the use of cognitive behavioral therapy in group and individual settings. Cognitive behavioral therapy, most often called CBT, helps individuals to trace their thinking to behaviors and feelings. Knowing how certain thoughts lead to specific actions can help an individual break the thought pattern. These are patterns that are often involved in addiction. This is also helpful once a person goes back to their real life as triggers will come up and need to be avoided or the thought patterns around them altered to a healthier action.

DARA can help each individual identify their triggers and thought patterns to lead a healthier life after rehab. To further help heal the mind, DARA offers education classes about addiction so that the basic principles are better understood by the user.


As for the spirit, religion is not a part of the DARA rehab program, but time spent in meditation and relaxation is included. Time is set aside daily to simply relax and consider a new life outside of the rehab facility. Learning to relax is an important skill as once the time at rehab has ended, stressful events often lead to relapse. Practicing these techniques can be one way to prevent relapse in the future.


DARA makes physical wellness a priority as well. This comes in different forms that include a personal trainer for each patient and massages that are offered three times a week. Additionally, personalized times of recreation and proper nutrition are provided as a way to help the body heal from the inside out. Addiction tends to take precedence over self-care for the addict. This means the body suffers. This can be extreme with cocaine and meth use in any form. DARA seeks to help rebuild the body so it can continue to heal itself following a rehab stay.

Contact DARA

CLICK HERE to get a free confidential addiction rehabilitation assessment. Alternatively, you can click on the live chat icon to chat with someone now.