Alcohol, prescription and over-the-counter medication use

If you’re living with a dependence on alcohol, prescription, or over-the-counter medications and haven’t been able to stop on your own, help is available at Brisbane Private Hospital’s dedicated facility - Damascus Health Service. 

We provide a range of overnight and day programs including supervised medical withdrawal and relapse prevention therapies to support you to live a healthier lifestyle.

As a private facility we offer a comfortable, supportive environment where you’ll get continuity of care with the same psychiatrist throughout your journey with us. In this program we also support people with a dual-diagnosis of an addiction and a mental health condition. 

And if you don’t have private health insurance, talk to us about options which may include self-funding the program. 

Damascus psychiatrists

At Damascus Health Services, we have a team of highly experienced, qualified and supportive psychiatrists. To arrange a consultation, please see your GP for a referral as a first step. 

Find a psychiatrist

Your rehab journey at Damascus Health Services


Supervised Medical Withdrawal program

No prerequisites

5-7 days (depending on your needs)



More information here

Foundation program

Most people are encouraged to complete the Medical Withdrawal program before starting this program

2 weeks

Group therapy with access to allied health


More information here

Extension program

Offered to clients who have completed Foundation program twice previously

2 weeks

Group therapy


More information here

Compassion Focussed Recovery (CFR)

We recommend you complete the Foundation program before you start this program

Weekly sessions for 10 weeks (program runs 4 x year)

Group therapy


More information here

Damascus Health Service programs

Our Brisbane-based inpatient and day patient programs offer a comprehensive approach for assisting individuals to successfully overcome alcohol and/or prescription medication dependence.  The programs draw from Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment therapy, Social Coping Skills Training, Relapse Prevention and Motivational Intervention which all have research evidence of treatment effectiveness across a range of substances.

1.png Supervised medical withdrawal inpatient   program (5-7 days)

Your medical team

You’ll be supervised and guided by a team of highly-specialised medical psychiatrists.


  • 5-7 day inpatient supervised medical withdrawal program in a supported and controlled environment. This is important because it can be very difficult - and in some cases life threatening - to stop taking these substances abruptly.
  • To be completed before you start the Foundation inpatient program.
  • Before being admitted our specialist will arrange an appointment in rooms for an initial assessment at Damascus Health Services.

2.png Foundation inpatient program
 (14 days)

Once you’ve completed the supervised medical withdrawal program you can continue with our 2-week Foundation inpatient program.

  • Evidence-based program that offers psychoeducation regarding substance abuse and co-morbidity, along with extensive skill-building for mental health, relapse prevention, lifestyle change and social/relationship skills. 
  • Evidence-based treatments to recognise when you are caught up in a struggle with your thoughts and overwhelming emotions, and to enable you to choose to respond with a value-based action. 
  • To help you build a fulfilling life as an integral part of your recovery, the program addresses a range of lifestyle topics including ‘Staying focused with values and lifestyle balancing’, ‘Relationships and recovery’, ‘Health and Wellbeing’, ‘Better communication’ and ‘Plans and supportive practices for life’.     

Your expert medical team

Your expert medical team, all with extensive experience treating dual-diagnosis patients lead this evidence-based program.

The team includes

  • accredited psychiatrists
  • allied health
  • people with lived experience

Program aims

  • Develop action plans that assist wellbeing and reduce the impact of addiction
  • Develop coping strategies and enhance personal control
  • Increase awareness and management of thoughts and feelings
  • Inspire the capacity to manage issues related to addiction
  • Seek clarification of personal values

The program

The program provides the support and skills you need to help manage your recovery. It runs on an ongoing basis and participants can join at any time.
The program will help you gain insight into the reasons why you developed an addiction by focusing on the underlying behavioural and psychological factors.
You’ll learn about the stages of change and what motivates your change, and learn to manage your recovery, including managing urges and cravings.

3.png Extension inpatient program

 (14 days)


A two-week program offered to clients who have completed the Foundation program twice previously.

This program offers a series of topic-based group therapy sessions where you can explore the challenges you are struggling with in a structured and supported way. 

It builds on the skills and practices you have learnt in the Foundation program with the emphasis on using them to help you manage your difficult experiences and to assist you in growing positive experiences in your lives.

4.png  Compassion Focussed Recovery day program (weekly)

Come from inpatient or day patient

Our Compassion Focused Recovery (CFR) program is a composite of traditional contemplative self-compassion-based practices, scientific research and contemporary psychological approaches used by world leaders in compassion therapy.

Self-compassion is simply compassion directed inward. This therapy is extremely helpful for patients struggling with personal inadequacies, mistakes and failures, coping with overwhelming emotions including shame and when confronting painful life situations that are outside of their control. 

There are 3 core components of self-compassion:

  • Mindfulness (as opposed to over-identification)
  • Common humanity (versus isolation)
  • Self-kindness (rather than self-judgment)

When skillfully combined these components work to create a self-compassionate mindset where you naturally treat yourself with the same respect and kindness you would offer a good friend or loved one. 

Program aims

  • Address patterns of addictive behaviour
  • Build capacity to manage addictive behaviours
  • Develop helpful thoughts and beliefs that enhance quality of life
  • Increase self-esteem, confidence and self-efficacy
  • Increase awareness and management of thoughts and feelings
  • Develop specific coping strategies
  • Explore personal concerns related to alcohol issues in a confidential supportive group setting.

Optional additional programs

The involvement of a family member, or of a significant other, can make a huge difference to the recovery process. Learning how best to support family members after discharge can be very beneficial. The group covers education on our Foundation Program and Substance Dependence, how to support family members and provides a safe opportunity to ventilate feelings, thoughts and fears.

This is for those attending our Foundation Program and is held for 3 hours once every 2 weeks.

You are encouraged to invite a family member or significant other to our family morning, (minimum age 18yrs).

Our Day Patient follow up program has been developed to offer support to stay abstinent after discharge from our inpatient service. It aims to provide support as you face your day to day life.

Day Patient attendance needs to be approved by your Doctor and arranged by your nurse when you complete your discharge planning whilst an inpatient. Groups are offered daily Monday to Saturday from 08.30hrs to 14.00hrs in our dedicated Day Patient department.

This program was developed specifically for clients referred by the Department of Veteran Affairs.

It is a 12-week Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Relapse Prevention based program. It is designed to help those experiencing substance dependence to change their attitude and behaviour regarding their substance use.

Program participants are encouraged throughout the program to address their emotional and psychological distress, manage barriers to making changes to their substance use, implement safety strategies to minimise their risk of relapse and improve the course of any co-morbidity.


Damascus Health Services are located at the Brisbane Private Hospital. For inpatient programs, you’ll stay with us and receive 24-hour support in a refurbished facility for the duration of the program.

Damascus Health Services facilities include:

  • Private single rooms with own ensuite, air conditioning, telephone and a nurse call button
  • Interpreters and chaplaincy services are available on request
  • Laundry facilities
  • Visitor and disabled parking

Getting a referral – eligibility

To be admitted to one of our inpatient or outpatient programs you’ll need to see a GP first to:

Get a referral to an admitting psychiatrist at Brisbane Private Hospital

GPs can address their referral directly by name to one of our accredited psychiatrists.

Click here for our specialist directory.


Being admitted
Once we receive the referral, our specialist will book you in for an assessment consultation with our one of our team members. Then if you’re assessment is appropriate for the program we’ll admit you as soon as possible. Wait times vary between two days to two weeks.

Once the psychiatrst has planned the admission, they will refer to our intake team. Intake can be contacted on 07 3834 6510


We understand that costs for admission to a private mental health facility and related charges can
be complex, so please call us with any questions you have – we’re more than happy to help.


Private health insurance

Depending on your level of cover we can provide an estimate of hospital charges and outline the level of cover by your fund and any other out-of-pocket costs you may need to pay. We’ll need to undertake a private health fund check before you can be admitted or start the program.

We’re recognised by all major private health funds that reimburse treatment costs.


No private health insurance

If you don’t have private health insurance call our Front Office Manager to discuss this as one option is to self-fund your stay. Please call before admission for an estimate for the cost of your stay. You’ll need to pay for your stay in full upon admission.


Workcover, MAB, TAC or DVA

If you’re admitted as under Workcover, MAB, TAC or DVA you’ll need prior approval. Please call us first to discuss. We’re a Tier 1 Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) contracted hospital which means all DVA patients with a Gold Card are fully covered for shared accommodation.

Frequently asked questions

You can find a complete list of our doctors and their contact information by visiting this link here.

Your referral should be sent to one of our treating psychiatrists at Damascus Health Service. Our doctor’s list can be found from the above link. Your referring doctor, whether it is your GP or another specialist, can direct the referral.

Once our psychiatrist receives your referral, the doctor’s administrative team will promptly contact you.

Wait times can vary from 2 days to 2 weeks once our Intake nurse receives the request for admission from you treating psychiatrist. They will email you a link to our online admission platform for you to complete your health history and submit back to Intake.

We recommend that our clients have private health insurance with inpatient psychiatric cover.

Alternatively, our Intake Office will collaborate with our Estimate department to provide a treatment quote after our psychiatrists submit a request for your treatment.

  • Your initial admission at Damascus Health Services can be up to 21 days
  • One week: Detoxification phase, if needed
  • Two weeks: Intensive Foundation Program
  • Subsequent admissions for alternative programs vary in length and can be discussed with your treating VMO

If you are a returning client, your treatment plan can be tailored to your specific needs. Feel free to discuss your preferences and goals with your treating psychiatrist.

Unfortunately, we do not have an Emergency Department. If you require inpatient admission for detox or relapse prevention, please get in touch with your treating psychiatrist first. Your psychiatrist will assess your situation and decide whether to send us a formal request for admission.

Whether you have experienced a relapse, or you would like to be admitted for relapse prevention, please reach out to your treating psychiatrist to request admission. Once we receive the admission request, one of our Intake Officers will promptly contact you to discuss further details.

You are welcome to bring in your phone and laptop, you are solely responsible for it.

Yes, however visitors are restricted to the front of the unit and are not allowed into communal areas or bedrooms.

Yes, will require approval from your treating VMO. Please note that you will not be permitted leave if you have a positive reading when breathalyzed.

Yes, we have laundry facilities on both inpatient levels.

All rooms are single with their own private bathroom.

Contact us

Damascus Health Services

Brisbane Private Hospital
259 Wickham Terrace
Brisbane QLD 4000
Phone: 07 3834 6475

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