AlcoholAversion TherapyRecoveryStudy

The History of Schick Shadel Hospital in Seattle

By October 10, 2019 November 18th, 2020 No Comments

Schick Shadel Hospital’s Legacy

Schick Shadel Hospital has become the most effective addiction-treatment hospital in Seattle. Throughout our long history, our unique aversion therapy approach has helped people accomplish a level of addiction treatment in 10 days that would otherwise take 20-30 days in the addiction treatment programs at other Seattle Washington hospitals.1

Schick Shadel Hospital’s legacy as an important addiction hospital in Seattle began with Charles Shadel almost a hundred years ago. Shadel was born and raised in the Puget Sound region into a family that was influential in the early settlement of Yakima and Kittitas Counties.2 The Puget Sound region was an attractive area to offer alcoholism treatment. During the prohibition era when it was illegal to sell or consume alcohol, Puget Sound was a godsend for smugglers. It wasn’t difficult to travel by boat to Canada and purchase alcohol from the large distilleries that were just over the border and ready to export.3 Alcoholism never disappeared in the Puget Sound region. Prohibition simply sent the trade “underground.” As the 21st Amendment ended prohibition in 1933, alcoholism began to rise again.4 The timing was just right for Charles Shadel to establish an addiction hospital in Seattle.

First Hospital in Seattle to Treat Chronic Alcoholism

Even as the temperance movement began to wane in the 1930s, many people still considered alcoholics to be society’s outcasts. However, Charles Shadel believed that alcoholism was a disease of the body, not a mental dysfunction.5 He understood that addiction is not a result of weak willpower or moral failure. Instead, Shadel saw addiction, as a psychological response to stimuli and treated it as such.6 As one of the first people to recognize alcoholism as a disease, Shadel was the first to successfully treat alcoholism with a conditioned-reflex aversion treatment, otherwise known as aversion therapy.7

In 1935, Charles Shadel turned his colonial mansion in Seattle into the Shadel Sanitorium where he began treating alcoholics for their substance use disorder.8 His enterprise was launched with the help of gastroenterologist Walter Voegtlin and psychiatrist Fred Lemere. Together, they created the first successful hospital in Seattle (and the U.S,) that exclusively treated chronic alcoholism through Pavlovian conditioned reflex aversion therapy.9 This revolutionary counterconditioning treatment was perfected throughout the next few decades as thousands of patients received treatment.

History of Schick Shadel Hospital in Seattle

The work of Shadel Sanitorium carried on quietly for the first few decades of operation until 1964, when the chairman of Schick Safety Razor Company, Patrick J. Frawley Jr, checked into the hospital to face his alcohol addiction.10 He felt liberated from his desire to drink after the first day of treatment. By 1965, the Schick Safety Razor Company purchased Shadel Sanitorium and renamed it ‘Schick Shadel Hospital.’ Patrick J. Frawley Jr. also invested $6 million of the company’s money into the research of habit formation. While the hospital’s initial focus was to use counterconditioning to treat alcoholism, the new evidence-based research resulted in recovery programs for nicotine, cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamines, prescription opioids, and heroin.11

Pulled Out of Obscurity

While under the ownership of the Schick Razor Company, Schick Shadel Hospital was definitively pulled out of obscurity with expanded addiction treatment services. Although Schick Shadel Hospital no longer operates in a colonial mansion, we continue to provide a full spectrum of services for detoxification and treatment for substance use disorder.

Schick Shadel Hospital has operated under the ownership of a couple of different groups since it was expanded by the Schick Safety Razor Company. In 2002, James P. Graham and nine other former patients from Schick Shadel Hospital purchased the hospital.12 In a press release,  Graham (CEO of Schick Shadel Hospital) stated that they chose to purchase Schick Shadel Hospital “because it provides a service that really works.”13

History of Schick Shadel Hospital in Seattle.

In 2011, the hospital was acquired by Ascend Health, which was a Texas-based healthcare provider that operated a portfolio of medical facilities.14 One year later in October of 2012, Ascend Health was acquired by Universal Health Services (UHS).15 Schick Shadel Hospital is currently owned and operated by Universal Health Services under the direction of CEO Phil Herink.16 

As of 2019, Schick Shadel Hospital has treated over 88,000 people for addiction!

One of the Best Seattle Washington Hospitals for Addiction Treatment

With 69% of our patients still sober one year after treatment, our 10-day program is the most effective addiction treatment program in the U.S.17 There are two follow-up treatments to help set patients on a path for long-term sobriety. There are also support groups that meet regularly.

For people who find that their alcohol consumption is out of control, Schick Shadel Hospital is an effective addiction treatment hospital in Seattle. People who struggle with a substance use disorder don’t always fit the profile of a stereotypical addict. It’s more likely that someone with a substance use disorder will appear to have their lives together from an outside perspective. It may be time to find some help if you notice that you can’t say “no” to a drink or must drink regularly to cope with everyday life. Since it might not be feasible to check into another one of the Seattle Washington hospitals for 20-30 days of treatment, our 10-day program is relatively convenient.

If you’re interested to learn more about our 10-day program, check out our website at or give us a call at 1-800-CRAVING.

This blog is part of a series – ‘What You Need to Know About Schick Shadel Hospital’

Check out the rest of the series by clicking the links below:

History of Schick Shadel Hospital in Seattle

Understanding Alcoholism and the Need for an Alcohol Addiction Treatment Center

Proof That We’re the #1 Rehab Center for Recovery from Drugs and Alcohol



1 (2019). Retrieved 29 July 2019, from

2 Cemetery, F., America, N., County, K., & Cemetery, F. (1896). Charles A. Shadel (1896-1982) – Find A Grave…. Retrieved 8 October 2019, from

3 Wissel, M. (2013). 80 years after Repeal Day, a look at how Seattle drank during the Prohibition | Quirksee. Retrieved 25 July 2019, from

4 The 21st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. (2019). National Constitution Center – The 21st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Retrieved 25 July 2019, from

5 Hospital, A. (2019). Ascend Health Acquires Schick Shadel Hospital. PRWeb. Retrieved 29 July 2019, from

6 Schick Shadel Hospital, Seattle, Washington (98146) Reviews | (2019). Rehab. Retrieved 29 July 2019, from

7 (2019). Retrieved 25 July 2019, from

8 (2019). Retrieved 29 July 2019, from

9 (2019). Retrieved 29 July 2019, from

10 Reviews, R., & Reviews, R. (2015). Schick Shadel Hospital Reviews, Cost, Complaints. Rehab Reviews. Retrieved 29 July 2019, from

Citations Continuted:

11 Edward. (2017). Schick Shadel Hospital Review — Counter-Conditioning Program. Local Rehab Reviews. Retrieved 29 July 2019, from

12 Ascend Health Acquires Schick Shadel Hospital Owners Group Meets Business and Personal Goals – Harvey & Company LLC. (2011). Harvey & Company LLC. Retrieved 31 July 2019, from

13 Retrieved 31 July 2019, from

14 staff, S. (2011). Schick Shadel Hospital sold to Texas health care provider. The Seattle Times. Retrieved 29 July 2019, from

15 Universal Health Services, I. (2019). Universal Health Services, Inc. Completes Acquisition Of Ascend Health Corporation And Divestiture Of Auburn Regional Medical Center. Retrieved 31 July 2019, from

16 (2018, February 8). Schick Shadel – Top Alcohol Treatment & Drug Rehabilitation Center. Philip Herink – Schick Shadel Hospital. Retrieved July 31, 2019, from

17 Elkins, R., Richards, T., Nielsen, R., Repass, R., Stahlbrandt, H., & Hoffman, H. (2017). The Neurobiological Mechanism of Chemical Aversion (Emetic) Therapy for Alcohol Use Disorder: An fMRI Study. Frontiers In Behavioral Neuroscience, 11. doi:10.3389/fnbeh.2017.00182

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