In the past century, we’ve witnessed some incredible addiction treatment transformations. For instance, 100 years ago, addicts were perceived as moral degenerates who needed to be punished for their substance abuse. Most of the “treatment” methods involved what amounted to torture in prisons or asylums. These individuals suffered severe withdrawals as a result of this misguided attempt to correct their bad behavior.
During those years, doctors had a limited understanding of the detoxification process and had few procedures in place for easing withdrawal symptoms and pain. Unfortunately, many doctors were among the believers that an addict should suffer for their moral failing. Also, they believed that successful detox meant the person was cured of their addiction.
How Addiction Treatment Programs Have Evolved
Many decades passed before scientists recognized addiction as a brain disease comprised of mental and physical aspects. With this new perception, treatment for addiction has progressed dramatically. Comprehensive treatment plans were created with detoxification as merely the first step in the process of addiction recovery rather than as a punishment for being an addict.
As more and more medical professionals began to view addiction as a physical affliction, treatment approaches advanced and improved. Addiction treatment programs of today offer a multi-disciplinary plan that seeks to address the physical and mental aspects of addiction.
These are some of the most significant addiction treatment transformations to date:
- Recognizing that there are underlying psychiatric or psychological disorders present. Many addicts began substance abuse as a coping mechanism for depression, low self-esteem, abuse, and more.
- Understanding that underlying disorders must be addressed before sobriety can be achieved. Unless the individual learns more effective methods for dealing with their situation, it is unlikely that they will remain sober.
- Recognition of recovery as a life-long process. We refer to former addicts as “in recovery” rather than “recovered.” This distinction is important because it removes the sense of having to meet a deadline.
- Treating each addict as an individual. Many treatment programs today focus on creating an individualized treatment approach. They encourage the individual to take an active role in planning their recovery. Available options include faith-based, natural, medical, Indigenous/Native American, or traditional approaches.
- Understanding that each addict responds to treatment differently. With this in mind, many facilities offer an open-ended program, allowing patients to take the time they need to heal.
- Simultaneously treating co-occurring physical health problems. Most people who suffer with substance abuse disorders also have physical health problems such as HIV/AIDS, heart disease, cancer, lung disease, hepatitis, or liver disease. They may also have mental disorders such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, or anxiety. When these co-occurring disorders are present, the integration of primary care and addiction treatment is a must.
- Recognizing the importance of aftercare. Studies show that many addicts relapse in the first six months after completing rehab. This has prompted treatment providers to strongly recommend an aftercare program. These programs provide continuing support, counseling, and guidance as the person attempts to reenter society.
With these transformations in addiction treatment, millions of individuals have overcome their addictions and are now living productive, drug-free lives.
Learn More About Transformations in Addiction Treatment
The best way to learn more about the transformations in addiction treatment is to talk to one of our specialists at Awakenings Recovery. We will be happy to tell you about our comprehensive, evidence-based treatment programs. Begin your addiction recovery today. Call now.
samhsa.gov – Innovations in Addiction Treatment