The Evolution of Addiction Treatment Programs

Breakthrough, innovative, cutting edge! These are the words being used to describe today’s strategies for drug and alcohol rehab.  Noticeable shifts in

The evolution of addiction treatment programs in the last twenty years has been attributed to advancements in technology and greater understanding of chemical mechanisms.  Through these innovative tools, scientists are better able to conduct more extensive research on the effects of drugs on the human brain.  As a result, there has been an increase in pharmacological interventions that help to ease withdrawal symptoms, manage drug cravings and even reverse drug overdoses. Increased funding for addiction treatment has also expanded study parameters formerly confined to the effects of addiction on men to include various studies for women and teenagers.  Additionally, the connection between mental illness and addiction has also created a new and extremely effective treatment model that addresses these primary conditions simultaneously.

Advancements in Addiction Treatment Options

Treatment options have also evolved making it easier for people with different circumstances to access the help they need to stop drug and alcohol abuse.  Patients can now experience recovery through a short or long term inpatient treatment process, as an outpatient or through partial hospitalization and sober community programs.

Support forums for people in recovery are also no longer confined to meeting rooms.  New technology, the internet and mobile devices provide multiple tools that monitor and track sobriety, as well as offer inspiration and support for staying clean and sober. These make it easier for people in recovery to access immediate and convenient support, even for those living in remote areas of the country or traveling abroad.

The Benefits of Evolving Addiction Treatment Programs

The proven effectiveness of many traditional treatment programs has made them staples in the recovery process. As such, most are augmented by other programs that enhance the overall journey from addiction to sobriety.  Some changes in addiction treatment include:

  • Variations in drug and alcohol detoxification procedures that may occur through rapid or gradual elimination, with medication assistance or as a complementary or purely holistic process.
  • Ability to capture data in real time enables treatment specialists to quickly determine specific care needs and eliminate the one-size fit-all solution. In this way, treatment can be tailored to support the individual’s sobriety maintenance goals.
  • The Dual Diagnosis treatment model represents one of the most significant breakthroughs for people battling addiction. Dual diagnosis is a condition in which an individual is experiencing a substance addiction and mental illness concurrently. Because the symptoms of addiction and mental disorders so closely mirror each other, it is important for clinicians to make an accurate distinction between a regular addiction and a dual diagnosis condition.  Since the introduction of the dual diagnosis treatment model, studies show a remarkable decline in relapse rates, homelessness and unemployment for patients who participate a program designed to treat both diseases.
  • Based on research conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, people with substance abuse disorders typically experience greater risk of congestive heart failure, liver cirrhosis, pneumonia and mental illness. Integrating primary care treatment with rehab enables them to have the help they require from a team of medical professionals with varying levels of expertise. This results in cohesive, comprehensive care and overall better health for the patient.
  • The integration of alternative addiction treatments such as pet therapy, biofeedback, acupuncture, and art therapy, among others, helps to augment conventional evidence-based modalities.

These represent just a few of the changes taking place in the addiction treatment field.  By combining these developments with community outreach programs and changes in policies, addiction treatment is becoming a more unified system of support for overcoming this devastating disease.

Sources:

  1. http://brsrehab.com/2016/01/12/recognizing-the-significance-of-dual-diagnosis-in-addiction-treatment/
  2. http://www.integration.samhsa.gov/clinical-practice/13_May_CIHS_Innovations.pdf

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