Origins of Addiction Treatment

addiction treatment originsAddiction treatment is something that has been around for quite some time. We depend on addiction treatment to help those who are struggling with addiction and substance abuse get back to sobriety, but few of us know when, why and how addiction treatment began.

Addiction treatment in North America emerged in its earliest forms between the the year 1750 and 1800 to address the problem of alcoholism. Some of the earliest efforts were focused on Native American communities, both from within the communities and from outside of them. This is also the time in history when the first academic literature began to appear on alcoholism and, interestingly, even that long ago there were medical professionals who classified addiction as more of a disease than a character flaw.

In the early 1800s, the first signs of mutual aid societies and recovery establishments were created. Still focused on alcoholism, the first ever mutual aid society was called The Washington Society and held more than half a million members. Recovery establishments were called “inebriate homes” and emerged slowly at first.

In the latter part of the 1800s, inebriate asylums began to open in order to contain problem drinkers. However, they also became the first institutions to treat addictions to other substances, such as cocaine and opiates. Around the same time, Christian based inebriate mutual aid society homes and missions flourished and became gender specific.

But it was not until 1879 that the first private, for-profit institution for addiction treatment opened. This began a trend that gradually shut down inebriate hospitals, asylums and homes, forcing alcoholics into police custody if they could not afford private treatment. Privatization is still presently the current status of most forms of addiction treatment in North America. There is government funding for some forms of addiction treatment, but it is seldom enough to provide effective addiction treatment to people. Typically, government funded rehabs are over-crowded, understaffed and inattentive to the needs of its clients. The best form of addiction treatment available in North America is private addiction treatment.

Methodologies of Addiction Treatment

addiction treatment historyIn the United States and Canada, a number of different approaches to addiction treatment have been made in recent history. There is no cure for addiction, so its various treatments come from different theoretical backgrounds. Some have proven impressively successful while others have fallen out of credibility.

Well known psychologist Carl Rogers was responsible for the client centered methods, which were known for empowering the addicted client to define the objectives of their treatment. The success that this method saw was partly attributed to the therapeutic and encouraging relationship that the counselor provided to the client.

One of the oldest and most successful models of addiction treatment is the disease model. In labeling and defining addiction as a biological disease that is worsened by behavioral, emotional and environmental factors, a unique approach to the condition is formed. By admitting to one’s own powerlessness to end an addiction, they declare their dependence on a higher power and a strong support system to resist their addiction.

Sigmund Freud offered us a psychoanalytical approach to addiction, which is seldom regarded as a useful approach to addiction treatment. As many of Freud’s theories do, the psychoanalytic theory of addiction gets back to sex. According to Freud, addiction stems from sexual tension and the desire to express sexuality and homosexuality. This approach became irrelevant because modern psychology does not acknowledge the necessity of human sexuality to addiction.

The regulation of emotion has proven to be an important conversation to have within the addiction treatment world. Many addicts have been found to abuse substances as an unconscious way of warding off negative feelings, physical or emotional, such as withdrawal symptoms or negative moods. If the addict can learn to identify and control the negative feelings that make them abuse a substance, they statistically have a higher chance at recovering.

And lastly, cognitive methods of addiction treatment revolve around the addicted individual’s ability to cognitively recognize what their own behavior and thought patterns are and cognitively manipulate them. The cognitive behavioral approach to addiction treatment is one of the prominent tools of private addiction counseling.

If you are an American or Canadian struggling with addiction, reach out for help today. If your addiction is to a substance, you may need a detoxification, which you can find in many locations across both countries, such as a New York detox center or a Calgary drug detox. Rehabilitation will be the next step, and you will be able to choose from rehabs in California, Florida, British Columbia and more. DO not hesitate to receive the treatment you need!