The treatment for substance abuse and addiction has evolved considerably over the years. Once considered a purely physical problem, addiction is now rightly recognized as a disease that affects people on a physical as well as a psychological level and is treated accordingly.
Addiction was once thought of as a moral problem too, which prevented people from discussing it openly in public. Today, the stigma no longer remains, as a result of which more and more avenues are opening up for addicts to discuss their problems and seek help.
So, what is on the horizon for addiction treatment in the coming years? Here at Northeast Addictions, we consider ourselves pioneers in utilizing the most effective treatment and therapy methods to help addicts recover successfully. Based on current trends, here are seven predictions we we believe the addiction treatment industry at large will also be embracing in the near future.
Single pathway models that approach the problem of addiction from a particular point of view will be replaced by a multi-pronged approach that includes different types of therapies and treatments. Already, it is the norm in many treatment centers where addicts are treated for physical as well as psychological problems, and where the concept of dual diagnosis is embraced. The trend will continue and treatment strategies will become more and more diverse in the coming days.
Addiction affects people in different ways according to their physical and mental makeup. So it does not make any sense to have a one-size-fits-all approach in addiction treatment. What works for one person might not work as effectively for another.
So, treatment strategies need to be personalized to a significant extent, depending on the specific needs and problems of individuals. As our knowledge base grows and we get a clearer sense of what works and what does not, it will become easier for treatment centers to create highly personalized treatment plans for individuals.
In the coming years, we will see a transition from addiction treatment, which lumps all kinds of addictions under a single category, to addiction-based treatment, which approaches and treats each type of addiction differently.
For example, alcohol and crack cocaine are both highly addictive substances, but affect people in different ways and pose different types of risks and challenges. So different treatment strategies will be used for treating different types of addictions leading to an increase in success rate.
Currently, many addiction recovery programs focus on achieving lifelong sobriety. In the past, if a person had a relapse, it was not just considered his or her personal failure, but that of the program itself. However, there is now a growing acceptance that lifelong abstinence need not be the only goal for everyone. For some people, moderate, controlled drinking could be an option as well.
Studies show that people with a severe drinking problem usually end up damaging the part of the brain which allows them to moderate their alcohol consumption. For such people, lifelong abstinence is the only choice, as they are physically unable to control their drinking habit anymore. For others, however, controlled drinking could be an option, depending on their physical health and a number of other factors.
Make no mistake about it. Lifelong abstinence will continue to be the goal for a majority of addicts in the future too, but potentially not the only goal, which used to be the case in the past.
Moreover, sobriety is no longer the only yardstick to measure a treatment’s success or failure. Other factors like better quality of life, improvement in social status, absence or significant reduction of criminal behavior, and an improvement in physical and mental health are included as primary goals, thus broadening the definition of success when it comes to recovery programs.
As more and more people realize that recovery is not a one-time goal, but a lifelong journey, the focus on aftercare will increase considerably. Rather than ending the treatment abruptly after a residential or outpatient program, recovery centers now offer extensive aftercare services, which the newly recovered addicts can make use of to stay sober and healthy.
It is becoming increasingly clear that there is a link between addiction and mental disorders like depression and anxiety. In some people, such disorders could lead to substance abuse. In others, such disorders could be the result of substance abuse. Whatever may be the case, addiction can no longer be treated as a standalone problem. The co-existing disorders require just as much as attention, in order for the person to make full recovery.
Moreover, studies show that the presence of mental disorders could increase the risk of relapse significantly in recovering addicts. In essence, recovery programs should include a comprehensive mental health analysis, based on which treatment strategies are tailored for individual needs. When a treatment center specializes in dual diagnosis, it is a very positive sign indicating that they use more effective and successful treatment strategies.
As more and more addiction treatment centers crop up, we are very likely to see a sharp increase in the demand for regulations and standards for facilities. Once such standards and regulations are further established – either at the federal level or at the state level – people will find it easier to separate the wheat from the chaff and choose treatment centers where they are assured of effective addiction treatment and high-quality service.
Additional Reference: Psychology Today
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