The Evolution of Drug Rehabilitation in the US

The Evolution of Drug Rehabilitation in the US

There was a time when no one knew that people could become dependent on chemicals in such a life altering way. However, many rehab opportunities exist today.

First Rehabilitation

In 1935 a Dr. Smith took his last drink. Alcoholics Anonymous is celebrated as beginning on June 10th, 1935, the day Dr. Smith noted as being the last day he drank any alcohol. He, along with Bill Wilson, founded AA. The principles of the group were based on those first put into practice by a Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung. The basis of the program was built around how Dr. Jung felt after finding God.

In 1937 the group, AA, had over 40 members that were continuing sobriety. 1938 saw the solidifying of the Twelve Steps which is what makes the program work for members. The steps are faith based, but can be used by anyone, even atheists because the wording can be changed to Higher Power instead of God. In 1939 the steps were published.

AA has been the most successful program in helping people gain and stay sober. The principles of the program have been used to create other groups. Many ‘Anonymous’ groups have been formed- Narcotics Anonymous, Overeater’s Anonymous, and more. It all began in Vermont, when the first member and founder of AA started a wave of sobriety. Through the years, there are more and more groups formed to help people kick addictions and habits across the globe. Many are based on the AA model. Drug rehabs has always a lot of misconceptions. This perhaps is one of the reasons why people tend to see this process as a negative context. Despite the long evolution of rehabilitation in the US, a lot of people still perceive this something to be afraid of. 

Narcotics Abuse

The first programs for narcotics abuse was implemented in Arizona state prisons in 1966. These programs were based on a program developed by Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology. His program was written under the title of “The Fundamentals of Thought”.

Unlike many other programs for narcotic abuse, Narconon was not based on a withdrawal drug like methadone. The program used vitamins, sweat sessions, and much of the program was influenced by the Church of Scientology’s methodologies. Due to these methods, there has been and continue to be a lot of controversy surrounding the program.

There have been many celebrities that credit the program Narconon with their rehabilitation from the use of narcotics and other drugs. The program has tried to distance itself from the church and offers secularized material for people that wish to become substance free without any faith based teachings.

Faith Based Treatments

AA and Narconon are not the only faith based treatments centers that have existed through history. The ealy perceptions of drug and alcohol abuse as people without moral fiber or with low willpower caused many treatment programs to evolve. These programs were based in the idea that religion or faith would help the abusers become drug free. Many of these programs work and have worked for decades. By helping the people with substance abuse issues find a place in their lives where they can reach out to a higher power, the programs have helped millions. People involved in these programs are more likely to credit God or another higher power as being their ‘rock’ during times of craving.

Religion is a large part of many lives. Due to this, the seeking for acceptance can change from one of substance to one of faith and love. Many families feel that the people they love with substance abuse issues will benefit from the solidarity a church can offer. Not all religious programs are based on a specific denomination, though quite a few churches have their own counseling prgrams for substance abuse.

Science Based Treatments

Not all people enjoy faith based rehabilitation. Due to the nature of how the body can become dependent on chemicals, doctors and scientists have searched for answers. The dependence can be treated with other medications and counseling. People that do not wish to join a religious network of other substance dependent people can find help from their own doctors.

Methadone is a drug that was found to help people withdraw from narcotics like heroin. By using a large dose, then stepping down the doses over a period of time, people were relieved of their dependence. This method of recovery was popular during the 20th century and continues to be a recovery method of choice in the 21st century.

Changing lifestyle has been popularized during the 2000’s. Eating better, enhancing spirituality, and counseling has replaced the ‘spas’ for rehabilitation of alcohol and chemical dependence. More people in the 2000’s believe that by detoxifying the body they can overcome dependence. Use of herrbs, vitamins, oils, massage, and a holistic approach has been used in many new rehabilitation centers.

Counseling Alone

Other approaches has been used historically to treat dependence. Counseling , along with a mentor has been the mainstay of almost all programs. Even religious and scientific points of view agree that counseling is one of the most important factors in recovery.

Talking about how the drug makes a person feel, how they feel afterward and the impact the substance has had on life can bring the abuse into perspective for many people. Their families can participate by joining in sister programs that are designed for the counseling and support of family members. The most popular programs for families are those that bring into focus how the substance has change family dynamics and helps those families rebuild.

There is no one program that can be proclaimed the ‘perfect’ program throughout history. All of the rehabilitation programs in the United States since 1935 have been rooted in the belief that counseling, sharing, and mentoring will help overcome the dependence.

Janice Reyes is a hardworking content writer who loves to experiment with the new gadgets and beauty products that are there in the market. This way she is capable of distinguishing what is best for her readers.

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