5 Trends Changing Addiction Treatment in 2019
8th August 2019
8th August 2019
Technology, ease of travel, and a willingness to embrace new methodologies and techniques are making addiction treatment more effective than ever. Let’s take a look at 5 trends shaking up the treatment industry in 2019...
1) Addiction Treatment Abroad
This is a topic near to our hearts. We’ve discussed it before in more detail. The short version is, seeking treatment abroad can offer better value for money and lower wait times, as prices and demand soar on account of the ongoing opioid crisis. Treatment abroad can also offer better opportunities for a fresh start, away from the stresses, triggers, and environments that can reinforce negative habits and behaviors. Going abroad also offers a greater sense of privacy for those who’d rather deal with their addiction away from the prying eyes of colleagues, relatives, and acquaintances. It also can allow for access to treatments, medications, and alternative therapies that are not yet legal in the US and UK, such as iboga. With high-end American centers such as Passages Malibu charging as much as $65,000 per month, it’s no wonder that those seeking treatment are looking at addiction treatment abroad to find a similar standard of care at a dramatically reduced price.
2) Emerging Alternatives
The 12 Step model has helped millions of people with substance abuse disorders treat their affliction. But it, and other abstinence-based treatment models don’t work for everyone. American Addiction Centers’ resource guide lists a host of techniques that can help, including equine-assisted therapy, biofeedback, and yoga and mindfulness training. As they write, holistic therapies “offer a more comprehensive approach” that heals on “mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual” levels, “increasing the chances for success and reduc[ing] the risk of relapse.”
Treatments that include psychedelics such as ayahuasca or psilocybin, or other psychoactive substances like Iboga have also been rapidly gaining in popularity. Psychoactive substances can have profound positive effects on those in recovery, ranging from minimizing withdrawal symptoms and cravings to resetting crucial neural functions to pre-addicted levels. They can also open the door to psychological healing by inducing reflection and insights on the behaviors and traumas that have led an individual into addiction.
3) Harm Reduction
Portugal is a worldwide leader in embracing harm reduction to deal with addiction. The country decriminalized all drugs in 2001 and has since seen dramatic decreases in overdoses, the spread of HIV, and drug-related crimes. But harm reduction isn’t just legalization. If you’re unclear on the concept, according to the Harm Reduction Coalition, it is a belief in finding ways to eliminate as many of the negative consequences of drug use as possible for both individuals and societies. It is also a move to recognize and advocate for, the human rights of drug users.
As more and more jurisdictions explore legalization of drugs, needle exchanges, supervised injection sites, and creative ways to minimize the monetary and human costs of drug abuse, people seem to finally be waking up to the fact that incarceration, criminalization, and de-humanization of addicts is counter-productive in every way. We expect more people, countries, and courts to open their minds to finding more efficient, compassionate, and intelligent ways to deal with addiction. In 2018 the UN Human Rights Council declared human rights to be “central to the development and evaluation of any drug policy”, calling for a “comprehensive, balanced, and health-centered approach to drugs.” We would expect the momentum for dealing with addiction as a health issue, rather than prosecuting it as a crime, to grow exponentially in the coming year.
4) Involving the Family
Addiction clearly doesn’t just affect the addict, it touches the lives of everyone close to them. And treatment providers are finally starting to recognize the need to address the family as a crucial part of the rehabilitation process. While Al-Anon and Nar-Anon have been popular for years, evidence is beginning to emerge which illustrates how involving the family in recovery can have substantial benefits. Providers like Recovery Centers of America are implementing programs to contact families upon intake, brief them on what to expect as treatment begins, and facilitate family therapy sessions within the first week of treatment.
Particularly for young addicts, the family can be a source of strength and support, or a cause of stress, trauma, and anxiety. Offering tools and resources for family members to become actively involved in the recovery of their loved ones can make a substantial difference in addiction treatment outcomes. We expect to see increasing numbers of treatment centers offer more opportunities for families and friends to get involved in the process of healing!
5) CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is becoming increasingly popular in treating mental health disorders, and it can greatly improve treatment outcomes for the addicted. Unlike traditional psychotherapy, CBT is far more focused on solutions than delving into problems. Fundamentally, it pushes the patient to challenge distorted perceptions and patterns of thought, thus changing destructive patterns of behavior. This article from “Psychology Today” gives a quick outline of how the treatment works.
In addiction treatment, advocates of CBT would argue that harmful behaviors are the result of thoughts and emotions that are neither realistic or rational. These “automatic thoughts” are generally negative in people who suffer from depression and anxiety disorders, problems commonly co-occurring with addiction. CBT can help addicts to recognize and dismiss the false beliefs and insecurities which cause irrational negative thinking. It can also help patients improve communication skills, learn to regulate their moods, and deal with substance abuse triggers. CBT has been proven to help break toxic cycles of thought and behavior, and it can be a godsend for those suffering from addiction.
A New Path to Addiction Recovery...
As you can see, our understanding of addiction has grown a lot over the past few years. As we learn to view addiction as a health problem and increase our understanding of its impact on the brain, we are becoming better equipped to treat it effectively. At Iboga Tree Healing House, we are committed to fearlessly exploring every avenue that leads to effective addiction treatment, and we’re excited about each of these trends. We are also excited about the adjunct therapies like Kundalini Yoga, equine-assisted therapy, sound therapy, breathing, bodywork, that make up a robust, holistic, and long-term recovery plan. The benefits these can all offer to those seeking relief from addiction cannot be overstated.