Trends in Addiction Rehab: New Rehabilitation Practices

Brain scans are one of the new rehabilitation practices used in treatment facilitiesFor years, whether your specific problem led you to luxury alcoholism rehab or some other kind of residential drug rehab facility, the treatment was likely to be the same – some version of a 12-step program that was created decades ago by people who were (at best) on the fringes of the scientific and medical communities.It makes sense. Addicts in general were shunned by the medical community at-large because it wasn’t seen as a genuine medical problem. Now, however, we know differently. There is a wealth of evidence to show that doing drugs has profound and long-lasting effects on our brain chemistry, and finally, those in charge of the various national drug and alcohol programs are vocally taking this position and working hard to change the way we view addiction. (American Psychological Association)

Residential Drug Rehab Facilities are Fighting a Disease

Perhaps the biggest difference in residential drug rehab is that addiction is truly being treated like a disease, complete with scientific explanations for what’s really happening with addicts. No more do we simply say “drugs impact your brain,” we can show people specifically what that means and use it in treatment, and many alternative drug rehab facilities are doing just that. How?

Brain scans

While it’s one thing to tell those in drug rehab that it’s just the way the drugs are affecting their brains, it’s quite another to be able to actually show how the functions of the pre-frontal cortex go down and the amygdala becomes more excited when on certain drugs. By being more specific and scientific, addicts and doctors can view things more clinically and treat individual issues.


Many residential drug rehab centers now have far more than methadone at their disposal. New addiction treatment medication is being developed every day, and more and more facilities are making it a part of their plan – at least with some patients. Buprenorphine is now frequently used because it is similar to methadone but has less of a risk for overdose. Another drug, naltrexone, can be given to recovering opioid addicts because it blocks the effects of opioid drugs, making a relapse less likely. Obviously there are concerns about one addiction being replaced with another, but that’s why the use of medication will be looked at on a case-by-case basis. (National Institute on Drug Abuse)

Chronic acknowledgement

You wouldn’t look down on someone with chronic back pain or high blood pressure for having to return to their doctor multiple times to treat the problem, would you? Well, then why is it that so many of us see it as a failure when someone completes rehab only to check back in the following year? More and more, doctors are acknowledging the fact that alcohol and drug addiction is a chronic problem and that it continues to affect people in scientifically measurable ways even after they’ve gone through withdrawal and recovery. This means that ongoing treatment or multiple rounds of treatment will often be necessary for it to truly last.

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