Treatment for drug addiction has come a long way over the years. What started out as a fully abstinence-based approach has evolved in numerous ways. Other popular forms of treatment include harm reduction therapy as well as medication-assisted treatment.

But are these more ”modern” approaches to recovery more successful? Or is abstinence treatment a successful model that has stood the test of time? The reality is that recovery is dependent on the individual.

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How Does Drug Abstinence Recovery Work?

Recovering from drug addiction is hard work — not just in an emotional and mental way, but physically, too. Nowadays, the approach of abstinence-based recovery may seem a little harsh. But it has proven success rates for hundreds and thousands of people looking to get their lives back on track.

The premise of complete abstinence-based recovery is to do so without any access to drugs, alcohol, and other medications that assist with the effects of drug withdrawal. In other words, it’s defined as ”complete cessation from substance abuse of any kind”.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), abstinence-based treatment is the safest approach to treating drug addiction. It’s still the most commonly used form of addiction treatment across the U.S. today.

With this approach, experts believe that the only way to prevent substance abuse is to completely avoid it. Including prescription and over-the-counter medications.

Full abstinence aims to remove all known temptations from a person’s life entirely.

The Benefits

Many experts believe that those struggling with drug addiction cannot successfully moderate their substance use, without full abstinence. This is because of certain substances, such as alcohol, lower inhibitions. This then increases the risk of relapse due to poor judgment.

So one of the main benefits of abstinence is the removal of all forms of temptation. Abstinence also ensures that those in recovery do not develop another addiction to another substance. Essentially swapping out one addiction for another.

Without access to any type of substance that can cause relapse, a person has a 100 percent fair and equal chance at making a full recovery.

What Is the History of Drug Abstinence Treatment?

When Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) was created in 1935, they developed their primary text, also known as the ”Big Book” of recovery from alcoholism. From here, alcoholism became widely accepted as a disease.

Treatment for alcoholism in the 1940s was pretty dire. You were either jailed or committed to a mental institution and considered mentally ill. But the idea of abstinence treatment gained traction, thanks to AA.

Today, most addiction centers across the United States base their abstinence approach on the Minnesota Model. In the 1950s the model was brought to life by its 10 fundamental tenants. The model was first created to treat alcoholism but can be used to treat various forms of addiction.

Just a few of the primary tenants of the Minnesota Model include:

  • Alcoholism is an involuntary disease that is diagnosable
  • It is not curable, but the disease can be treated
  • It is a chronic and progressive disease

The treatment for addiction includes physical, psychological, social, and spiritual aspects.

Alcoholism and other addictions must be treated in an environment centered on dignity and respect.

In addition to this, most court systems across America rule in favor of abstinence-based treatment for addicts who find themselves in trouble with the law. Most drug courts aim to divert those with addiction from incarceration. However, they must meet certain requirements and agree to regular drug testing.

Most courts will not permit those under supervision to attend a medication-assisted drug treatment facility. They try to emphasize the use of abstinence-based recovery in order to achieve sobriety.

Find Long Term Recovery Success With Renewal Lodge

While drug abstinence treatment may not be your first choice, it has its many benefits and has revolutionized sobriety for good reason. At the end of the day, you have to decide what’s best for your future and the type of treatment that will guarantee long-term recovery.

If you’re looking to get sober and stay that way, Renewal Lodge is your go-to. Based outside of Austin, we offer residential treatment options. Reach out to us and get your life back on track today.

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