3 Powerful Addiction Therapy Trends in 2023

Addiction therapy is a human field, and it constantly evolves like its subjects. Behavior patterns rise and fall as policy regulates them and scientific studies capture the data. The interplay between these things leads to new understandings and novel avenues for sobriety.

At GateHouse Treatment, we understand that nothing is absolute. There are always better ways to help people; as addiction research grows, we continue to grow with it.  The following trends around addiction therapy are worth keeping in mind as you continue your journey toward a healthier life.

Addiction Therapy Trend #1: Harm Reduction 

There used to be a very punishing idea around drug addiction. Don’t do it; if you do, you deserve no mercy. Nowadays, we understand this is not the way it works. Drug use happens daily, visible on the streets and sometimes in our loved ones. Relapses are also frequent, and most people on their path to recovery come close to straying or falling off the wagon entirely.

It’s no secret, even to addicts, that drugs can kill or cause serious illness. The concept of harm reduction is an addiction therapy trend that recognizes this and hopes to diminish the damage that drug use can do to an experienced addict or a first-time user. Historically, the most common harm prevention program has been free condoms to stop the spread of sexually transmitted infections or prevent unwanted pregnancies.

Needles are an excellent example of a new addiction therapy trend regarding drug use. Repeatedly using and sharing syringes can infect a user with various conditions, including HIV, hepatitis C, and other infections. But having a used needle will not stop an addict from using it.

Following the harm prevention principle, there are syringe exchanges where people can turn in the old and acquire new, sterilized syringes. The same applies to medications that either help avoid overdoses or can save someone from an overdose death. Fentanyl testing strips can be made readily available for addicts to detect the presence of fentanyl in their drugs and avoid making their subsequent use also their last day alive. Programs that distribute naloxone, the opioid overdose medication that restores breathing sold under the Narcan brand, are another popular addiction therapy trend.

This addiction therapy trend applies across the board for several categories of drugs. There are safer smoking kits, supplies for caring for wounds, lock boxes for medication, educational material on stopping drug use, and gaining access to local resources. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a branch of the federal government’s Department of Health and Human Services, run many of these programs.

Addiction Therapy Trend #2: Holistic Wellness

As our understanding of addiction has involved, a new addiction therapy trend is to focus on the addict as a person instead of a set of symptoms. Although drugs might be independently addictive, the reasons for drug use and addiction are more complicated than the interaction of chemicals in the brain. Environmental factors include a troubled family life or a group of friends who peer pressure into drug use. There are mental health factors, such as depression, PTSD, and anxiety, that can cause people to self-medicate with addictive drugs to think less about their problems.

Just plain stress caused by work or relationships also pushes people into alcoholism. On top of this, the problem of prescription opioid abuse is turning into street opioid abuse, which is explicitly a reaction to coping with physical pain. In all of the cases mentioned above, the root cause of addiction isn’t the drug itself but an underlying mental or environmental trigger. Holistic wellness is an addiction therapy trend that posits health is more than simply being off drugs.

A lot goes into attaining holistic wellness. Having a good relationship with your family, feeling supported, having hobbies and a circle of friends to do them with, getting the proper sleep, having a good diet, exercising, and more. Being sober doesn’t have to be a drag; it always feels better than being addicted when your mind and body work well.

Exercise is one of the pillars of achieving holistic wellness. Rock climbing, kayaking, cardio, or simply hiking outside have incredible mental and physical health benefits. Animal therapy is another method that reduces stress and makes people happier. These good habits restructure your day and give you purpose. Having a supportive group of sober friends also goes a long way to being understood and staying drug-free while having social fun.

Addiction Therapy Trend #3: Combinations and Individualized Treatment

Substance abuse treatment used to be very specialized and segmented. Some centers would focus on isolation in sober homes as a form of detox and not much else. Others would treat addiction clinically with medication-assisted therapy. You could be enrolled in a 12-step program and make an enduring commitment to sobriety. Still, in each of these cases, addicts seemed only to have a narrow path to recovery as other avenues for wellness were closed off.

The weakness of this approach is that there is no one-size-fits-all for drug addiction therapy. Some people don’t like talking about their problems in group sessions and would rather speak to one counselor at most. Others are medication-resistant and won’t benefit from being prescribed something as treatment.

A promising addiction therapy trend is the integration of targeted clinical therapies with homeopathic methods and novel forms of therapy. By combining psychotherapy and medication with exercise, meditation, counseling, new treatments like biofeedback training, and after-therapy resources, someone in recovery can feel fully supported and have an entire arsenal of treatments from which to choose. At the same time, therapists determine the best course of action and adjust the program depending on what produces the best outcome.

With individualized treatment, an addict feels supported when they enter recovery and have many resources to combat their addiction. Another addiction therapy trend is post-care integration, meaning after an addict leaves the critical period of early sobriety, they will have a support system, like Alumni Groups, to stay accountable.

GateHouse Treatment and Addiction Therapy

At GateHouse, we keep up to date with every addiction therapy trend to provide top-of-the-line care at every stage. We offer access to spacious sober homes, partial hospitalization programs, medicine-assisted treatment, outpatient therapy, innovative forms of therapy like biofeedback training, and integrate aftercare into your treatment. Your plan for an enduring recovery will be personalized by experts with your best interests at heart, treating you with compassion and dignity at every step.

It all starts with a phone call. Pick up the phone and dial (855) 448-3707 or reach out on our website. We are available seven days a week, 24 hours a day, and are ready to help no matter the challenges you might be facing.

GateHouse Treatment Editorial Staff
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