History of Addiction Treatment & Drug Rehab

The history of addiction treatment and drug rehab shows the approach to addiction recovery has come a long way. Over time, the understanding of addiction as a disease has grown, leading to the development of evidence-based approaches. As the years went by, it became a lot easier to help people overcome addiction. Today, there are plenty of available resources available for those who are in need of proper care. Modern rehab facilities – like Harmony Ridge Recovery Center WV – implement various advanced methods. So, besides pharmacotherapy, patients receive psychological support, as well as aftercare.

Addiction treatment and drug rehab throughout the history

Some of the earliest forms of addiction treatment can be traced back to ancient civilizations such as Greece, Rome, and Egypt. In these cultures, people who suffered from addiction were often treated through religious rituals and practices. For example, in ancient Greece, the god of wine and parties, Dionysus, was thought to possess people and make them heavily addicted to alcohol. As a result, people who suffered from alcohol addiction would participate in religious rituals and purification ceremonies.

ruins of ancient Athens
The history of addiction treatment and drug rehab dates back to ancient Greece.

When it comes to medieval times, addiction was seen as a moral problem. Individuals who suffered from it were often punished or shamed. The first hospital specifically designed for the treatment of addiction was established in Europe in the 13th century. –  the Hospice of St. Mary of Bethlehem. The doctors at the facility used a combination of physical and spiritual treatments to help people overcome their addictions. This included the use of isolation, fasting, and prayer.

A revolutionary approach to addiction recovery in the 19th century

The first rehabilitation therapy was invented by a man named Benjamin Rush. He believed that addiction was a disease and suggested ethical treatment to cure it. This included social and psychological support, rather than punishment and imprisonment. The 19th century was the time when the concept of addiction as a medical condition began to take shape. Physicians started using treatments such as opium and other medications to help people overcome their addictions. However, these treatments often led to further addiction and dependence due to the usage of highly addictive medications. The late 19th brought the first modern addiction treatment centers. These centers used various forms of therapy such as:

  • group therapy
  • individual counseling
  • various rehabilitation programs

Rise of modern addiction therapy approach

By the mid-1930s, the medical community began to recognize the role of physical and psychological factors in addiction. This further led to the development of more compassionate and evidence-based treatment approaches. One of the first of these was the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) program, which was established in 1935 and remains one of the most well-known and widely used addiction treatment programs today. In the 1960s, the field of addiction treatment further improved with the advancement of pharmacotherapy.

stethoscope, heart shaped chocolates and protective mask representing the history of addiction treatment and drug rehab
The history of addiction treatment and drug rehab shows us the impact innovations, social, and cultural factors have on the approach to addiction recovery

It’s important to note that the growing recognition of addiction as a medical condition led to the development of medical drug detox in the early 20th century. The first medical drug detox program was established in the 1930s and was focused on providing a safe and controlled environment for individuals to detox from drugs and alcohol.

Addiction treatment and drug rehab in the late 20th century

In the late 20th century, the field of addiction treatment underwent major innovations, developments, and improvements. The growing recognition of addiction as a chronic disease led to a shift towards more individualized treatment programs. This also marked a turning point in the history of addiction treatment. The experts abandoned the one-size-fits-all method and embraced a multi-faceted approach.

One of the most significant developments in the late 20th century was the introduction of the medication-assisted treatment (MAT) programs we know today. These programs used medications such as methadone to manage withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings. The continuous improvement of the medical detox process helped individuals to maintain long-term sobriety. It’s safe to say that MAT programs are major breakthroughs in the history of addiction treatment and drug rehab.

The emergence of psychotherapy for addiction

The introduction of behavioral and psychotherapy techniques revolutionized the approach to addiction treatment. This led to the development of new treatment approaches and techniques:

This helped professionals to address the psychological and emotional aspects of addiction. Also, they began to emphasize the biological and social factors and explore the ways they contribute to addiction.

therapist listening carefully to her patient
The introduction of psychotherapy for addiction revolutionized the approach to addiction treatment.

The introduction of Dual Diagnosis for addiction treatment

Dual Diagnosis refers to the simultaneous presence of both a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder. This approach to addiction treatment began to gain popularity during the 1990s. Addiction experts recognized the high rate of correlation between substance use disorders and mental health disorders. According to studies, approximately 50% of individuals with a substance use disorder also have a mental health disorder, and vice versa. This highlights the need for a multi-faceted approach to addiction treatment that addresses both the substance use disorder and the underlying mental health conditions.

Statistics on the effectiveness of dual diagnosis for addiction treatment are promising. Individuals who receive dual diagnosis treatment have better outcomes compared to those who receive treatment for only one of the disorders. Individuals who receive dual diagnosis treatment have a significantly lower rate of substance use and better overall functioning. This is why modern treatment centers tackle both problems at the same time, using customized recovery plans.  Another study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry found that individuals with a dual diagnosis who received integrated treatment had a significantly lower risk of substance use relapse.

The late 20th century also brought special insurance plans for rehabs

In the late 1970s and 1980s, there was a growing recognition of the importance of addressing addiction as a public health issue. This led to a number of policy changes, including the passage of the Mental Health Parity Act in 1996. It required insurance companies to provide the same coverage for mental health and substance use disorders as they did for other medical conditions. Prior to the availability of insurance coverage, people didn’t have much access to quality addiction treatment. Therefore, it was almost impossible for many people to receive proper care. Untreated addictions led to increased healthcare costs due to related physical and mental health problems.

Scrabble letters spelling out health insurance representing the history of addiction treatment and drug rehab
Insurance plans for addiction treatments allowed many to get much-needed help.

Insurance companies began to offer insurance plans that covered addiction treatment. This has had a profound impact on the field of addiction treatment, as more individuals are now able to receive the help they need. However, there is still work to be done in terms of increasing insurance coverage for addiction treatment. Many insurance plans still have limitations on the types of treatment they cover.

Look for a rehab center that keeps up with innovations

Modern rehab centers play a critical role in helping individuals overcome addiction and achieve lasting sobriety. It’s essential that rehab centers keep up with innovations in addiction recovery treatments. By doing so, they can provide the most effective and evidence-based care for individuals who struggle with addiction. This contributes to the overall improvement of the field of addiction treatment. Keeping up with innovations in addiction recovery treatments requires a commitment to continuous learning and a willingness to embrace new and effective approaches. This further leads to better outcomes for individuals seeking help for addiction and a more effective and efficient system of care overall. Staying current with innovations in addiction recovery treatments is crucial for rehab centers to provide the best possible care for individuals in need.

At Harmony Ridge Recovery, we make sure to uphold the highest standards in addiction treatments. Therefore, we put all our efforts into helping our patients put addiction into the past. As the drug rehab center Athens OH locals speak highly of, we ensure a safe and supportive environment. Don’t hesitate to contact us whether your loved one or yourself is in need of professional care.

You can opt for inpatient and/or outpatient rehab

Our rehab facility belongs offers some of the best drug and alcohol rehab Cambridge OH programs. If you prefer to live in a facility and receive a 24h ongoing care, you can start an inpatient rehab program at our center. On the other hand, outpatient rehab doesn’t require you to live in a facility and allows you to manage work, school, and rehab appointments.

unrecognizable woman writing on a paper
Nowadays, rehab centers emphasize individualized addiction recovery plans.

Our rehab programs include a much-needed psychotherapy

We are also a rehab facility staffed with expert addiction therapists. Through behavioral therapies, we tackle the psychological causes of addiction:

  • We use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to uncover, address, and overcome deeply rooted motives that propel addictive behavior. No matter if you are undergoing alcohol or cocaine addiction rehab, this method plays an important role.
  • In addition, we use Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), similar to CBT. Patients who are prone to extreme behaviors and hold polarized views can benefit from this therapy. It teaches them how to establish and maintain balance in all aspects of their lives.
  • In cases of the presence of co-existing mental health disorders, we apply dual diagnosis therapy for addiction.

Medical detox is mandatory

Keep in mind that every treatment (benzo addiction treatment, heroin rehab, etc.) begins with a mandatory medical detox. Once you complete it, you may proceed to the further stage of your treatment. Rest assured that our medical staff will remain at your disposal from the beginning until the completion of the detox treatment. In case possible side effects occur, they are available to provide guidance or adjust the detox to ease the discomfort.

We accept several insurance plans

If you seek a drug rehab that accepts Tricare and various other insurance plans, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our staff is there to give you all the information you require. We won’t hesitate to help you find the insurance plan you, or your loved one, qualify for. In addition, we offer help with the application process.

We invite you to verify whether we accept your chosen insurance plan before you apply for it. In case we don’t, rest assured our representatives will be glad to give you guidance on alternative plans that can cover the majority or almost 100% of your rehab expenses.

Outdoor activities to support your addiction recovery journey

If you are in search of alcohol rehab New Lexington OH locals find convenient and professional, look no further than Harmony Ridge Recovery Center in WV. In addition to the rehab program, we provide our patients with options for outdoor recreational activities. We firmly believe in a holistic approach to addiction recovery that includes an activity. Many of our patients have adopted kayaking, rock climbing, and hiking as hobbies that contribute to their newly discovered lifestyle.

a group of friends hiking in the woods and higging each other while looking at a view and talking about the history of addiction treatment and drug rehab
At Harmony Ridge Recovery Center WV, we recommend hiking tours!


The history of addiction treatment and drug rehab is important to understand for several reasons. It provides valuable insights into the evolution of addiction and the treatments that have been developed over time. This understanding can help professionals, policymakers, and the public learn about the complex nature of addiction and the need for a multi-faceted approach to treatment. It also provides lessons about what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to addiction treatment. Also, the history shows us how the social and cultural context that shaped our approach to addiction can reduce the stigma around addictions. This, in turn, can contribute to the further development of addiction treatments and make the treatments even more accessible to a wider public.


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