The social model of recovery from addiction has become one of the most prevalent forms of treatment used in a modern rehab center today. The social model focuses heavily on people helping people through their recovery and rehabilitation from some form of substance abuse. These social principles were rooted in the foundations of Alcoholic’s Anonymous (AA) and other social programs focused on curing alcoholism or drug abuse. The social model to recovery is beneficial, because it can help build self-esteem, confidence and other key skills for a person trying to live a life of sobriety. People learn from others, so why should addiction treatment be any different?
New health care technology has allowed us to examine the patterns in the brain in real-time. Neurochemistry has helped us examine principles related to various treatment techniques for substance abuse. These recent advancements have helped us understand the innate nature of addiction and its effects on the biology of the human brain. Science can now help us understand a complex combination of biological and psychosocial reinforcement mechanisms that all contribute to a substance abuse problem. With this depth of knowledge, we can find statistically effective techniques to treat addiction and other mental health issues.
Humans have evolved as a social creature. Starting at a very young age, we are inherently tied to our social atmosphere. Our social structure has an inherent system of rewards and punishments. A complex substance abuse problem can rewire these reward signals in the brain, thus throwing our evolutionary instincts out of balance. The information we have gathered in the scientific and medical community compels us to dig deeper into the understanding of addiction treatment programs and their potential effectiveness.
When we look at the reward circuits in the brain, we are able to see rehab from beyond the medical model of “it is a disease” or the psychological model of “it is a bad habit”. Having our patients understand the biological causes of addiction can relieve a lot of guilt for the addict, while it also allows the patient to train their rational mind to think beyond their addiction. Performing this exercise in a social setting can help foster permanent behavioral modification that will make sobriety last a lifetime.
Using this mental technique in a social setting is a great tool for many recovering addicts. Having a support network of peers, coupled with trained professionals can help guide the treatment for alcoholism or drug abuse towards a successful goal of sobriety. Having a community based treatment program helps people view their progress as a lifelong learning process based on permanent changes in various aspects of life.
Drug and alcohol treatment programs that use a social model will teach the patient how to change their attitudes, beliefs, values, habits, routines and behaviors in conjunction with the principles of sober living. These skills are essential to provide confidence as the patient prepares to reintegrate into the outside world after their time at an inpatient rehab facility. A social model to recovery is best suited to prepare patients on what to expect once they begin to encounter the triggers and stresses of day to day life, without relying on drugs or alcohol to cope.
Long term success is greatly increased through spending time with other individuals who are also recovering. Since we are social animals, group therapy sessions are quite beneficial as they offer a therapeutic, homelike community setting as opposed to a cold, institutionalized hospital setting. Healing as a community helps us rewire our brains in a way that one on one treatment cannot quite accomplish on its own.
When a chemical dependency has shaped a portion of an addict’s life, it is important for them to seek ongoing outpatient treatment services. Regular attendance to group therapy sessions or meetings within a 12-step program are strongly encouraged. These sessions serve not only to hold the individual accountable for their recovery, but will also instill much needed confidence and self-esteem as they see others who can succeed. These social activities will help them grow into their newfound sobriety by reinforcing a drug-free lifestyle. Attending social gatherings with other addicts who are in recovery can enhance the patient’s ongoing efforts to maintain their recovery.
At More Than Rehab, we employ a combination of treatment tools that are integrated into your life as we focus on healing the whole person. We all help empower each other as you experience one of the greatest struggles in your life. As a community we stand stronger, together.