The History of Addiction Treatment Centers
Prior to 1948 there were no addiction treatment centers. That’s mainly because addiction was considered a moral failing, not a medical condition.
There was no form of “treatment” and those who were afflicted either helplessly continued to suffer, or were put into sanitariums where they were removed from society and the possibility of acquiring alcohol or drugs, but not treated. There was no real understanding of what addiction was and how it affected the body and the brain.
In 1936, of course, Alcoholics Anonymous was founded, which provided meetings for its members to support each other. This was not treatment, and shouldn’t be confused with treatment, it was a support group model.
Residential Addiction Treatment Centers
In 1948, Hazelden opened the first of what would become many addiction treatment centers in Minnesota. However, it is actually an error to call this first Hazelden location a “treatment” center. The property was meant to house men who wanted to get sober and stay that way by going to AA meetings. It was more of what we would call a “sober living home” today.
Since then other properties also sprang up to do essentially the same thing, house people trying to get clean and sober while they attended AA meetings. Again, technically, there was no treatment. But this is also why, today, there are still 12-step based treatment centers, although they normally now do include other therapies.
In the 80s dual diagnosis treatment became the new standard as it was theorized that in many cases there were extenuating circumstances or other issues of which the addiction could be a symptom.
The Best Treatment Centers for Addiction
Since the 80s treatment centers for addiction have become much more sophisticated in how they treat the various types of addictions and you have some centers that focus on specific addictions. For example, sex addiction, or gambling addiction, as opposed to substance addiction.
There are also “process” addiction centers, and eating disorder treatment centers, centers for self-mutilation and technology addiction. There are even treatment centers for people who like to shoplift. They’re addicted to the “high” of stealing.
The best treatment center for you or your loved one is one that is specific to the type of addiction or mental health issue you’re dealing with. Then, of course, you’ll need to compare programs between several to find one that works for you, whether it’s a 12-stop based program, or non-12 step, a program featuring more science based treatment or other therapies like equine therapy, art therapy, etc. Some feature more group therapy than others, some have more one-on-one talk therapy. Some offer dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), or Somatic Experiencing™, etc.
You would be well served to talk too experts in the field to get advice on what would best fit your circumstances.