What Are Therapeutic Communities?
If you are dealing with a pretty severe addiction that is accompanied by serious withdrawal symptoms and/or you have an addiction and a mental health disorder as well, you may find that outpatient rehabilitation isn’t an appropriate option. For some people, 24-hour structured and intensive care is a must.
Inpatient rehab comes in many forms, but it all attempts to help you live a drug-free life after treatment. You may feel most served in short-term residential treatment, which the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) asserts: “typically focuses on detoxification as well as providing initial intensive counseling and preparation for treatment in a community-based setting.”
Or, you might be best served by recovery housing: short term housing that can be followed up with other forms of treatment. It often helps people to figure out how to live independently from day to day without drugs or alcohol.
On the other hand, you may need to be part of a more structured therapeutic community, in which you will remain in treatment for 6 to 12 months.
If you feel like you are a candidate for inpatient rehab and you need questions answered, resources offered, or treatment located, InpatientDrugRehabCenters.com can help. We have experts available to aid you in the process of seeking out in patient care. Give us a call at 800-681-7369Who Answers? and let us help you.
What Is the History of Therapeutic Communities?
At their most basic, therapeutic communities are a popular form of residential treatment for substance use disorders.
The concept of residential solutions to drug and alcohol addiction have a long history. The National Library of Medicine identifies the start of sober living houses in the 1830s; during this time, they were primarily operated by religious organizations—like the YMCA and Salvation Army— who were part of the temperance movement (a social movement against the consumption of alcoholic beverages). In the beginning, these homes had a single person in charge and residents were obligated to follow the rules, which often included mandatory church attendance, and to obey the house manager.
Alcoholics Anonymous, founded in 1935, would also create its own 12 step homes to provide drug and alcohol-free housing options for people seeking rehabilitation.
In the 1950s, the self-help recovery movement would re-shape sober living homes to be run more democratically. According to NIDA, the first therapeutic community was founded in California in 1958; it was the Syanon residential rehab community.
Traditionally, no medications of any kind were permitted in TCs, but evolving understanding of addiction and its treatment has somewhat relaxed these rules.
Adaptations have also occurred in the populations being treated. The 1990s ushered in therapeutic communities that aimed to treat the homeless, women, adolescents, people in the justice system, and people with concurrent disorders (for example, people with severe depression and alcoholism).
How Do They Approach Recovery?
Therapeutic communities take a holistic approach (often termed a recovery orientation), aiming to treat the whole person and to develop wholescale lifestyle changes, rather than just focusing on living free of drugs and alcohol.
Because of this, the communities are more open to relapse, viewing it as an opportunity to assess and recommit to the program, instead of framing it as a failure. The NIDA clarifies: “Recovery is seen as a gradual, ongoing process of cognitive change through clinical interventions, and it is expected that it will take time for program participants to advance through the stages of treatment, setting personal objectives along the way.”
Participants are encouraged to examine their lifestyle choices and to work toward what is called “right living”—being honest, taking responsibility, working hard, and remaining willing to learn. Each stage of progress through recovery enables participants to take more personal responsibility. They should leave the community employed/in school or training and drug-free. This is about helping them to develop a healthy life and not simply a sober one.
Do They Work?
In general, research demonstrates that people in therapeutic communities show improvements in criminal behavior, substance abuse, and mental health disorders. People who enter the community with severe problems often show the most progress.
If you feel like inpatient rehab is for you and are interested in learning more about therapeutic communities and the role they could play in your life, contact InpatientDrugRehabCenters.com at 800-681-7369Who Answers? today.