Minnesota Model of Addiction Treatment

Over the course of history, substance abuse and drug addiction have always been a problem. Never has this been more true than now, with addiction to opiates, and drug addiction in general at all-time highs. The last century or two have seen the discovery and production of more and more potent and addictive narcotic substances with the rise of cocaine, heroin, and many others. More modernly, we have seen many prescription drugs appear on the market and many drugs that were at first deemed “safe” were later found to be just as potent and addictive (or more so) as their illegal street drug counterparts. With more and more drugs popping up, more and more addictions are developing and the need for addiction treatment has been on the rise as well. New programs are becoming available for addicts to get the proper addiction help they need. Even more traditional methods, like the Minnesota model of addiction treatment, are becoming more and more successful.

This phenomenon led to many dangerous drugs being vastly over-prescribed in America, leading many people unknowingly into the unwholesome arms of opiate addiction. With this sweeping rise in the number of people who are suffering from drug addiction over the last century, there have been many efforts made to come up with more and more effective methods with which to help these people and treat their addiction.

One of the earliest of these drug rehab programs, and still one of the best known, and most widely used, is known as Alcoholics Anonymous or the 12 Step Program. The 12 Step Program was created in 1935 and involves users following and working on the twelve steps and improving one’s relationship with God, or a “Higher Power” to give an addict the strength and resolve to overcome their addiction.

While the 12 Step Program has helped many people overcome addiction, many other people do not feel that it works for them, and the search for more effective methods of addiction recovery treatment continued. Many methods of treatment have since been developed, and there are now many options available to those who are seeking help with substance abuse or drug addiction. One of these programs for addiction recovery that has become popular and widely available is a method known as the Minnesota model of addiction treatment.

What is the Minnesota Model of Addiction Treatment?

This Minnesota model of addiction treatment, also known as the “Abstinence Model” is an adaptation of the twelve step program. This system was founded in the 1950’s by two state mental health hospital employees. Their intention was to create a treatment method that improved and expanded the effectiveness of the twelve step program by including medical and mental health treatment from doctors who are part of the program.

The Minnesota model of addiction treatment emphasizes an individually tailored approach to each case. Each person gets their own personalized treatment program. Families of those in a Minnesota model treatment program are asked to actively participate in the rehab process. The Minnesota model has been successful enough that many other methods have also been based on it, and many have similar treatment methods.

How This Model Treats Addiction

One of the positive features of the Minnesota model is its adaptability, but there are some core components that are standard for everyone.

These core components of the system are as follows:

  • Detoxification. This is the first step in practically all addiction treatment systems. It is important to handle any of the drugs in the individual’s system and to help them through any symptoms of withdrawal that may arise. Once the immediate danger of drugs in the person’s body has passed, the treatment can continue.
  • Evaluation of the Mind. Many drug addiction scenarios are predicated on an underlying mental health issue, be it known or unknown. Mental health problems like depression, severe anxiety, and others can often be an underlying factor in drug use. Drug use can also often make such problems worse in the long run, and can also cause these and many other mental health issues. The Minnesota model seeks to find and diagnose any of these problems an individual might be experiencing so they can be addressed. Getting a handle on these underlying or concurrent problems can be very helpful in addiction treatment.
  • Group Meetings. About 80 to 90 percent of the treatment and therapy is done in a group setting. Individuals are encouraged to discuss their addiction, there triggers, ways they have found to help them cope, and give and receive feedback from and to others in the group. In this way bonds of support, camaraderie and friendship are built that often outlast the rehab itself and can often be helpful and supportive in a person’s ongoing recovery.
  • Educational Lectures. The Minnesota model of addiction treatment puts a lot of emphasis on education and educational group lectures. Lecture topics may include warnings and education about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse, methods of avoiding triggers of relapse and drug use, techniques for the management of cravings, and life skills lectures to help a person with skills they will need to reintegrate into life after rehab.
  • Referral to Appropriate Services. For those who are still in treatment, or who have already completed the program, they may need additional help with getting back on their feet or with their health. These people are referred to the appropriate people or organizations that can help them further.

Pros and Cons of the Minnesota Model of Treatment?

The Minnesota model has a lot going for it but it does have a few potential drawbacks as well. We will discuss these here.

The Pros:

  • An expanded and more inclusive form of treatment when compared with just the 12 Step Program.
  • Studies have found that those treated with the Minnesota model showed comparatively high rates of success in staying sober after completion of the program.
  • Because this method of treatment has become so popular, it is also widely available and it should be easy to find a rehab center that uses it if it seems like this method is right for you.
  • The Minnesota method has been found to be helpful in both an inpatient and an outpatient setting. Though for some forms of addiction it is strongly recommended that individuals seek inpatient care to receive the best care and support through the detox and withdrawal, it is a plus for this method that for some, outpatient care is an option.
  • The treatment of and care for problems other than addiction which may be contributing to, or caused by previous addictive behavior.
  • There may be state-funded programs based on the Minnesota model that are available at little or no cost to the individual.

The Cons:

  • While the Minnesota model of addiction treatment is fairly flexible, it is still a branch of the 12 Step Program. And while this may be great for the needs of many, for others this recovery approach may not be what they need and they may have to seek out other forms of help.
  • 12 Step Programs, in general, tend not to be empowering of individuals over their addiction, but instead tend to put the individual in a position of effect, where they are not responsible for their addiction and do not have the power to overcome it without the intervention of their “Higher Power.” This is not to discredit the success of the 12 Step Program, just to point out what may be a consideration for anyone looking at what type of rehab might be right for them.

Treatment for Addiction

If you need help, guidance on how to start a substance abuse program, or want to learn more about the different addiction treatment options available, contact New Beginnings today.

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