The History of Alcohol Rehabilitation in the United States

The History of Alcohol Rehabilitation in the United States

Evidence of alcohol use has been found throughout the world as a staple for survival, medicinal purposes, religious ceremonies, and funeral offerings for over 12,000 years, although poor health and premature death may not have been attributed to alcohol consumption for several centuries.

The first chronicles of uncontrollable urges to drink seem to appear in the 1800s under the term “dipsomania.”

“Alcoholism” was first coined in 1849 by Swedish physician Magnus Huss, but it wasn’t until the birth of Alcoholics Anonymous in 1939 that alcoholism became widely recognized among the working-class as a serious problem. Social attitudes and attempts at rehabilitation have continued to evolve, and today there are a wide variety of treatment options available for the person consumed with a desire to drink.

The Canyon utilizes several of the most effective therapies shown to offer lasting results in long-term sobriety. Founded on the belief that healing involves every aspect of an individual, The Canyon goes above and beyond the usual menu and focuses on identifying simultaneous, or co-occurring disorders that may be impacting how a client reacts to treatment models.


Treatment Models

  • Morality Model – early American school of thought that holds personal choice as the reason for alcohol abuse and continuing addiction.
  • Temperance Model – prevalent from the 1800s through 1933 when strict laws prohibiting alcohol were finally reversed, alcohol was seen as an extremely dangerous, highly addictive substance which should be avoided at all costs, otherwise the user risked complete loss of self-restraint.
  • American Disease Model – advocated by Alcoholics Anonymous since 1935 and eventually accepted by medical professionals as a condition of psychological, spiritual, and physical weaknesses that cause immense vulnerability toward drinking and renders alcoholics incapable of stopping once they start.

Causal Models

history of alcohol rehab

  • Educational Model – a person drinks alcohol because they lack information regarding the dangerous risks associated with its use
  • Characterological Model – maladaptive personality traits and abnormal means of functioning are the underlying causes of alcoholism
  • Conditioning Model – alcohol elicits a positive response (whether internally or externally) which reinforces the desire to drink
  • Biological Model- heredity and genetics are the main influence on the body’s response to alcohol
  • Social Learning Model – when one’s social environment encourages the use of alcohol as a coping mechanism and frowns upon other means of relieving stress
  • General Systems Model – alcoholism is the result of a dysfunctional family unit that thrives on secrecy, control, and emotional distancing and ensures its way of life by bringing family members together in defense of positive change or healthy growth
  • Sociocultural Model – a broad theory that combines cultural acceptance, ease of availability, and lax regulation as the foundations for society’s growing alcoholic population
  • Public Health Model – the dynamic relationship resulting between an agent (in this case, alcohol), a host (the alcoholic), and the environment that collectively contribute to continued drinking

Rehabilitation at The Canyon

Behavioral conditioning, psychotherapy, family therapy, alcohol drug addiction education are just a sampling of proven techniques utilized at The Canyon.

No matter what the cause, The Canyon offers diverse treatment options to help you understand your personal desire to drink and teaches the skills necessary to help you overcome the enormous yearning for alcohol.