For some people, the battle against alcohol and drug addiction is a lifelong process despite going through a rehabilitation program. Because addiction is something that develops after prolonged substance use and abuse. Its treatment takes time and how long it takes depends entirely on the individual concerned. One of the best methods of smoothing the transition from rehabilitation into recovery at home is with an aftercare program for alcohol and drug treatment.
The main thing is that people have faced and overcome many challenges during rehab. So it makes sense to continue these efforts for as long as they need once they’ve completed a treatment program.
Aftercare Program Protects Patients during the Transition Period
During inpatient or residential treatment, patients are surrounded by qualified professionals and others with addiction in a safe environment. Because of the intensive nature of residential treatment, patients are supported throughout detox and rehabilitation. And also provided the tools to assist them in sobriety. It is naturally not uncommon for people to become anxious towards the end of a program about implementing the many changes they have made within themselves in their daily lives.
However, an aftercare program extends that support when someone has left a facility. Offering flexible therapy in whatever forms are considered most appropriate for each patient case. One of the advantages of aftercare alcohol and drug treatment is its flexibility. Which allows people to continue with their daily lives while receiving the treatment they need at their discretion and convenience.
Whatever the individual’s circumstances and addiction history, there is still much work to be done after rehab. Patients often have very complex cases and some, co-occurring mental health conditions requiring specialist dual diagnosis treatment. An aftercare alcohol and drug treatment program that has been structured towards the end of rehab and after consultation between patient and therapists provides significant support to enable sustainable recovery to be achieved.
In terms of what components are included in an aftercare program; the structure depends on the treatments and therapies patients receive during rehab. The consistency of care is important, particularly as a patient’s individual needs have been taken into account when devising an overall treatment plan. Having access to services patients already recognize and accept as being beneficial to them. And it empowers them to continue in their sobriety for much longer.
Back So Soon?
Not everyone pursues an aftercare program after rehab, and research shows that relapse rates are higher for these patients. It is not always possible to determine if patients are 100% ready to return home. As they will have to deal with pre-existing challenges that could trigger a relapse. Aftercare programs provide an effective bridge between rehab and sustainable recovery by offering pro-active support to continue meeting a patient’s personal needs.
When it comes to deciding when a patient is ready to leave rehab, the following factors are taken into account:
- The age of their addiction began
- How long they used substances for
- Whether there is a concurrent mental illness (dual diagnosis)
- Societal or peer pressure
- The types of therapies and treatments they have received in rehab
- Whether they have access to sufficient support systems to progress their recovery
Research shows that the longer a person is able to sustain their recovery without using substances, the less likely they are to relapse. This fact doesn’t mean that it’s not possible to relapse five or ten years down the line. So patients leaving rehab have to accept that there is still some way for them to go.
It is now considered most accurate to refer to addiction as an illness. Particularly because once someone has shown a propensity for addiction they can go through rehab and recovery. Only to end up right back where they started – or even worse. Research into substance abuse has identified that addictive tendencies have their roots in the same parts of the brain that deal with biochemistry and cognition, irrespective of the qualities of each substance used.
Aftercare Programs for Substance Abuse Lead To Successful Recovery
Patients are much more likely to continue in sobriety if they feel they are being supported proactively in recovery. Aftercare programs for substance abuse are particularly invaluable for providing patients with real-time support to enable them to respond in healthy ways to real-life situations that might otherwise lead to relapse. According to a study published in the journal Addiction, patients receiving treatment within 30 days of detoxing were 10 times less likely to relapse than those leaving rehab before receiving further care.
One of the main reasons the transition from rehab to recovery is such a vulnerable time for someone leaving rehab is the increased risk for relapse and overdose. Many people returning home might find they are unable to avoid enabling environments or people. And they can find themselves being sucked right back into addictive behaviors.
In these situations, many forget that they have a significantly reduced tolerance to substances after rehab and use the same amounts they would have before treatment. This is when the risk of fatal overdose is at its highest, particularly for those fighting addiction to mind-altering drugs. Aftercare programs for substance abuse reduce the risk of relapse and overdose significantly by continuing the support offered in the rehab facility for as long as the patient needs.