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Many people struggle with addiction treatment at the beginning, but with effort, action, and a little bit of faith, they soon find themselves thriving in their new environment. However, these same people soon struggle again when they leave treatment. A major cause of this is they don’t have a proper aftercare plan set in place.
Going through addiction treatment is one of the most meaningful things one may ever go through. But, it may also be one of the most challenging. So, it is important that all of that effort is rewarded with a life of long-term recovery.
Aftercare in addiction recovery can take form in many different ways. Aftercare commonly involves:
Maintaining recovery after addiction treatment may not look much different than recovery while in treatment. The primary difference is that the individual is going to be more accountable to themselves than to other people (less oversight). This can throw some people for a loop and bring about concerns for their sobriety.
Having a set aftercare recovery plan in place before one leaves addiction treatment can alleviate many of these concerns. For example, though one is accountable to themselves first and foremost, being part of an external recovery program also makes them accountable to others. It is important to remember that recovery is a We program, never a Me program, and it is the We in an aftercare plan that can make all of the difference.
For some people, their aftercare plan is already “built-in” before they even start treatment. These are people who utilize something known as the “continuum of care” or “continuing care.” Continuum of care sets people up for success by starting them at a place in recovery that best fits their needs at the moment and then adjusting their placement based on their progress. For example, if someone is doing well in residential care, then they may shift to an intensive outpatient program (IOP), and vice versa.
Continuum of care is still a relatively new concept to addiction treatment. According to the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, “In the addictions field, there is growing interest in the development and implementation of treatment protocols and systems that address the full continuum of care, from detoxification to extended recovery monitoring… This would represent a major shift, given that virtually all addiction treatment is currently provided in time-limited specialty programs that employ a single modality of therapy, usually without access to approved medications, alternative treatment approaches, or options for other support services.”
One of the most important aspects of aftercare in addiction treatment is relapse prevention. Many people don’t realize just how prevalent relapses are after treatment.
According to the clinical write-up Addiction Relapse Prevention, “One primary concern in addiction treatment is the high rate of relapses within a short period after even the most intensive treatment. Many studies have shown relapse rates of approximately 50% within the first 12 weeks after completion of intensive inpatient programs that often last 4 to 12 weeks or more and can cost tens of thousands of dollars.” These are significant statistics that also solidify the importance of a relapse prevention plan.
While an effective relapse prevention plan may look different for each individual, there are some universal characteristics of effective ones. An effective relapse prevention plan will:
Many people with substance use disorder (SUD) also have mental health issues, and vice versa. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “7.7 million adults have co-occurring mental and substance use disorders… Of the 20.3 million adults with substance use disorders, 37.9% also had mental illnesses,” and “Among the 42.1 million adults with mental illness, 18.2% also had substance use disorders.”
While these are alarming statistics, the good news is that long-term recovery is just as possible for people with a dual diagnosis as those without. But, someone with a co-occurring disorder’s aftercare may look slightly different. The primary difference is that aftercare for people with co-occurring disorders will have a greater focus on continued psychotherapy and medication management.
The ancient Greek poet Euripides wrote, “Much effort, much prosperity.” The same is true for those who wish to maintain long-term recovery.
At Painted Desert Recovery, we know that everyone’s recovery journey is different, and not all paths follow a linear line of success. The reality is that some people take a side-step and have a relapse as part of their story. That’s okay; sometimes, we must fall to learn how to get back up again. The key is getting back up.
However, long-term recovery is also possible without having a relapse as part of the story. With Painted Desert Recovery, It can all start by creating an effective aftercare recovery plan and sticking to it.
Aftercare can be essential for addiction recovery. It can improve long-term outcomes, reduce the rates of relapse, and increase one’s overall wellness. Painted Desert Recovery offers women the opportunity to attain and maintain recovery by offering quintessential aftercare options. For more information, please call Painted Desert Recovery at (844) 540-0353.