Recovery from substance abuse doesn’t stop when one finishes their treatment program. Aftercare should be considered to ensure the patient’s period after treatment is successful. This type of treatment can help to prevent future relapses and add additional coping strategies. There are several types of aftercare programs, including outpatient treatment, group counseling, individual therapy and 12-step programs. Each treatment provides a different approach; deciding which one is best for you or a loved one depends on each’s needs and where they are upon completion of their initial treatment program.
Creating an Aftercare Treatment Plan
Typically, a drug treatment center will provide a tailor-made aftercare plan for each patient based on their needs and evaluation. In some cases, this type of treatment is mandatory, although they are just as beneficial to those who don’t require it. You can expect the following in an aftercare program:
- A strategy created to prevent relapse
- Consistent participation in addiction support in self-help groups, such as 12-step meetings
- Regularly scheduled follow-up appointments with a counselor for continued therapy
- Arrangements for a controlled living environment once treatment is completed, if necessary
- Drug testing
- Monitoring by phone, email or in person
In general, aftercare programs require much less contact with treatment personnel than their initial treatment program at an addiction recovery center. Less supervision means the patient needs to be determined to maintain their sobriety as they will be in a much less structured environment. Aftercare programs make the transition from treatment to being on their own smoother by monitoring the patient’s progress, helping them avoid trigger situations and resist the urge to use drugs again. If a patient does relapse during their aftercare plan, it can be detected more quickly and allow a re-evaluation of the individual’s treatment plan.
Types of Aftercare Plans
Each of these plans has a different approach based on each person’s specific needs, evaluation and where they’re at upon completion of their initial treatment program. The various types of programs include:
- Group counseling: This is where the patient will listen to others and share their own experiences associated with addiction. Additionally, the patient will learn and build social and coping skills.
- Individual therapy: The patient meets one-on-one with a therapist to build upon the progress made during their initial treatment.
- Outpatient treatment: The patient can live at home while they attend therapy a few times a week when it is convenient for them.
- 12-step programs: These are programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, which provide support and encouragement for the patient.
Aftercare programs can be prescribed at various lengths depending on the person’s needs. It is essential that the patient follow their aftercare plan carefully to prevent relapse. Research has found that those who have taken advantage of an aftercare service reduce their chances of relapse.
Aftercare and Environment
Rehabilitation and being involved in an aftercare program works best when the patient is in a supportive environment that continually assists them in avoiding temptation. If you have a loved one who is participating in this program, be sure that there are no temptations of drugs, alcohol or other substances within the environment. This means that any mind-altering substances, such as alcohol, should be removed from the home, using intoxicating substances in front of the patient should be avoided, and compliance with the patient’s aftercare plan should be encouraged. It’s common for these programs to involve family, group, and individual therapy to help the individual recover further and help close friends and family recover from any damage that had been done while the patient was using.
Recovery is life-long and doesn’t end once the person has graduated from their rehabilitation program. Patients should be encouraged to participate in these programs to ensure they have a long recovery and gain all the tools and skills necessary to prevent a future relapse. While an after care plan is not always mandatory, it is beneficial for anyone, whether it is required of them or not.
Learn More About Aftercare Plans
At Best Drug Rehabilitation, we understand just exactly what it takes to fully recover and heal from the downward spiral that is drug or alcohol addiction and all that is involved with it. We do our absolute best to recommend a unique approach to addiction treatment that encompasses all of the very many different aspects of the physical, emotional and spiritual issues involved in addiction. We believe that recovery doesn’t end once the treatment has been completed as recovery is a life-long process. If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction or would like to learn more about how an aftercare program can be incorporated into your treatment plan, please contact us. We can answer any questions you may have and can recommend a treatment program that is right for you.