How Rehab Aftercare Boosts Recovery Outcomes

The objective of any kind of alcohol or drug addiction treatment is to help patients maintain sobriety during inpatient rehab. However, returning home after rehab can be more of a challenge for some patients than others, particularly if they live in chaotic or enabling environments.

This can often make patients a little anxious in the final days of a treatment program as they face the prospect of returning back to the home they have come to associate with substance abuse.

The solution to this anxious time is delivered in the form of aftercare alcohol and drug treatment, which is essentially an outpatient program that allows people to remain at home while they get the support they need in recovery. Research has shown time and again that recovery outcomes are significantly boosted when people feel supported and this is the purpose of an aftercare alcohol and drug treatment program.

Elevate Addiction Services takes the matter of transitioning from inpatient care to recovery at home very seriously. We recognize that this is a vulnerable time for people and that there are natural fears about going back home after an absence in rehab and facing the natural questions others may have about it.

The fact is that addiction treatment doesn’t stop when a person leaves the facility. Addiction is a relapsing illness that means people can potentially return to substance abuse years after attending rehab. An Elevate aftercare alcohol and drug treatment program ensures clients have full support through their recovery journey for as long as they need our support.

The Types of Aftercare

Every individual has their own needs when in rehab and the same applies in an aftercare program. However, the basic components of an aftercare program include the following:

Therapy: Therapy comes in several forms and often includes a behavioral component in aftercare. Behavioral therapy allows patients to identify the negative thoughts and feelings they experience that make them seek to use substances. The objective of behavioral therapies such as CBT or ACT is to help individuals adapt the way they think in order to change the way they behave. The principle is that everyone has triggers for substance use which can be different for everyone. One person could be going through a bitter divorce and another may have lost a parent. Some people use substances to self-medicate the symptoms of a physical or mental health condition. Others simply give in to peer-pressure at first and find themselves losing control of their urges to use.

Social support groups: When a person has attended rehab, they have generally become quite isolated from those close to them. They are also likely to have made “associations” with people also taking or dealing substances and so they are naturally a little anxious about returning home after rehab. One of the most important objectives of rehab is to rid negative external influences in the individual’s life that have relapse potential for them. Enabling people and places have to be completely rejected from a recovering addict’s life in order for them to remain substance-free, which can be challenging. This is why social support groups are an extremely important component of an aftercare program and serves to provide recovering patients with new, healthy relationships that have a common goal in maintaining sobriety. There are social groups available for all kinds of people including, 12-step, secular and gender-specific.

Treatment for co-occurring disorders: People with addiction and a co-existing mental health condition are known as dual diagnosis patients. Dual diagnosis patients are more complex to treat in that they have two separate conditions that interact with each other to effectively perpetuate the individual’s poor mental health. Accurate diagnosis is always the first step in these cases and after inpatient treatment; aftercare programs for substance abuse will continue to treat both conditions at the same time to boost recovery outcomes.

Holistic therapies: At Elevate, we have witnessed the benefits of holistic therapies in addiction treatment and as an important component of aftercare. Where conventional medicine treats the symptoms of illness, the holistic approach addresses the person as a whole, mentally, physically and spiritually. One of the most effective holistic practices used in aftercare drug treatment is mindfulness. This incorporates holistic therapies such as meditation and deep-breathing and is designed to empower patients to manage their own recovery successfully. Mindfulness teaches aftercare patients how to respond in healthy ways to difficult situations and circumstances and provides them with valuable coping mechanisms for cravings and stressors in recovery.

Does Aftercare Drug Treatment Work?

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the overall relapse rate within the first 12-24 months after leaving rehab without aftercare is 50%. Aftercare programs for substance abuse have been shown to reduce the relapse rate because it ensures patients transitioning from rehab to recovery have clinical and emotional support in the early days. The best rehab centers allow patients to heal from substance use disorder at their own pace, which includes the detox step at the start of their journey. Patients on aftercare programs for substance abuse are able to take the most effective components from residential rehab and continue with them on an outpatient basis, significantly improving the chances of a long-term recovery. 

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