Importance of Aftercare in Addiction Treatment

Addiction treatment is the foremost thing one can register themselves into to build a healthy, drug and alcohol-free life. Although addiction treatment brings new hopes, enthusiasm, and zeal to live a free life, its process is gruesome. Patients undergo various therapies and learn coping skills, methods to avoid relapse, and other critical behavioral patterns that help them to avoid slipping back into addictive behaviors. In support of that, addiction treatment centers provide an ideal environment for the patients to stay sober, surrounded by peers and therapy staff.

Going to a treatment center, receiving the proper treatment and returning to your old life is what a successful recovery looks like. But this is not the case. The recovery test begins when you complete your rehab program and go home. While it is easy to say no to alcohol and drugs in rehab, continuing to say no after you return to your everyday routine is somewhat challenging. 

That is why the rehab aftercare program makes a valid point. Instead of altogether leaving the rehab facility, aftercare support provides a step down from the higher levels of care. In addition, aftercare programs help provide structure after completing the formal rehab program to maintain long-term abstinence. This article will discuss the importance of aftercare support in addiction treatment programs.

What is Aftercare?

Aftercare, also referred to as continuing care, is an individualized plan for patients after completing their formal addiction treatment program. While no two aftercare plans are the same, they work towards the same goal, which includes:

  • Prevention of Relapse
  • Maintain Recovery from Substance Abuse
  • Achieve a life filled with a sense of purpose
  • Develop new, healthy behavioral patterns

Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease that may not have a cure, but there are proven ways that support a fulfilled, sober life, which requires ongoing care and management. If treatment facilities drop the patients into their everyday lives after completing the rehab program, there may be an incredible increase in relapse rates. Therefore, aftercare support services are provided to equip individuals with tools to stay clean and sober. These services also ensure that the patients do not transition alone. 

Components of the Aftercare Program

An aftercare plan may consist of various activities and resources, depending on each individual’s needs and the options that a specific treatment facility provides its alumni. 

Typical components of an aftercare plan include:

  • Be a part of sober living for a time-being
  • Transitioning to an intensive outpatient program
  • Joining individual or group therapy sessions
  • Checking in with the counselor
  • Finding a sober mentor
  • Be a part of the alumni program
  • Attending recovery meetings

Individual and group counseling sessions are of utmost importance in the aftercare program. While individual therapy allows you to address issues you didn’t work on during your stay in the facility, group therapy offers peer support so that you feel less alone transitioning.

Benefits of Aftercare Plan

Addiction treatment programs that provide individualized care and treat a person as a whole are the most significant in recovery. While there is no standard limit for traditional treatments or aftercare programs, research shows that longer counseling sessions produce more positive outcomes.

Some of the potential benefits of aftercare programs are:

  • Increases self-confidence and skills to apply in personal/professional life
  • Strategies like attending support groups. They help you connect with peers, sponsors, and other positive influences to stay more engrossed in the recovery.
  • Relapse prevention
  • Setting goals for recovery
  • Setting goals for personal life and relationships
  • Providing support to people with co-occurring disorders

Why is the Addiction Aftercare Program Important?

Half of the people who undergo addiction treatment find it difficult to stay sober after leaving the rehabilitation centres if they don’t follow the aftercare plan. Recovery requires hard work, daily mindfulness, and a high level of self-care. Aftercare plans help you stay focused on recovery and meet your short and long-term goals. Its main goal is to help patients learn the prevention of relapse. Work with your case manager to build an aftercare plan that supports your routine and needs. Also, make sure you commit to the aftercare plan throughout the journey to stay sober in the long run. 

If you don’t find your aftercare plan as effective as it should be, reach out to your case manager or the rehab aftercare so that they will make adjustments as per your needs.