By Sandy Baker
Residential drug and alcohol treatment is the foundation of care for many people ready to start on a path towards recovery. Yet, even with intense therapy in this type of positive, drug-free environment, there’s a strong need for ongoing care after treatment ends.
Face the Hard Facts Now
While addiction can be treated successfully, there is still a strong risk of relapse among those leaving inpatient treatment programs. Between 40 and 60 percent of people will relapse, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. That’s about the same percentage of people who relapse from traditional disease treatment, interestingly.
Aftercare provides an opportunity to reduce the risk of relapse. In the form of intensive outpatient treatment (IOP) or transitional living, aftercare provides an avenue for consistent access to strategies, tools, therapists, and care that can help you to stay on the path of long-term recovery.
How Important Is Aftercare?
There are many benefits to continuing drug and alcohol treatment through IOPs or transitional living programs. In many situations, these programs reduce relapse risk, improve communication skills, and provide a better quality of life for a person in recovery. They can minimize the risk of needing to return to addiction inpatient care.
Some of the key benefits to aftercare include:
Support for Life’s Challenges
One of the biggest risks for relapse comes from entering back into daily life and facing stress. When you return home after treatment, you will likely find that much has changed.
- Relationships are different.
- Expectations are different.
- You may feel like life went on without you.
- Going back to work means facing questions.
- Seeing friends and family means dealing with comments and misunderstandings.
Just stepping back into your old world is a high-risk situation. Having aftercare in place means there’s someone by your side to help you through difficult problems as they occur.
Management of a Chronic Disease
Addiction is an ongoing condition that needs routine treatment. Even those confident in their ability to abstain from drug or alcohol use may find doing so challenging over time. In some situations, it may be necessary to get more aggressive or consistent help than other times. With aftercare, there’s built-in flexibility for the level of support required.
Many times, a person will end treatment through a step-down process. That is, after they leave residential treatment, they will ease back into life by engaging in therapy via an IOP numerous times a week. Over time, as things improve and they meet their goals, their therapy sessions become less frequent. When cravings return, it may be necessary to increase treatment once again.
Assistance in Rebuilding
Leaving residential treatment means facing a world that may no longer fit well. You may need to start over. Aftercare can support your new life in various ways. For example, you can work with your therapist on creating new career goals. You can work to establish better communication skills to improve relationships. Some people might need help developing core life skills. Some also need help with transitional living, finding a place to live as they recover.
Another of the benefits of aftercare is consistent access to family therapy. Your family may wish to support you, but living with someone with addiction isn’t simple. It requires an understanding of addiction and recovery. Family therapy allows you to work with your loved ones to create a plan for managing your addiction. It also allows you to work through conflicts within the family.
Support for College Students
For college students with addiction, having aftercare in place is critical to protecting their future. You may need assistance getting back into school or getting back on track academically. Our team at the Ranch at Dove Tree offers specialized programs to enable that. In aftercare, we continue to provide you with the resources you need to stay on the right path.
What Can Aftercare Do for Your Future?
Make the commitment to get treatment for drug and alcohol addiction in Lubbock, Texas. Then, stick with us after you feel better and more confident. Our IOP and transitional living programs offer a welcoming, supportive community that helps you meet your goals and influence your health and wellness for years to come. If you have relapsed or suspect you will, reach out to us. We can help you get through those moments and develop the confidence and support network you need to stay healthy.