As addiction is an incurable disease, one that can only be managed, it is almost obvious that recovery needs to be a life-long commitment. One cannot use and abuse drugs and alcohol for years at a time, and expect 30 days in a rehab facility to truly be enough to achieve lasting sobriety. Thus, attending aftercare once inpatient treatment is complete, will give the addict or alcohol the best chance toward ongoing recovery.
A new study, which was recently published in the Open Journal of Psychiatry, reveals not so surprising results. After studying drug and alcohol patients over a period of time, they found that those who completed longer-term treatment had dramatically higher success rates. For instance, those who attended a 30-day inpatient facility had roughly a 54% success rate, whereas those that were in treatment for more than 30 days had a success rate of 84.2%. The study captured both men and women, with a mean average age of 30, all with a variety of different chemical dependencies, including alcohol, opioids, and benzodiazepines.
What Is Aftercare?
Aftercare, continued care plan, extended care, etc. are really all one in the same. Simply put, aftercare is drug and alcohol treatment of some kind for an extended period of time. It can vary depending on levels of care, length of time, therapeutic models and practices, and so on. To help you better understand, here are some of the different options for aftercare and what you could expect from them.
Outpatient drug and alcohol therapy is an extended care option in which many patients experience at one point during their recovery process. While in outpatient, the individual participates in a variety of different groups and individual sessions, but is able to live at home during this time. While addiction treatment is not one-size-fits-all, the length of time and amount of group sessions may vary from person to person. Some patients will spend 90 days in outpatient therapy, whereas some may stay as long as 6 months to a year.
Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)
PHP is sometimes referred to as the “Florida Model” of treatment, because this model is used quite often in that state. A Partial Hospitalization Program is a combination of both residential and drug therapy. The patient will participate in therapeutic groups during the day and attend outside activities and 12-step meetings at night. Rather than living in a “hospital setting,” patients reside in a home with other recovering individuals. During this time, staff are present around the clock.
While in a halfway house, a patient will live in a home with other recovering people, while attending groups, meetings, and individual sessions with a counselor. One of the biggest differences between a halfway house and a PHP is that the patients attend all of their therapeutic groups in the home, whereas in PHP, patients are transported to an outside facility for their clinical needs. Counselors come into the home, where they each have offices, and other staff are present around the clock. Typically, patients are encouraged to find employment during this time and are educated on other life skills, such as cooking and budgeting money.
Sober houses are a lower level of care compared to a PHP or Halfway House. Although the residents live in a home with their recovering peers, there are less restrictions in this environment. The main difference between a sober house and a halfway house is the clinical aspect to treatment. Counselors are not present during this phase of treatment. Many times, addicts and alcoholics will couple this form of aftercare with outpatient therapy, so they can still receive the clinical care that they need. During this time, addicts must be working, attending school, or doing volunteer work. Furthermore, they must be actively engaged in a 12-step program, working steps with their sponsors, and attending meetings. These types of homes are typically owned and operated by other recovering individuals.
Long Term Treatment
Long term treatment is the longest and most restrictive form of aftercare. Long term care is very similar to a 28-day inpatient rehab, in the sense that treatment occurs only in that facility, with staff supervision 24 hours a day. Rather than living in a home and having the ability to work, patients are restricted to said facility for an extended period of time. These programs vary in length of time, but can include, three, six, and nine months, as well as one year or longer.
These are just a few examples and brief descriptions of the various aftercare options in which you or a loved one have the opportunity to experience. The important thing to remember is, no matter which option is best for you, aftercare is crucial to achieving lasting sobriety.
Why Is Aftercare Important?
The study in and of itself should speak to why aftercare is so very important in the recovery process. 28 days in an inpatient facility is simply not enough to “fix” addiction or to “cure” it. Addictive diseases can only be managed through a person’s lifetime. While a person may be sober for 10 or 20 years, they will always be an addict. Without the necessary recovery tools and support systems in place, they will almost always suffer once more.
Furthermore, addiction is progressive. It takes several months, years, and even sometimes, decades for an individual to reach their bottom. Thus, expecting a month away in treatment to be the answer is foolish. Many times, patients only begin to scratch the surface of their underlying issues during rehab. It often takes several months of working with a drug and alcohol professional, as well as working the steps with a sponsor to really begin to turn the corner. Recovery is a life-long commitment. Aftercare is really only the beginning.
The other benefits to aftercare include skills in which patients can acquire that they may not have had the opportunity to learn somewhere else. For instance, many addicts struggle with basic life skills, such as learning to budget money, completing a resume, caring for their children, cooking for themselves, and so on. These are all things that they are taught while in an aftercare program.
Contact Clearbrook Today
At Clearbrook, we believe strongly in providing care that will give our patients the most potential to achieve lasting sobriety. Thus, for over 40 years, we have developed lasting relationships with other treatment providers as to offer our patients the best possible care available.
If you or someone you love is struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction, please know that help is available. Clearbrook Treatment Centers has been treating chemical dependency for several decades and we would love to offer you the opportunity to recover as well. Please call our Admissions Specialists today.