The Importance of Aftercare Following Addiction Treatment



When someone has been through a rehabilitation journey after a while of being addicted to substances, they still have some challenges to face in their daily lives. It is not uncommon for them to continue receiving care that’s usually delivered in aftercare programs for substance abuse.

Substance abuse aftercare provides vital support to recovering addicts as they return to the world they associate with substance abuse. Many people have to make profound changes to their lifestyles in terms of who they mix with and where they go, so as to avoid falling back into addictive behaviors.

Naturally, recovery is as individual an experience as addiction itself and some people may be welcomed back into the family with full support behind their recovery. However, others may have had to leave significant relationships in the past to enable them to continue to heal in the future and aftercare programs for substance abuse can be of considerable help to them.

Substance Abuse Aftercare Should Be Delivered With Compassion and Understanding

Someone who has suffered from substance abuse disorder and made significant strides in rehab towards successful recovery is likely to be initially very motivated to maintain abstinence. However, as time passes it is not unusual for feelings of depression to creep back into their minds that maybe the result of continued cravings.

Although they will have made often very profound changes in their mindset and outlook on life, patients may be disappointed that their environment hasn’t changed at all when they return home. The desire to overhaul every aspect of an individual’s life can be very overwhelming, particularly for someone who is recovering from severe addiction illness.

Rehab will have gone a long way to address many of the fears and concerns people will have about returning home after treatment, but substance abuse aftercare continues that support for more effective results. One of the most valuable aspects of aftercare programs for substance abuse is that patients are able to get real-time support in real-life situations they are struggling to cope with. This teaches them how to practically apply the coping skills they’ve learned in rehab which eventually they can utilize without assistance.

What Is Involved in Substance Abuse Aftercare?

The addiction treatment process begins with the intense experience of detox which is then followed by sometimes challenging rehabilitation. The objective of both detox and rehab is to prepare people for substance-free lives. In the same way, addiction illness grows in intensity as it develops, reliance on treatment slowly falls away over time.

However, everyone has a different experience of addiction and its treatment path and consequently, there’s no one solution for all patients in rehab. Everyone has to take the time they need to heal which can be anything from a matter of months through to several years. The degree of support they need throughout this journey will vary from person-to-person. Aftercare programs for substance abuse are the most flexible element of addiction treatment in that it continues to provide support through therapy sessions arranged at the individual’s convenience.

At the beginning of treatment, patients have to commit themselves completely to a program even if it means dropping everything else in their lives while they are rehabilitated from the illness. After rehab has been completed and they are ready to resume their lives “as normal”, people often need extra support to help them through the transition. There is much less of a time commitment involved with substance abuse aftercare which assists patients in navigating their recovery successfully for the long term.

In terms of the treatments and therapies used in aftercare programs, many of the same services that are available in residential rehab are made available on an outpatient basis. Continued use of holistic therapies, cognitive behavioral therapy, and individual and group sessions are combined in an aftercare program to provide comprehensive support.

How Can Aftercare Improve Recovery Outcomes?

Patients learn many new skills and techniques in holistic rehab that are invaluable for when they return home. However, an individual’s treatment needs are not static and can change as they learn how to adapt to life in recovery. Aftercare provides a responsive therapy service so that individuals are able to reach out for support whenever they need it. Having this peace of mind that there is someone who understands them and who is qualified and able to help should they find themselves in a situation they can’t cope with is invaluable.

Substance abuse aftercare can also provide support and assistance to families and loved ones of people in recovery from addiction illness. In many cases, close personal bonds have been shattered by the addiction of the sufferer. For that reason, loved ones of an addict are often as in need of counseling and therapy as they are. Family therapy is a strong component of most aftercare programs in recognition of the just how damaging the illness can be to everyone involved.