Treatment for addiction is difficult and complex and takes place in several stages, from detox to addiction aftercare. The first stage usually takes place in a residential Rehab Center. The drug is withdrawn and the body is allowed to eliminate the toxins. Inpatient and outpatient therapies follow, to help the patient with physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms.
Addiction aftercare is the last and perhaps the most important phase of treatment, since the patient is likely to revert to their addictive behaviors unless they are supported after the main treatment. The period of addiction aftercare may last for months, years, or a lifetime, even for addictions that do not involve substances, such as gambling or pornography.
If you or a loved one are seeking treatment after rehab, call Drug Treatment Centers Fairfield at (203) 242-8257.
Any interventions or support provided after the initial period of treatment is called aftercare. It typically begins after the patient is released from the residential stage and aims to prevent relapse. Addiction has both physical and psychological components, and in many cases the dependence was a form of coping mechanism, especially in people with a dual diagnosis of a mental health disorder and addiction. Aftercare includes teaching new coping mechanisms and skills for living without the addiction, and helping the patient to recognize triggers.
The type of programs included in aftercare differ from one rehab center to the next. The most familiar are 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous, and there are similar schemes for other addictions, such as Narcotics Anonymous and Gamblers Anonymous. The recovering addict is encouraged to attend meetings for the rest of their life. AA works for some people, but others are uncomfortable with the concepts, and non-12-step support groups are available as aftercare.
Aftercare treatment may also include booster sessions at the drug rehab facility. At these sessions the recovering addict is debriefed about their experiences and reminded of or taught new skills and coping methods. The sessions aim to boost motivation to stay away from the addiction.
Aftercare counseling and group therapy sessions ideally also include family therapies to help those close to the patient understand the processes of addiction and recovery, and the signs of impending relapse. Addiction often results in stress within the family, especially if the first stage in recovery was intervention, in which family and friends organized a meeting to confront the addict with their problem. Family therapy helps everyone concerned to overcome any anger or resentment and successfully transition to a life without addiction.
The risk of a return to the addictive behaviors (relapse) is high without aftercare. According to AlcoholRehab.Com, for alcoholics the rate of relapse is as high as 50 percent, and the risk of relapse is greatest during the first 60 days after the residential program but remains high for the first five years. The figures are similar for other addictions.
One of the causes of relapse is that the person leaves the rehab facility and returns to a life in which the same triggers and temptations are present as before. They know the same people, such as drinking buddies, who may be addicted themselves or who facilitated the addiction. They probably have the same job and the same stresses as they did before they entered rehab. Aftercare seeks to provide support to help the recovering addict remain motivated and to cope without a relapse.
Many people addicted to substances or behaviors are also suffering from a mental health disorder such as depression or anxiety, and addiction aftercare programs should include therapies to tackle these associated or underlying problems. If a person was drinking, taking drugs, or gambling to cope with severe depression, for example, they are likely to relapse unless the depression is treated. Continuing to see a therapist or attend counseling is just part of the treatment process that can help manage a mental health disorder and addiction (also known as dual diagnosis).