What Is Rehab Aftercare?
Rehab aftercare connects the patient with local groups and programs to reduce the rate of relapse. Although relapses are common for former patients, they can be prevented and minimized with proper aftercare.
Individuals may need extra support once they leave rehab and transition into the real world. A typical stay at a rehab facility spans from 30 days to 90 days. The timeframe allows patients to access the best medication and complimentary therapies (like meditation and massage therapy) to heal substance abuse disorders. However, recovery is a lifelong process, and rehab is just the first step. Years, and often decades, of dedication, as well as ongoing treatment, are necessary.
Aftercare is a necessary step of the treatment process as it provides ongoing therapy and customized treatment plans. Patients use the plans they have created to remain engaged in their recovery. Patient-drafted goals can help those in recovery feel motivated to maintain goals, social support, and routines through the duration of aftercare programs. Rehab aftercare programs also provide patients with healthy routines and positive coping strategies to avoid relapsing.
Rehab Aftercare Treatment Timetable
During the aftercare process, the patient can prepare prepares to continue counseling and group therapy. Around 30 days after rehab, the patient should have:
- A recovery plan with action steps
- Supportive living situations
- Attended a minimum of 2 support group meetings
- An exercise regimen
- A daily routine
- A support system to help when they’re tempted to use drugs or alcohol
Patients who have been out of rehab for 30 to 90 days should have:
- An idea of professional goals
- Attended career counseling
- A recovery journal
- Weekly routines
- Weekly counseling
- Regularly attended support groups
Between 90 and 365 days, patients after rehab should have:
- Repaired damaged relationships
- Financial goals
- New hobbies
- Motivational methods for success
- Helped others in recovery
- Clarity of short and long-term goals
Choosing the Right Aftercare Program
Individuals with substance abuse disorders have several types of aftercare programs available to them. They gain exposure to aftercare programs through facilities, which offer therapy and medical checkups. Patients can choose:
- Sober living homes
- 12-Step groups
- Intensive outpatient therapy
Sober Living Homes
Sober living homes are residential programs for people suffering with substance abuse. These sober living homes (also called halfway houses) create a comfortable environment for patients to feel at ease being in the “real world,” but with support and protection. Patients who spend 30-90 days in a facility may become used to facility living; sober living homes offers them the chance to explore being in a home. A major benefit of sober living homes is the structure ex-patients need to remain sober. Ex-patients abide by sobriety and house guidelines for either a short timeframe or long term.
Many different therapy options are available for patients’ recovery. Counseling encourages patients’ self-discovery and growth with clinical staff. The trained staff uncovers deep-seated challenges and traumas fueling addiction. Examples of therapies that can be continued in rehab aftercare include:
- Dialectic behavior therapy
- Biofeedback therapy
- Faith-based/spiritual therapy
- Motivational enhancement therapy
While someone is in rehab, accessing therapy on a regular basis can enhance one’s attitudes toward sobriety. Once the patient graduates rehab, they may not have as much access to therapy. Once the patient realizes a therapy need, they can still access therapy and access social groups through aftercare programs and intensive outpatient programs.
Intensive Outpatient Programs
Patients leaving rehab can opt for intensive outpatient programs with aftercare programs at the forefront of their decision-making process. Ex-patients who realize they must balance personal commitment with treatment can opt for an intensive outpatient program, or IOP. IOP can either be residential or non-residential, and allows patients the opportunity to continue to receive treatment and support while re-entering the real world.
IOP works very well for patients battling an addiction who need to remain present with their life outside of their addiction. Patients can still access treatment medications and group therapy. Support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous provide patients on-going connection and accountability.
Individuals can choose to attend day programs, (meeting 5 to 7 days a week for a few hours) in order to continue exploring their addiction and promoting their recovery. Continued care is another option with weekly therapist-led meetings for commitment to a life of recovery.
Help Is Available
Patients can feel optimistic knowing they have several treatment options. Whichever decision they make, treatment experts are standing by and available for guidance. They can assist former patients in knowing their needs and can offer flexibility if patients are seeking a new route of healing.
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