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The Treatment Process

Rehab Aftercare

Rehab aftercare supports an individual's recovery by offering unique programs and access to social organizations that decrease the chances of relapse.

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. The primary purpose of aftercare programs, such as individual therapy and intensive outpatient programs (IOP) is to help clients gradually ease back into their daily lives without falling back into self-destructive behaviors or habits. Aftercare programs also provide clients with the ability to do extra work on themselves that may be left unfinished from their primary treatment.

Individuals may need extra support once they leave rehab and transition into the real world. A typical stay at an inpatient treatment facility spans from 30 days to 90 days. The time frame allows patients to access medication and therapies to treat substance use disorders (SUDs). However, recovery is a lifelong process, and rehab is just the first step. Years or decades of dedication, as well as ongoing treatment, are necessary.

Aftercare is a necessary step in the treatment and recovery process as it provides ongoing therapy and support to newly sober patients. These patients collaborate with their primary therapists to create individualized treatment plans and 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: Two Week Goals

During the aftercare process, the patient continues counseling and group therapy. Around two weeks after rehab, the patient is recommended to have:

  • A treatment/recovery plan with action steps
  • Supportive living situations
  • Attended a minimum of 4-5 support group meetings per week
  • An exercise regimen
  • A daily routine
  • A support system to help with accountability, emotional and social support, and relapse prevention when they’re tempted to use drugs or alcohol
  • A sponsor
  • A recovery journal
  • Weekly counseling
  • Financial goals
  • An idea of professional goals
  • Attended career counseling
  • Weekly routines
  • Begun Repairing damaged relationships
  • New hobbies
  • Motivational methods for success
  • Clarity of short and long-term goals

Choosing the Right Aftercare Program

Individuals with SUDs have several types of aftercare programs available to them. They gain exposure to aftercare programs through treatment facilities, which offer therapy and other recovery-promoting techniques. Patients can choose:

Sober Living Homes

Sober living homes are residential programs for people suffering with substance use disorders. These sober living homes create a comfortable environment for patients to feel at ease being in the “real world,” but with support and protection. Sober living homes offers former the chance to explore being in a home. A major benefit of sober living homes is the structure former patients need to remain sober. Former patients abide by sobriety and house guidelines for either a short timeframe or long term.

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Therapy Options

There are many different therapy options available for clients in aftercare programs. Counseling encourages patients’ self-discovery and growth alongside the clinical staff. The trained staff uncovers deep-seated challenges and traumas fueling addiction. Examples of therapies that can be continued in rehab aftercare include:

  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • Biofeedback therapy
  • Faith-based/spiritual therapy
  • Motivational enhancement therapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Music and art therapy
  • Recreational 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 are encouraged to transition to an aftercare program, such as an intensive outpatient program. Patients leaving inpatient rehab are encouraged to enter IOP as an aftercare program upon completion as it provides structure, accountability, and further ability to address therapeutic needs and increases the likelihood of committing to long-term recovery. 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. Support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous provide patients ongoing connection and accountability.

Help Is Available

Patients can feel optimistic knowing there are several treatment options. Whichever decision they make, treatment providers are standing by and available for guidance. They can assist former patients identifying their needs and can offer flexibility if patients are seeking a new route of healing.

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Last Updated:


Krystina Murray

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  • Krystina Murray has received a B.A. in English at Georgia State University, has over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience, and over 15 years of overall writing experience. She enjoys spreading awareness of addiction and recovery to help people transform their lives.

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Clinical Reviewer

Theresa Parisi

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  • All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by Theresa Parisi, a certified addiction professional.

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