Substance Abuse Aftercare Programs

When people are recovering from alcohol and drug addictions, it’s essential for friends and family to recognize recovery is a lifelong process. Completion of an addiction treatment program is only the first step, and it’s important to understand nearly half of those successfully completing a program will relapse. For many who fall back into the pattern of abuse, recovery never happens. Substance abuse aftercare programs assist with ongoing therapy and treatment to help prevent the individual from falling back into the substance abuse spiral. Relapse usually occurs within the first 60 days following treatment. A variety of aftercare programs provide the recovering individual the opportunity to find an option that meets their specific needs.


Understanding Aftercare

All interventions following an individual’s treatment program are considered aftercare. Counseling, follow-up meetings, therapy support groups, the 12-step program, and halfway houses are types of aftercare. There are many specialized programs dealing with specific issues, such as developing job skills, learning proper social behavior, and building solid coping skills. All of these aftercare programs provide essential and ongoing support. Immediate involvement in an aftercare program is critical to maintaining successes achieved in the initial addiction treatment program.

Relapse Prevention

Unfortunately, relapse is the single strongest symptom of addiction. Co-occurring mental health issues, such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, and anxiety can complicate recovery and increase the temptation to revert back to substance abuse. The primary reason for involvement in an aftercare program is to prevent a relapse into previous addictive behaviors. It’s important for each individual to learn the “triggers” that threatens to send him or her back into substance abuse.

Drug Abuse Aftercare

Post-rehabilitative treatment and support is critical to relapse prevention. The most effective solution is a smooth door-to-door transition from treatment to aftercare. In some instances a halfway house transition works best. Drug abuse may come in the form of an addiction to prescription drugs, opiates, heroin, methamphetamines, marijuana, and steroids. It is easy for the recovering drug addict to lapse temporarily if they are in high-risk situations. The acronym HALT represents the four common risk areas of hunger, anger, loneliness, and tiredness. These areas are considered triggers for lapse and probable relapse. Aftercare programs for drug addiction teach participants coping and relaxation skills, which are essential for recovery.

Alcohol Abuse Aftercare

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is best known for their 12-step program. While AA focuses on God, religion, spirituality, and the impact these principles have in changing lives, the 12 steps are sometimes altered to provide more flexible insights for a given audience. All participants must admit they are powerless over the alcohol that has controlled them and select a sponsor to be their support as they navigate through the program steps. Sponsors have already completed the 12-step program successfully.

Avoid Addiction Transfers

Statistics confirm that some people will transfer their problems to a behavioral addiction if they don’t receive the support provided in aftercare programs. The most common transfers to behavior addiction include gambling, food, pornography, video games, and shopping.

Locating Substance Abuse Aftercare Programs

As awareness of the necessity of aftercare is being recognized, more hospitals are offering programs, and your physician may want you to attend a program offered through his or her hospital affiliation. If you work for a large company, they may offer an employee assistance program with addiction counseling. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) maintains a searchable web site to assist people in finding aftercare programs in their area. Over 11,00 programs providing aftercare counseling for alcohol and drug abuse are listed in the website’s locator and covers all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, the Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Republic of Palau, and the Virgin Islands.

Aftercare is a critical element in the substance abuse recovery process and provides the critical support and training needed for success.

Now is the right time, don’t let another minute pass, call our hotline, we can help you find an aftercare program in your area.

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