Having an understanding of the continuum of care in addiction treatment is beneficial for both the person addicted to drugs and/or alcohol and for their loved ones.
The first step for many people who struggle with an addiction is going in to residential treatment. Residential treatment begins with an assessment. The treatment team will talk with the client to determine an individualized treatment plan. Some people may need medically assisted detox to help ease withdrawal symptoms. After the detox period, the person will then become more involved in the treatment process; they will likely attend groups, meet with a counselor, and engage in different types of therapy.
Having a transition plan is the next step and of utmost importance when leaving a residential facility. Going to rehab for 30 or 60 days does not “cure” addiction. The drug or alcohol abuse is but a symptom of underlying problems. Most rehabs will set up intensive outpatient (IOP) care for their clients. Outpatient groups usually meet three times a week for up to three months. Living and working at home while also attending intensive therapy in the mornings or evenings helps the client stay on track in recovery.
Maintenance of sobriety through meetings and/or therapy is crucial to minimize the risk of relapse. Making the commitment to attend twelve-step meetings and be involved in the recovery community is the “medicine” that most people need. Going to meetings while still going to IOP is a good idea because when IOP ends, it is vital to have built a sober network so that you are not left feeling alone.
Preventing relapse is a lifelong effort that many people new in recovery may not realize. Just because someone has gone to rehab does not mean that they are “better.” As a matter of fact, the longer one stays clean and sober, the more the fog clears, and the more likely that emotional baggage will creep up because it has been buried for so long. Having the tools to deal with life issues that one once avoided with substance use, and keeping close with a sober support network goes a long way in living not only a physically clean life, but an emotionally sober one. The continuum of care for those in recovery is a life-long event, one day at a time.