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 loved ones.
The first step for many people that struggle with an addiction is going in to residential drug treatment. When someone is interested in residential treatment, the first step is an assessment. At this time, the intake provider will assist in making the best outline for the individual. Some people may need medically assisted detox to help ease withdrawal symptoms. Certain drugs, such as alcohol and heroin, can cause life threatening effects when stopped abruptly. After the detox period, the person will then move on to be involved in the services that the rehabilitation center offers, attending groups, meetings, counseling, and 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” an addict. The drug or alcohol abuse is but a symptom of underlying problems. Most rehabs will set up intensive outpatient care for their clients. Outpatient group usually meets three times a week, and can last for up to three months. This is an important stage in early recovery. It is also advised to continue counseling.
Maintenance of sobriety is crucial to minimize the risk of relapse. Making the commitment to attend twelve-step meetings and being involved by getting phone numbers and using them, finding a sponsor, and doing the step work is the “medicine” that most people that struggle with drug and alcohol addiction 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 drank or drugged over, and keeping close with a sober support network goes a long way in living not only a 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.