What to Expect from Relapse Prevention and Aftercare
Relapse prevention and aftercare refers to the steps that you have to take after checking out of a rehab program to ensure that you do not start using intoxicating and mind altering substances. This plan should last in the long term to ensure indefinite success in recovery.
Understanding Relapse Prevention and Aftercare
Once you have been through a primary addiction treatment program, it is advised that you create a long term relapse prevention and aftercare program. The program should be individualized based on your unique needs and preferences. Additionally, the plan that it includes should keep changing and remain flexible so that you can make alterations when and as needed.
You should also agree on your relapse prevention and aftercare plan while working with your addiction recovery team. The mutual respect and trust that you build over time with the team might help you start making better decisions about your lifestyle post-rehab.
This is because addiction recovery will not stop at the end of your rehab and treatment. Instead, you should continue with your relapse prevention and aftercare program as a form of continued recovery. This program should also follow the treatment care that you received in your chosen drug rehab program.
The Importance of Relapse Prevention and Aftercare
Research studies have reported that about 2.15 million people in the United States - about 9 percent of the entire American population - struggles with a substance use disorder. At the same time, the rates of relapse are high, and they range from 37 to 56 percent.
This goes to show the importance of relapse prevention and aftercare programs, as well as their efficacy at reducing the risk of relapse. Even so, it is sad to note about only about 50 percent of recovering addicts use these programs. Fewer still complete these programs.
In case you wish to achieve full recovery from your substance use disorder and any other co-occurring mental health and medical disorders that you have been diagnosed with, it is essential that plan ahead of time. By so doing, you could ensure that you have a proper relapse prevention plan in place to ensure that you do not start using drugs or drinking alcohol once you are done with your rehabilitation.
Essential Relapse Prevention and Aftercare Strategies
Often, relapse prevention and aftercare programming will include various aspects of recovery services that you can take advantage of after leaving a drug rehab facility. These services will expand upon all the coping strategies that you learned during your rehabilitation. They may also include, but are not always limited to:
a) Support Groups
The relapse prevention and aftercare plan might require that you continue participating in support group meetings. In particular, 12 step support group programs like NA - Narcotics Anonymous - and AA - Alcoholics Anonymous - can provide you with the encouragement, support, and motivation that you are going to need during your life post-rehab.
b) Group Counseling
Through group counseling sessions, you will get the opportunity to listen to the experiences of others - as well as share your own - with regards to addiction and recovery. This form of counseling could prove useful in helping you build new coping and social skills within the group setting.
c) Individual Therapy
Your relapse prevention and aftercare plan might also encourage you to go for individual therapy sessions after you have checked out of a rehab program. This way, you will be able to meet with experienced therapists who can help you continue building upon the program that you made during your treatment program.
d) Outpatient Treatment
In the same, you can continue living at home after you check out of an inpatient or residential treatment program but still attend treatment sessions several times every week. This could be a convenient way to ensure that you do not lose the lessons that you learned during inpatient drug rehab.
e) Sober/Transitional Living Facilities
Finally, if you have an unsupportive environment at home that could lead to a relapse, you might be encouraged to check into a sober or transitional living facility once you are done with inpatient treatment. This way, you will be provided with a home environment that is conducive to your continued sobriety.
Often, addiction treatment professionals will advise that you go through relapse prevention and aftercare for varying periods of time. The duration of your aftercare or extended care will depend on your disposition and needs after you have been through a treatment program.
It is also essential that you continue following your extended care plan to the latter, as well as change it over time as need dictates. This is because NIDA reports that the rates of relapse among recovering addicts can be as high as 60 percent.
Additionally, you might be encouraged to continue participating in a 12 step or a non-12 step support group program. Sometimes, the relapse prevention and aftercare plan might require you to go for follow-up appointments at an outpatient treatment program.
Life after Treatment
The important thing to keep in mind is that recovering from addiction is a journey that you would have to undertake for the rest of your life. As a result, you should never stop following your relapse prevention and aftercare plan.
That said, most of these plans will not require frequent contact with addiction treatment professionals. Instead, you may get the opportunity through these plans to deal with real-life situations that require your self-sufficiency, independence, and continued sobriety.
Often, making the transition from an addiction treatment program to a state of independence and self-sufficiency will require that you check into another drug rehab so that you can continue receiving monitoring services several times every week. This could potentially provide you with a strong incentive to ensure that you do not succumb to your triggers or give in to your drug cravings and using urges.
Comprehensive relapse prevention and aftercare plans will also provide monitoring so that the treatment professionals can detect recent or impending instances of relapse. This way, they would allow you to re-evaluate your post-treatment plan with the goal of promoting your health, safety, and wellness.
Overall, you should ensure that your relapse prevention and aftercare plan is highly personalized so that it meets all your unique needs, preferences, and requirements. By so doing, you could potentially reduce or eliminate your risk of relapse while ensuring that you continue changing your life away from drugs and alcohol.
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