What is “Aftercare,” and Do You Need It to Recover?

What is "Aftercare" and Do You Need It to Recover?

Aftercare programs help sustain recovery and prevent relapse. Recovery is a lifelong journey that requires vigilance. Inpatient, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient programs can leave you in a recovery bubble in which you don’t have to deal with life’s routine stressors. Aftercare can assist with the transition from the treatment bubble into the “real world” of long-term recovery.

The Support of Aftercare

The period right after the completion of a rehab program may make you particularly vulnerable to relapse. The feeling of elation that occurs after treatment completion is referred to as the pink cloud. The pink cloud effect can have you feeling so elated that you forget about the continuous work required to sustain sobriety. Aftercare programs can help you build a community of peers. They also promote continued emotional growth.

Aftercare, also known as continued care, has a positive effect on sustained recovery. A 2009 literature review published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment indicates that long periods of less intensive continued care are more effective than short periods of more intense continued care. Aftercare programs can give you tools and a community to lean on in times of difficulty. These resources help prevent relapses.

Goal-Driven Recovery

You should create your aftercare plan with a mental health professional during your rehabilitation treatment program. You can discuss the different types of aftercare that are available and assess what resources might best serve your post-treatment needs.

Creating your aftercare plan should be a collaborative effort that takes into consideration your background, long-term goals, and support systems. While working with your mental health professional, you can create goals for your life in recovery. They should look specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based (SMART). SMART goals can help you mitigate temptations and manage your emotional state.

Types of Aftercare

Types of aftercare can include counseling, individual therapy, group therapy, virtual therapy, brief check-ups by a mental health professional, and self-help meetings. You can also continue with complementary modalities that you might have found healing during treatment such as yoga, hiking, and meditation. Your doctor or psychiatrist may put you on maintenance medications to help your stability.

The aftercare approach you take will depend on your recovery goals and needs. You can use what you like from your current treatment plan and try to implement some treatment options that suit your post-treatment lifestyle. Let’s go over some of the aftercare options in more detail.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment requires regular visits to a treatment center or mental health clinic. It allows for more flexibility than partial hospitalization or intensive outpatient programs. This type of treatment makes it easier to participate in your everyday activities which might include full-time work or attending to family matters.

During your visits, you will usually attend individual therapy and group therapy. Though the timing can change to fit your needs, your treatment program will typically still include some sort of routine schedule. Outpatient treatment can provide you with the consistency, structure, and support needed when entering back into the outside world.

Individual Therapy

Individual therapy is a common type of aftercare that allows you to continue your emotional journey with the guidance of mental health professional. Individual therapy provides you with a person you can trust when you’re dealing with a distressing situation by building a one-on-one relationship with a mental health professional.

Your therapist will help you to understand your mental health and recovery needs. As your life changes, you might need to take a new approach to manage your mental health symptoms. Most therapists offer multiple modalities that can fit your changing needs. Plus, if you stay with a therapist over a longer period, they’ll have close personal knowledge of your past and present mental state.

Self-Help Programs

12-step, SMART Recovery, and other self-help groups can allow you to grow your support network. To accommodate the schedule of many people, various sub-groups will meet throughout the day. Even if your schedule consistently changes, you can usually find a meeting to attend in the morning, evening, or on your lunch break.

Self-help, recovery groups can provide you with accountability and consistency. Listening to other people’s stories could help you feel less alone in your addiction. Your groupmates and sponsor could also offer new life perspectives. Each meeting allows you to grow and change.

Group Counseling

Group counseling provides multiple individuals with mental health treatment at the same time. It combines professional help with the supportive aspect of a community. During these sessions, the therapist will teach new coping skills and allow everyone to discuss their progress. Attending group therapy sessions can help you grow by connecting with others and learning emotional management techniques. You can collaborate with the other people in your group to problem solve stressful situations.

Before exiting a rehabilitation program, you should create an aftercare plan with your medical team. Aftercare programs can help you maintain long-term recovery. You’ll work closely with mental health professionals to build your coping skills and addiction knowledge. Restoration Recovery Center can offer this service. We provide inpatient, partial hospitalization, outpatient, and aftercare programs to help you heal from your substance use disorder. Our mental health professionals will work with you to find beneficial trigger management techniques. We understand that everyone’s needs will look different. We welcome people from all walks of life to stay at our treatment facility. During our program, you’ll engage in various types of holistic and traditional therapy that can broaden your perspective. We want to help you find meaning in your recovery journey. If you are struggling with substance use, please call Restoration Recovery Center at (888) 290-0925. Start healing your mind and body today.

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