Continuing care is a very important aspect of the recovery process. While some people may not require an intensive form of continuing care, for others, it may play a key role in achieving lasting healing from substance use. Continuing care will look different for everyone, as every person and every journey with substance use is different. However, the goal behind continuing care is to show patients that they will not be left on their own once they complete a treatment program. Continuing care reminds them that they will still have a support system to help them navigate sobriety in everyday life.
Continuing care for substance use disorder (SUD) is just as important as the treatment itself. If there is no plan in place to help the patient transition back into their new “normal,” they are more likely to fall back into their unhealthy behaviors. However, patients are more likely to heal healthily if a plan for continuing care is established from the beginning of treatment. This does not mean that people who go through quality treatment do not need help afterward. On the contrary, statistics show that the more support someone has, the more likely they are to continue healing healthily.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) explains that several factors can influence how effective continuing care can be:
The important functions of continuing care in the recovery process involve maintaining abstinence/initial treatment gains; addressing relapse/non-response, including limiting the severity of relapses; connecting patients to other sources of support; and addressing other recovery issues, including employment, recreation, housing, and involvement in meaningful and/or enjoyable activities.
While continuing care can be effective for some, it is not a guarantee for a successful recovery. Additionally, results will vary based on the patient’s individual needs. Just as no specific treatment is a cure-all for SUD, continuing care will not and should not look the same for everyone. Continuing care may include regular check-ups with mental health professionals, primary care physicians, as well as addiction counselors. Some may require more intensive continuing care for different seasons of their life, while others may not. The frequency and type of continuing care will be dependent upon the patient’s individual needs.
The NIAAA explains that, typically, the amount of continuing care needed will depend on the severity of the patient’s addiction. “Moreover, patients at higher risk for relapse—by virtue of continued substance use in the first phase of care, or poor social support or low motivation early in treatment—may benefit to a greater degree from continuing care than those patients with a better prognosis.”
It is important to remember that relapse does not equal failure. Since addiction is seen as a chronic disease, it is difficult to treat. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) verifies, “Treatment of chronic diseases involves changing deeply rooted behaviors, and relapse doesn’t mean treatment has failed. When a person recovering from an addiction relapses, it indicates that the person needs to speak with their doctor to resume treatment, modify it, or try another treatment.”
Just because relapse may be part of the recovery process for some, doesn’t mean it should be dismissed. Relapse of any kind can quickly become very dangerous and should be treated with care. It is imperative that if you or someone you know is relapsing or in danger, emergency services should be contacted immediately.
Here at Sage Recovery, we think continuing care is a vital part of the healing process. As a result, we make sure aftercare planning is woven into every patient’s care plan from the very beginning. That way, the patient is already used to incorporating the habits and actions into their daily lives. Our goal is to make sure our patients are as prepared as possible to transition back into a life without substance use. We understand the complexities and difficulties that come with life after treatment. That’s why our masters-level clinicians are trained in various treatment techniques.
We believe there are multiple pathways to healing and, as a result, you should be able to heal in the way that is healthiest for you. Our clinicians are experts in their fields and can offer a variety of evidence-based and innovative treatment options.
Evidence-based treatment techniques we offer at Sage Recovery include:
Moreover, some of the innovative techniques we provide include:
Additionally, we also arrange regular alumni activities so that people who have gone through our program can reconnect with others. Attending events regularly helps to maintain relationships with others who are like-minded and have similar goals. This allows you to celebrate and encourage each other as you continue to heal healthily.
Here at Sage Recovery, we know how difficult it can be to heal from substance use. The good news is, you don’t have to go through it alone. Substance use doesn’t get to have the final say in your life. Our entire staff is friendly, compassionate, and trauma-informed, so you can rest easy knowing that you’ll be treated with the dignity and respect you deserve. Whether you’re seeking help for the first time or just need some extra support as you heal, we’re here to help you every step of the way. Contact us to find out how we can help. We’re here for you. When you’re ready to heal with support, reach out to us at (512) 306-1394.