The Importance of Aftercare in Addiction Treatment

The Importance of Aftercare in Addiction Treatment

You have completed an inpatient treatment program and now you’re cured! Unfortunately, that is not the case. There is no known cure for addiction however there is treatment and rehab is only part of that treatment.

Statistics and common sense dictate that the longer someone receives treatment, the better their success rate at achieving and maintaining sobriety. This is where the importance of aftercare in addiction treatment comes into the picture.

What is Meant by Inpatient Rehab?

Inpatient rehab, or residential, refers to the stage of addiction treatment that involves staying in a facility and receiving intensive therapy. Inpatient treatment is the first step of addiction treatment and usually lasts for about 30 days.

What is Meant by Aftercare in Addiction Treatment?

Aftercare refers to further interventions and treatment that follow rehab. It is additional support that is given following completion from the residential part of the program. Aftercare in addiction treatment can take many forms and can be any combination of these forms of support that involve teaching new skills and coping strategies.

The Importance of Aftercare in Addiction Treatment

The importance of aftercare in addiction treatment becomes clear in its results: people who receive some type of aftercare are less likely to relapse and more likely to live longer. Aftercare in addiction treatment can help you to stay motivated and provide support when your journey gets a little bumpy. You will acquire knowledge and skills from the treatment facility but, the most important learning takes place during normal everyday living. Aftercare in addiction treatment will support you in finding new solutions as new problems in recovery arise. In this way, the importance of aftercare treatment becomes evident: you will bank new and effective coping strategies in the time you spend out of inpatient but while getting aftercare support.

Relapse and the Importance of Aftercare in Addiction Treatment

Unfortunately, relapse affects a great many in recovery. Relapse is not inevitable, though. It is known that people who have a strong aftercare treatment plan are more aware of their relapse triggers and so they are more likely to spot the warning signs that they are heading for a relapse. The importance of aftercare in addiction treatment when it comes to relapse patterns is that these preventive measures are the most effective at stopping a relapse in its tracks.

Types of Aftercare

Intensive Outpatient Therapy (IOP)

IOP is the perfect supplement to inpatient rehab because you get to attend individual and group therapy during the day and then have the afternoon and evening for getting back to work or enjoying hobbies or having simple down time. IOP is a good idea because you can continue therapy and the progress you were making while in rehab instead of abruptly stopping after completing treatment.

Halfway House/Sober Living Community

After completing an inpatient program, it is an extremely good idea to live in a halfway house or sober living community before returning home or getting your own place. Halfway houses, sober houses, and sober living communities provide a supportive environment where you live among other people who are staying sober and working towards their recovery. It’s a good stepping stone to rejoining society at-large: there is less structure than rehab but more structure than living alone.

12 Step Meetings and Other Support Groups

There are 12 Step fellowships and Non-Twelve Step groups who hold meetings as a form of a recovery-based support group where members can attend at no cost and share in their experiences with others like them. Members find empathy, encouragement, and even networking at these meetings.

Booster sessions

Former patients of a rehabilitation program are sometimes offered what is called “booster sessions” depending on the facility and its policies. Booster sessions are a way for recently graduated patients to continue to receive counseling once they have completed the program.

Private Counseling

Continuing previous or beginning new counseling and therapy with a private therapist is another form of aftercare. Counseling address issues relating to recovery and addiction as well as to a dual diagnosis such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. A great many addicts also have a co-occurring mental illness.

 

 

 

 

 

Source:

http://www.dualdiagnosis.org/

Exposure therapy in addiction treatment

Exposure therapy in addiction treatment

Exposure therapy is a specific type of cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy technique that is often used in the treatment of PTSD and phobias, but exposure therapy is also used in addiction treatment. Exposure therapy in addiction treatment works the same way it does when it is used to treat PTSD and phobias.

Exposure therapy in addiction treatment, just like when it is used for patients with PTSD, is intended to help the patient face and gain control of their addiction. The way exposure therapy in addiction treatment does this is by literally exposing the addict or alcoholic to certain fears, triggers, traumas and stressors. Exposure therapy is done carefully so as not to flood the patient but rather build up to the most severe stressors. The point of this exposure therapy is to desensitize the addict or alcoholic to potential stressors and triggers.

There are many studies that point towards alcoholics and addicts having automatic responses to cues such as seeing as alcohol or places they may have used. Much like when someone who is hungry sees food wants to eat they believe that the alcoholic responds to alcohol in the same way. So in order to combat this exposure therapy in addiction treatment, literally exposes the alcoholic to cues that would normally create a response or want to drink in the alcoholic and gives the alcoholic or addict coping methods or techniques to use to combat and eventually no longer respond in the old way they used to.

Exposure therapy in addiction treatment is a very new concept that doesn’t have a lot of proof of effectiveness to back it up. The rates of relapse after someone has been through exposure therapy have not been studied. While exposure therapy for PTSD has been effective for the treatment of trauma and stress there has been no proof that it will work in addiction treatment. In fact, exposure therapy in addiction treatment could end up having the opposite effect, instead of helping actually hurting the alcoholic.

In one study this is what they had to say about exposure therapy in addiction treatment:

“There continues to be little evidence for the superior efficacy of Cue Exposure Therapy (CET) over other forms of substance abuse treatment. However, it should be emphasized that the efficacy trials did not find CET to be ineffective; indeed CET subjects improved significantly from baseline, though these improvements did not differ from the other active treatment conditions.”

And of course there are all the other problems that anyone who is in the addiction treatment field knows: “Studies investigating Cue Exposure Therapy continue to be challenged by a number of methodological problems, including small sample sizes, high dropout rates, lack of objective measures of substance use and lack of procedures for preventing substance use between extinction sessions.”

The truth about addiction and alcoholism most likely is that any kind of addiction treatment is better than no treatment at all. But when it comes to treating alcoholism and addiction, in my opinion, how can you possibly expect an alcoholic to want to stop drinking by exposing them to things that make them want to drink; even with the better tools to cope with it etc.

http://www.benthamscience.com/open/toaddj/articles/V003/SI0055TOADDJ/92TOADDJ.pdf