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Participation in a treatment program is the first step in recovery from substance use disorder (SUD). Most people slowly transition to lower levels of care as they gain the skills and resources to manage their condition. Aftercare, or continuing care, is often the next step in recovery after clients transition out of structured rehabilitation programs. According to the Journal of Substance Abuse and Addiction Treatment, “[T]here is convincing evidence that continuing care can be effective in sustaining the positive effects of the initial phase of care.” West Coast Recovery Centers helps clients create detailed aftercare plans to support ongoing recovery. 

What Are Aftercare Plans?

Aftercare is the continuation of supportive services after clients transition out of residential, inpatient, or outpatient programs. For example, a client may complete 30 days of intensive outpatient (IOP) treatment and return home with a referral for aftercare psychiatric services to ensure consistent mental health support. Aftercare may last for weeks, months, or years, depending on the severity of symptoms and side effects experienced by the individual in recovery. Continuing care is an essential part of the recovery process for many people and ensures they can access the resources and help they need to remain sober. 

Aftercare plans generally include the following: 

  • Referrals to therapists and other outside clinicians
  • Continuing psychoeducation
  • Referrals to local groups or classes, including anger management or parenting classes
  • Information about local resources, including contact details for recovery advocates and support services 
  • Transfer of case management to a private or community-based case manager
  • Alumni services 

Aftercare planning is a collaborative effort between the client and the care team. Clinicians offer context for various continuing care services and help clients determine which options benefit them most. Case managers and care team members also coordinate with family members to ensure clients have a safe and nurturing environment where they can continue to heal. 

What Types of Support Are Available for People in Continuing Care?

Many types of support are available for clients after they complete treatment. Some individuals only use continuing care for a few weeks after completing treatment. However, research has shown that many benefit from long-term aftercare services. According to Alcohol Research Current Reviews, “[C]ontinuing care of longer duration that includes more active efforts to keep patients engaged may produce more consistently positive results.”

The types of services available for individuals in aftercare include: 

  • Job placement services 
  • Career counseling 
  • Mental and behavioral health treatment 
  • Nutritional coaching 
  • Community self-help groups
  • Opportunities for volunteering
  • Alternative holistic therapies and services 

Every person has different recovery goals. Aftercare plans are tailored to include services, treatments, and resources relevant and appropriate for each individual. 

How Do People Benefit From Personalized Aftercare Plans?

Effective treatment and aftercare plans consider a client’s needs and personal, religious, or cultural preferences. By considering various factors affecting client health and wellness, clinicians can provide coping strategies and solutions for potential challenges clients may encounter during ongoing recovery. 

Aftercare plans benefit most people by providing the following: 

  • Reduced stress
  • Increased emotional stability 
  • Reduced risk of relapse 
  • Improved progress on reaching recovery goals
  • More positive social connections 
  • Increased accountability 

Aftercare planning reduces the risk of relapse by decreasing the negative impact of stress and other triggers. People feel more comfortable returning home if they have an aftercare plan in place. Instead of being forced to determine the path forward on their own, clients have an aftercare plan and crisis management strategies to fall back on. 

Aftercare Plans at West Coast Recovery Centers

West Coast Recovery Centers educates clients and their loved ones about what to expect physically and emotionally during the transition out of treatment. Continuing care is an excellent source of support and provides people with accountability, motivation, and resources. Aftercare helps clients maintain the healthy boundaries, routines, and behaviors established during treatment. 

West Coast Recovery Centers often include the following in plans for continuing care: 

  • Details about alumni services 
  • Referrals to outside therapists 
  • Information on family support services, programs, groups, and organizations 
  • Information on local support groups 

Most clients and their loved ones have some idea of potential triggers and other issues they may encounter at home. The care team helps clients prepare by ensuring they have a safety plan in place and the skills to manage everyday stressors.

Alumni Services Reduce the Stress of Transitioning Out of Treatment Programs

Clients are more than their diagnosis. The care team genuinely cares about the outcomes of each client participating in treatment. West Coast Recovery Centers understands the importance of providing access to helpful services even after clients complete treatment. Alumni services ensure clients feel in control of their recovery during the transition to aftercare. 

Some of the support provided by Alumni services include: 

  • Mental and physical health check-ins with clients 
  • Referrals to outside experts 
  • Community events 
  • Information on recovery resources for clients and their families

Some people may experience a relapse or other event that causes them to return briefly for treatment. Alumni are always welcome to return to West Coast Recovery Centers for additional mental health or addiction recovery services. 

Aftercare is an essential part of most people’s healing journey. Preparing for aftercare ensures clients in recovery know what to expect after transitioning out of treatment. Clinicians collaborate with clients to determine what factors may impact their sobriety and mental health once they complete rehabilitation. Creating relapse prevention strategies, establishing a strong support system, and developing a comprehensive aftercare plan are ways people prepare for the transition out of treatment. West Coast Recovery Centers helps clients create personalized aftercare plans and realistic goals to increase the effectiveness of continuing care and reduce the risk of relapse. To learn more about our programs and services, call our office today at (760) 492-6509.