People going through treatment programs for substance use disorder (SUD) often benefit from alumni and aftercare services. According to Psychiatry Journal, “[T]he incorporation of some form of lower intensity continuing care services delivered in the context of outpatient treatment after the primary treatment phase (e.g., residential) appears to be a likely requisite . . . [for] long-term successful clinical outcomes.” West Coast Recovery Centers encourages clients to take advantage of aftercare and alumni services to support long-term recovery.
Why Are Aftercare Services Important?
Aftercare includes a wide range of continuing treatments and services. West Coast Recovery Centers encourages clients to take advantage of recovery support services and treatments after transitioning out of rehabilitation. Most clients go through multiple levels of care before completing treatment programs and transitioning to aftercare. The programs are designed to ensure clients feel confident in their ability to maintain abstinence independently. However, most people still benefit from additional support in early recovery. Most individuals with SUD have better outcomes if they participate in continuing care services for 6 to 12 months.
Aftercare services in the first year post-treatment are essential because they provide the following:
- Skill development
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “The process of recovery is highly personal and . . . may include clinical treatment, medications, faith-based approaches, peer support, family support, self-care, and other approaches.” Aftercare also involves a wide range of possible approaches. Some people may feel more comfortable relying on faith leaders, friends, or family, while others prefer confiding in peers and support groups. Clients in recovery can work with their care team to determine what potential types of aftercare support will fit their lifestyle the best.
What Are Some Common Aftercare Services?
Access to aftercare services varies significantly depending on multiple factors, including health insurance, schedule flexibility, and childcare or transportation availability. Some people don’t have the time or resources to continue attending support services or therapy after completing treatment. However, many options exist to help people maintain sobriety after treatment, including free or low-cost community-based programs and services. Telehealth support groups and therapy have also become a popular option since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some of the most common forms of aftercare include:
- Group and individual therapy
- Self-help groups, including 12-Step meetings
- Community-based recovery programs and services
- Family therapy
- Case management
- Alumni events and services
The sober community offers many resources to people recovering from substance abuse. Long-term sobriety is easier to achieve when individuals are part of a wider community and feel engaged with peers who understand their struggles.
What Are the Primary Benefits of Aftercare Services?
People recovering from substance abuse face many unexpected situations during ongoing recovery. The first few weeks and months after transitioning out of treatment are often the most difficult. Some people may have difficulty adjusting to how relationships or other aspects of their lives changed during their time in treatment. Rehabilitation programs prepare clients to successfully manage their condition during long-term recovery; however, no one can predict what will happen in the future. Some people may experience unexpected life changes and benefit from additional aftercare support.
Aftercare services provide many benefits and help people move forward in their recovery by doing the following:
- Facilitating ongoing sobriety
- Supporting continued recovery outside the structure of treatment
- Providing resources for addressing issues related to recovery
Individuals benefit from having access to the support of addiction recovery and mental health specialists. No matter what challenges people face in long-term recovery, being able to quickly and confidently reach out for guidance lowers stress and reduces the risk of relapse.
How Does West Coast Recovery Centers Support Continuing Care?
Every client participating in treatment programs at West Coast Recovery Centers has a case manager helping them navigate the recovery process. Case managers provide clients with information and details about potential aftercare services once they complete treatment. Clinicians also help clients prepare for the transition out of treatment by collaborating closely with clients and their families to create a comprehensive aftercare plan.
In most cases, aftercare plans address the following:
- Where a client will transition to after treatment, ensuring they have a safe living environment
- Relapse prevention and crisis management strategies
- Ongoing support systems are established for clients
- Legal issues related to their substance misuse
A holistic approach to aftercare is essential to ensure the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of clients in recovery. The care team at West Coast Recovery Centers helps clients prepare for aftercare during the weeks leading up to the end of treatment.
How Do Alumni Services Improve Long-Term Outcomes?
Alumni services are another essential resource for clients and their families. According to the previously mentioned article by SAMHSA, “Recovery is characterized by continual growth and improvement in one’s health and wellness and managing setbacks.” People have better outcomes in long-term recovery when they can turn to professionals if they start to feel overwhelmed. Alumni support at West Coast Recovery Centers helps clients build resiliency and overcome potential setbacks by ensuring clients and their families continue to have access to professional addiction recovery services.
Aftercare services are an essential part of long-term recovery for many people transitioning out of rehabilitation programs. Everyone transitioning to continuing care requires different types of support to meet their needs and preferences. In addition, each client has unique barriers and challenges impacting what aftercare resources they can access in long-term recovery. West Coast Recovery Centers uses evidence-based methods and alternative holistic therapies to help clients prepare for aftercare and ongoing sobriety. Clients have access to alumni services and referrals to community-based resources. Case Managers ensure clients have the information they need to take advantage of local resources and support services during aftercare. To learn more about our programs and services, call us at (760) 492-6509.