What is Addiction Aftercare?

Although completing a detox and treatment program is an incredible achievement, the recovery process doesn’t necessarily stop there. For many, aftercare is a critical next step. These programs provide recovering patients with continued support. Aftercare provides individuals with all the support and resources that are necessary for preventing relapse.

The quality of an aftercare program can have significant impact on recovering individuals, so choosing the right program is an important step. Once in aftercare, by reinforcing all the progress that was made during treatment, individuals can strengthen their chances of long-term sobriety and be well on their way to achieving their life goals.

What Happens in an Addiction Aftercare Program?

Given that every patient has a unique experience with addiction and recovery, the aftercare experience is likely to differ on a case-by-case basis as well. Nonetheless, addiction aftercare programs offer a great variety of services to all patients. Typically, each individual will have a plan developed with their input by a team of healthcare professionals1. These personalized plans are designed to give each patient the most suitable aftercare.

Transitional Housing and Sober Living Homes

Transitional housing and sober living homes are integral services for many recovering individuals. These spaces provide a substance-free environment, especially for those who cannot secure one on their own. Additionally, these living arrangements provide individuals with quick and easy access to support from professionals.

Ultimately, the purpose of transitional housing and sober living homes is to smooth the transition from addiction treatment to independent residence. The period of time after one leaves a treatment center can be challenging. Therefore, it’s incredibly helpful for recovered individuals to know that they have the support of professionals behind their back.

Career Support

Much like the transition to independent living, going back to work or starting from scratch in a new field can be an extremely stressful and challenging transition. Luckily, aftercare programs2 are also designed to help with this change. Whether it be preparing for and acquiring a new job or securing a mode of transportation to work, individuals in an aftercare program will receive complete support in this avenue.

Addiction Therapy

There is a great deal of therapeutic options available for individuals within an aftercare program. These therapy programs are designed to help patients manage their daily stress, understand their emotions better, and deal with their addiction triggers more effectively. Ideally, these therapy programs will assist individuals in achieving long-term sobriety. Here is a list of the various forms of therapy individuals can partake in during aftercare:

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT3)
    • CBT is used to teach people how to cope with issues by developing new thinking patterns and behaviors 
  • Art and Music Therapy
  • Nutrition Therapy
    • Nutrition plays a very significant role in the well-being of people. In this form of therapy, individuals learn about the state of their nutrition and how to improve it.
  • And many more

Alumni Programs

Alumni 4programs are yet another way in which aftercare greatly enhances the lives of recovered individuals. These programs provide several benefits that are difficult to secure elsewhere. For instance, alumni events, which are scheduled and run by professionals, are fun opportunities for a variety of engaging activities. However, they also serve a much greater purpose than pure entertainment.

Alumni events make it easier for recovered patients to stay connected. Subsequently, this allows them to foster long-term friendships and relationships. By opening avenues for discussion and sharing experiences with each other, these mutually-beneficial relationships play an integral piece in the long-term success of recovered individuals.

Recovery meetings are another service one could expect from an alumni program. They are yet another opportunity for recovered patients to connect with each other, share tips and tricks, and build a community. Additionally, these meetings are a great way to benefit from continued education on addiction5.

Who is Addiction Aftercare for?

Aftercare is an excellent opportunity for all recovering patients. Anyone who has the option of partaking in these programs should certainly do so. Those who partake in quality aftercare programs generally have better outcomes with sobriety. The skills gained and lessons learned during treatment, which are then reinforced during aftercare, stick with recovered individuals for a lifetime.

The support of these programs can become invaluable in the future as individuals that have gone through aftercare are much better equipped to cope with addiction triggers.

The Impact of Nutrition and Exercise on Addiction Aftercare
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  1. Pavli, Androula, Maria Theodoridou, and Helena C. Maltezou. “Post-COVID syndrome: Incidence, clinical spectrum, and challenges for primary healthcare professionals.” Archives of medical research 52.6 (2021): 575-581. ↩︎
  2. Cannonier, Colin, Monica Galloway Burke, and Ed Mitchell. “The impact of a reentry and aftercare program on recidivism.” The Review of Black Political Economy 48.1 (2021): 93-122. ↩︎
  3. Atwood, Molly E., and Aliza Friedman. “A systematic review of enhanced cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT‐E) for eating disorders.” International Journal of Eating Disorders 53.3 (2020): 311-330. ↩︎
  4. Lavi, Rea, Marina Tal, and Yehudit Judy Dori. “Perceptions of STEM alumni and students on developing 21st century skills through methods of teaching and learning.” Studies in Educational Evaluation 70 (2021): 101002. ↩︎
  5. Lüscher, Christian, Trevor W. Robbins, and Barry J. Everitt. “The transition to compulsion in addiction.” Nature Reviews Neuroscience 21.5 (2020): 247-263. ↩︎

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Icy Health Editorial Team

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