Addiction is a chronic disease. Since it is never cured, patients need ongoing treatment to help them stay sober. This phase of treatment is known as addiction aftercare. The majority of it takes place on a non-residential basis, and is a vital element in helping to avoid relapse.
The importance of addiction aftercare can be seen from statistical information from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. SAMHSA estimates that about 50% of people who successfully rid themselves of drugs or alcohol will relapse. However, the time between quitting and relapsing is 40% longer for people who seek professional treatment.
There is a wide choice of programs available. Some may focus on treating one aspect, while others may have a much wider focus. Most people will derive benefits from taking part in more than one program. Examples of addiction aftercare options include:
Counseling is beneficial in letting recovering users to talk about their progress. Any problems that could trigger relapse can be aired as they may be provided with other help.
Ongoing group therapy is very helpful. Organizations such as the AA, NA and Smart are there to provide help and mentoring when required. Each of these organizations has a program that addicts are asked to follow. They attend group sessions where they can listen to others, and express their own thoughts.
This can be beneficial in many ways. It provides users with something to concentrate on, and to fill in their days productively as they learn new skills. Many will have struggled in basic education and will have little or no practical skills that would help them find paid employment. Vocational training can give them a whole new opportunity in life.
Creative hobbies can be both physically and mentally challenging. They are excellent at keeping anyone occupied in a useful way. There are countless hobbies open to everybody. These include yoga, art or music lessons, for example.
Addiction most often develops as a result of continued substance abuse. The reasons why people begin abusing substances can be very diverse. A common one is that they started using alcohol or drugs to help them cope with daily life. When they felt emotionally stressed, their solution was to turn to substance abuse.
Behavioral therapies help to understand the complexities of their disorder, and what triggers exist that make them seek out relief through drugs or alcohol. They learn how different behavioral responses will serve them better.
Despite the widespread availability of support, many users will relapse. This can be very disappointing for their families. However, relapse should be viewed as a setback rather than failure. Families should try to get the addicted person back into rehab at the earliest possible opportunity.
Drug treatment centers offer various programs for friends and families involved. Relapse intervention is one of these. Families can learn to recognize the signs of impending relapse, and they can be taught how to intervene, or when to seek professional help. Intervention is also useful after a relapse has occurred.
Relapse rarely happens without several warning signs. If families are armed with the knowledge of what to look out for, they can often intervene before it occurs and persuade the user to get drug and alcohol treatment.