The Importance of Continuing Care

Defeating an addiction can be one of the proudest moments of an individual’s life, and rightfully so. All of the work and dedication that goes into overcoming the compulsion to use drugs or alcohol can be extremely difficult, so when that success is achieved, it can feel as though the struggle is over and that one will never have to deal with that compulsion again. Unfortunately, however, it is not always that easy.

Residential programming is one of the best ways to start the journey to recovery from an addiction to drugs or alcohol. In this type of setting, individuals are able to spend each day focusing on their recovery, while being sheltered from the stresses and temptations of the outside world. For this reason, the rate of success within residential programs is exceptional. However, once a person has completed treatment within this type of program, it is of the utmost importance that he or she considers options for continuing care in order to maintain the sobriety that he or she was able to achieve.

Different people have faced different challenges within their addictions and in regards to their recoveries from those addictions. As such, one particular type of continuing care option will not meet the needs of everyone. For this reason, it is important to take into account the different interventions that are offered within each continuing care option so that the most appropriate decision can be made in terms of what will be most beneficial for each individual. The various types of continuing care options available are discussed briefly below:

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP): PHP can be considered the most intensive continuing care option. While this type of programming can vary in regards to the specific times that it is offered, it typically occurs on a daily basis, often meeting for the majority of the day. Within the program itself, group therapy is the most common treatment modality used, but individual therapy, family therapy, and medication management services may also be offered on an as-needed basis.

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP): IOP is the next most intensive continuing care option after PHP. This type of program typically only meets two or three days each week, for around two or three hours each day. Additionally, there are some IOPs that offer evening sessions so as to accommodate the work schedules of its participants. Like PHP, the main treatment modality used in IOP is often group therapy, with family therapy, individual therapy, and medication management services being incorporated as appropriate.

Traditional Outpatient Therapy: Traditional outpatient therapy is typically offered on a weekly or biweekly basis and consists of one-to-one individual therapy sessions with a therapist or counselor. This type of intervention is often most beneficial for individuals who have already completed a higher level of outpatient care, such as PHP or IOP.

Support Groups: Support groups are one of the most popular options for continuing care. Groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) have long been used by individuals in recovery as a tool for obtaining ongoing support, preventing relapse, and being held accountable for their actions. These groups are often much less rigid and less structured that the groups offered during PHP and IOP, which allows individuals the freedom to come and go as they feel appropriate.

Sober Living Environments: Oftentimes, once treatment is completed, moving into a sober living environment or halfway house is beneficial in helping individuals stay on the right path in their recovery. By living in such an environment, individuals have a safe place to go where they can be sheltered from the temptation to relapse.