Substance abuse treatment professionals and researchers in the medical community agree that a continuum of care provides the best chances of recovery for a person struggling with addiction. While most people think of substance abuse recovery and imagine detox and an inpatient rehab program, the reality is that these are only two of the elements that should comprise a continuum of care.
What Is A Continuum Of Care?
Establishing a continuum of care requires careful analysis of the patient’s medical history, drug of choice, mental health, and lifestyle. It’s essential to address the root cause of addiction, not simply treat cravings and the negative symptoms of withdrawal. Substance abuse treatment professionals must meet one-on-one with a patient to develop a comprehensive plan to address the patient’s substance abuse problem holistically.
The logic behind crafting these long-term treatment plans is simple: detox and rehab only go so far when it comes to breaking addictive cycles. It’s essential for people in recovery to learn coping tactics for handling addiction triggers and toxic influences. Many people benefit greatly from support groups and sponsorship programs after rehab. A continuum of care extends from a patient’s intake and detox through rehab and counseling to aftercare and long-term support for sober living.
Early Steps In Recovery
If you or a loved one needs addiction treatment services, it’s vital to find a facility or organization that can address your specific issues with addiction. Some organizations only provide detox while others are robust inpatient facilities. There are also outpatient programs for people with less severe addictions or who simply want a more thorough transition from an inpatient facility to regular life. A caregiver should be able to provide a care plan that extends beyond detox and admission into an inpatient treatment program, but these are still critical first steps.
Medical Assistance In Detox
Detox can be a fatal process for some. People struggling with alcoholism or opioid addiction experience severe withdrawal symptoms that can turn deadly. The detox process is essential to recovery, however, and medical assistance during this process is essential. Many people suffering with addictions experience malnutrition, dehydration, and vitamin depletion. During medically-assisted detox, caregivers supply nutritional support and monitor the patient’s vital signs. They can also administer medication to help make the symptoms of withdrawal less uncomfortable and treat emergency conditions as they arise.
A solid continuum of care needs to begin with medically-assisted detox. A proper detox process can lead to withdrawal symptoms fading within a few days, while they can last for months for individuals who attempt self-detox. Medical assistance not only narrows the chance of a life-threatening crisis during detox, but also helps prepare the patient’s body for the next stages of recovery.
Substance Abuse Treatment Options
After detox, the next step in a continuum of care is to select a rehabilitation organization and format. People struggling with substance abuse experience it in unique ways, so there is no one-size-fits-all answer to substance abuse treatment. A continuum of care could include one or more different types of rehabilitation based on the patient’s needs and personal preferences.
Rehab And Inpatient Treatment Services
Traditional rehab typically takes place in an inpatient facility. Similar to vacation resorts, these facilities typically offer patients private rooms with easy access to medical and counseling services. Most of the therapeutic work will take place on facility grounds, and residents will have to abide by the facility’s code of conduct and operational policies.
While inpatient options are a popular and effective choice, some people may not feel compelled to enter a residential treatment program, or may have other obligations that prevent them from doing so. Inpatient rehab is long-term and intensive.
Outpatient programs offer services on a regular basis but do not require patients to remain in a specific residence during the course of treatment. For example, an outpatient program could include counseling services at specific times during the work week that a patient can visit while maintaining a typical work schedule. Outpatient treatment options are also a popular choice for transitioning from an inpatient facility back to normal life. Many people who finish rehab still do not feel ready to confront their old lives or may feel daunted at the prospect of managing relapse triggers on their own. Outpatient support services will help these individuals transition more easily into sober living.
Long-Term Care For Sober Living
A full continuum of care doesn’t end with rehab. When developing a continuum of care with a substance abuse treatment professional, a patient needs to consider the transition from rehab back into regular life. This can include ongoing support in various ways. Some people benefit greatly from traditional 12-step programs, while others prefer one-on-one counseling or other group counseling options. Still others may simply prefer close contact with another individual who has completed treatment who acts as a sponsor or mentor.
Whatever form it takes, long-term aftercare needs to have a place in any continuum of substance abuse care. Relapse is a very real problem in the substance abuse world, and the old methods of returning to normal life after a 30-day stint in rehab are long gone. Substance abuse researchers now understand the value of maintenance and aftercare in substance abuse recovery, so every continuum of care should account for these necessities.
Addiction Recovery Support Networks
Support networks take many forms, and groups are available in just about every city and town. If you’re curious about the available support networks in your area, take some time to research online, visit community centers to look for posted flyers, or ask neighbors and relatives in the area what they recommend. These networks can be lifelines when facing intense cravings or temptation to fall back into old, bad habits.
Mentoring, Group Counseling And Sponsorship
Many substance abuse treatment programs offer patients the chance to participate in ongoing peer counseling programs. These benefit both the counselors and the people they counsel in many ways. These relationships can easily blossom into valuable friendships and provide the kind of intimate support most people need during recovery. It can also be very rewarding and cathartic to offer guidance and assistance to someone else who is traveling down a similar path to what you previously experienced.
Ultimately, the continuum of care in today’s world must include prevention and advocacy, detox and rehab, and a plan for relapse prevention and long-term care. Echo Recovery helps connect people in need of addiction treatment and support services through a vast network of support groups, treatment centers, professional specialists, and countless therapy options. A full continuum of care provides the best chances of achieving lifelong sobriety, so every person struggling with addiction needs to forget the old days of going back to work immediately after rehab.
Experienced Chief Executive Addiction Recovery and Mental Health Professional
Business professional in the Addiction Recovery and Mental Health industry for the past 26 years. Caring, compassionate and strongly motivated to make a difference in the organizations I am affiliated with and welfare of the population we serve. Currently focused on advocating, educating and developing projects leveraging evidence based, real time technology to support individuals in recovery.