While completing rehab is a major life milestone, your recovery journey has only just begun. For many people recovering from substance use disorder (SUD), maintaining sobriety is going to be the real challenge — one that lasts for the rest of their lives.
Even with all the advances in SUD treatment, relapses are still fairly common after rehab. While relapses don’t necessarily mean a failure of the rehabilitation process, they’re still best avoided
To maximize the odds of long-term recovery, post-rehab care, also known as aftercare, is critical.1,2 Today, virtually all rehab programs will, at the very least, encourage participants to take post-rehab care seriously. However, for various reasons, not all recovering individuals can prioritize this important part of SUD recovery as much as they need to.
Below are a few reasons why you should dedicate time to aftercare after rehab. If you or a loved one need treatment or better aftercare options, please get in touch with our team at Dallas Drug Treatment Centers.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, individuals with SUD need at least 3 months of treatment before discharge to reduce or stop or reduce their substance misuse in any meaningful way.1 Additionally, longer treatment durations are associated with better long term success.1,2
Unfortunately, not all rehabilitation programs last the minimum recommended 3 months, let alone the years many individuals with severe SUD might need to recover.2
Programs that are less than the 3-month minimum, such as 2-6 week intensive residential programs, while much better than no treatment at all, are reliant on subsequent entry into a longer outpatient program or the implementation of proper aftercare for success.3,4 This means that, in most cases, your long-term recovery is reliant on you being able to continue receiving quality aftercare. 1,2,3,4,5
Mental health issues like depression, trauma, and anxiety are often linked with SUD.3,6 While these may resolve themselves as you recover, they are sometimes one of the causes of the SUD as well as continued cravings after rehab.5,6
Regardless of whether these co-morbid mental health issues are a cause or result of substance misuse or some other related circumstance, they can still present a serious quality of life issue. They can make it more difficult to repair relationships, contextualize one’s rehab experiences, or hold down gainful employment, all scenarios which can threaten the recovery process.
By continuing to attend counseling as well as group and individual therapy, it becomes more possible to mitigate or even resolve these mental health issues.5,6,7 If you have SUD and suspect an undiagnosed co-morbid mental health issue, please seek the advice of a qualified psychiatrist or counselor immediately.
The experience of living with and recovering from SUD can be overwhelming at times, so it can be difficult to put your rehab and post-rehab experiences in the right contexts. Being able to periodically discuss your recovery journey with a support group or a qualified counselor can help you get a better handle on what you’re currently experiencing as your progress through recovery.3,5,7
Access to aftercare can significantly raise the odds of success after rehab. 1,3,4,5 It’s for that reason that nearly all rehabs will recommend that you continually check in with your counselor as well as with support groups.
Aftercare activities are especially critical if the circumstances that led to your substance misuse are still present after you complete rehab. Preexisting mental health issues like trauma or depression that were missed or not treated during rehab will continue to be a problem.5,6, If you have friends and family members that also misuse drugs and alcohol, the lack of adequate aftercare can also make you more vulnerable to a relapse.8
Access to aftercare can affect your chances of a speedy and long-lasting recovery from substance use disorder. If you or someone you care about continues to struggle after rehab, it may be time to reassess your aftercare options. Dallas Drug Treatment Centers offers access to resources and programs that help bring better long-term outcomes from SUD. Call +1(214) 935-2287 to discuss your options.