Aftercare Programs

One of the most important parts of drug rehab doesn’t actually take place at rehab at all. The first stages of getting off drugs require the addict to simply go through withdrawal and get the actual drugs out of his system, but this is not nearly enough all by itself. After an addict leaves the rehab center, he will need attention and frequent checkups to make sure that he is staying sober. If you want your rehab experience to be successful, aftercare is the way to go. It is a vital step that can lead to the downfall or complete failure of a program of rehabilitation if omitted.[1]

The Phases of Care In Aftercare Treatment

Simply put, “aftercare” is the phase of care that an addict will experience after he has gone through primary care, the rehab center itself. During drug rehabilitation, the addicts first goal will simply be to get off of whatever drug he or she is on. Many drugs can have horrible withdrawal symptoms, so this can be a long, arduous process just by itself. Many addicts have relapses at this point or have to return to rehab repeatedly just to successfully get drugs out of their system.

Many rehab centers also have a poor reputation for their seeming inability to even get addicts through this first step. If an addict can’t even get off of drugs to start with, there is no way for the later steps to work, but many rehabs seem to be a revolving door for addicts. If there’s money available, they’ll allow the addict in. When the money’s gone, the addict is out the door.

Effective rehabs, however, keep the addict until the desired product has been achieved—the addict has safely come off of drugs. The next step of care is then to give the addict some form of therapy to help him decide not to use drugs in the future. This can also help him root out the basic causes of why he is doing drugs in the first place. Successful rehabs also train the recovering addict in life skills so that he or she can go out into the world and be a contributing member of society.

What Aftercare Treament Is and Does

After care is the work that then takes place after the addict has left the rehab center and the primary phase of his drug rehabilitation. If he or she were just sent back to the environment where drug use was taking place, the addict might fall back into old habits and the old crowd of other drug users that they could get high with.

Instead of falling into these old habits, an aftercare specialist will check up with the recovering addict frequently to make sure he or she is following the prescribed life activities and schedule for after rehab. This could be exercising, eating well and staying away from old haunts where drug use took place.

Aftercare programs can also include the recovering addict going to meetings with other addicts in recovery in order to help each other out and lend advice about staying clean and sober. These meetings are a key part of Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs, for example.

This process can also include the recovering addict meeting regularly with a sponsor of other trusted friend or family member that can help keep an eye out and make sure that the addict is now staying clean.

Whatever specific steps an individual’s aftercare follows, it is a really good idea to have a plan like this in place by the time rehab is done.


[1] Addictiontoday.org: Aftercare: A fundamental tenet in attaining long-term recovery http://bit.ly/1gAAXhJ