By Robert Lien, MHA
If you’ve ever had any type of surgical procedure you were given recommendations for aftercare plans to help you recover from that surgery. It may have included going to a physical therapist, taking time off of work, using medications, follow up appointments as well as being referred to a specialist. In most cases if those aftercare recommendations are followed the surgical procedure will be a success and you are able to continue on living a productive life.
Treatment for conditions like anxiety, depression, bipolar, addiction to drugs or alcohol addiction also benefit from aftercare. Levels of care that include hospitalization/residential treatment, partial hospitalization (PHP) or an intensive outpatient program (IOP) typically will only last a few months. To maintain all of the progress made in treatment an aftercare program can be utilized to help support the person as well as the entire family going forward.
Learning how to live outside of a treatment program is not always easy. There are many challenges including going back to work, socializing with friends, maintaining family obligations as well as cravings to use drugs or alcohol. So an aftercare program is designed to help the individual maintain daily routines and structure that includes setting specific goals and making sure that recovery remains a priority. You can think of the aftercare as a support system that might include medication management with a medical doctor or psychiatrist, seeing an individual therapist one-on-one, attending support groups.
Another key part of the aftercare program may include testing for drugs like marijuana, cocaine, opiates, opioids, meth or utilizing a breathalyzer to ensure that abstinence is being maintained. Committing to regular or random testing is a great way to help with accountability to sobriety and also can help with any requirements of return to work, licensing or even families peace of mind. Aftercare may also include regular check-ins with the aftercare coordinator where a one-on-one session can help address the challenges of life and strategies can be outlined how to face those challenges.
An aftercare program for addiction and mental health is a great way to help people hold themselves accountable while having a strong support system. Aftercare is also about communication with the family and how to deal with relationships that have been strained. The aftercare coordinator can help families understand specific challenges that the client is facing and give them tips for their own support system for their well-being.
At CAST Centers we can provide highly customized aftercare programs typically based on a 3 month or 6-month package. Each client will get the specific support that they need to meet their condition and specific challenges along with working towards the goals and dreams that they have. CAST Centers aftercare program can work with clients from other treatment facilities as well as continuing after treatment at CAST Centers PHP and IOP levels of care. Ultimately, aftercare is an investment in the future that should not be missed.