The Importance of Finding Aftercare Programs
Addiction is a disease that impacts the entire family, not just the individual. Perhaps you’ve heard this before or perhaps you’ve never thought of addiction in this way, but it’s true. Even if the rest of the family isn’t struggling with addiction, they still experience grief, loss, and turmoil.
A person’s addiction tends to cause tension and conflict among family members, leading to questions about how to deal with it and its effects on the family. A study in the United States compared nearly 25,000 family members of persons with substance use disorder (SUD) to family members of people with diabetes, asthma, or a control group of family members with no SUD or chronic physical condition. According to the research, family members of people with SUD were more likely than those with diabetes or asthma to be diagnosed with mental health disorders (such as depression or trauma) in the year leading up to the main patient’s diagnosis.
As a result of living with someone with SUD, a majority of people suffer from trauma. Dealing with violence, emergencies, police, verbal or physical abuse, and mental abuse are all situations that can cause distress. Constantly worrying about another person’s life or death without having the power to change it can also leave people feeling emotionally overwhelmed.
What begins as a basic desire to help a family member who is struggling with drugs or alcohol (because it seems appropriate) frequently becomes a life mission. What is uncontrollable can consume a concerned loved one’s every breath and ounce of effort. They have a strong desire to make everything better, but as resentments grow, seclusion becomes the norm and boundaries fade away.
Finding Quality Aftercare
There are many differences between addiction aftercare programs, but the most effective treatments will all share the belief that the finest treatments take the individual into account.
Based on this treatment principle, the best aftercare programs offer comprehensive services that address the following for each individual:
- Housing and transportation
- Legal involvement
- Medical status, including HIV/AIDS testing and treatment
- Mental health
This strategy is based on the idea that any of these components being out of balance might lead to increased stress and a higher risk of relapse. If you only focus on one aspect of aftercare, you might not be able to get to the source of the problem.
Providing a Healing Environment
During family aftercare, loved ones learn about a person’s behaviors and addictions. Members of the family begin to see how their roles in the dynamic change over time. Family members will learn what is helpful and what is not helpful during the recovery process.
A gathering of people who have shared a similar experience can be extremely powerful and healing. The following are some of the reasons why family aftercare programs work:
#1 Being in the company of individuals who understand you
#2 Being able to converse about topics that they would ordinarily keep hidden
#3 A non-judgmental atmosphere
#4 Hearing about other people’s experiences so that you might learn from them
#5 Obtaining hope and assistance
#6 Regaining self-confidence and self-esteem
#7 Finding your voice
#8 Recognizing and attending to each others’ emotional needs
Outpatient treatment refers to any aftercare program that permits a client to receive treatment during the day and return home at night. This option may be helpful for those who work, have childcare commitments, or need personal assistance to help them heal without going to a residential treatment center. As needs alter, the degree of outpatient aftercare increases or decreases:
#1 Partial hospitalization programs (PHP): The most intensive outpatient treatment, with treatments provided five days a week for four to six hours each day. Individual and group treatment will be included.
#2 Intensive outpatient programs (IOP): IOPs can focus on addiction and mental health care with appointments two or more times each week for three hours.
#3 Individual and/or group therapy: Hour-long sessions held on a weekly, bimonthly, or monthly basis.
The greatest addiction aftercare programs will take a holistic approach to your recovery and will be personalized to your specific needs. However, finding excellent treatment might be difficult and it’s important to keep these suggestions in mind:
- Get recommendations and referrals for aftercare providers from your current or prior treatment providers.
- Spread the word about treatments that help others, but keep in mind that no treatment is suited for everyone.
Facilitated by an addiction counselor, Mountain Peak Recovery’s family program can last up to two years. Whether it’s through a Mountain Peak family aftercare program or Al-Anon, participating in a continuing support program is important to move forward in your recovery and to support your loved one. At Mountian Peak, clients will be able to reconnect with themselves, their environment, and others as they learn about the various resources accessible to them during their recovery journey. For more information or to speak to a caring, trained staff member about your needs, call us today at (801) 824-8829.