Alcohol, opioids, cocaine…regardless of which substances are involved, successful rehabilitation from substance abuse and addiction takes professional care and time. Many are aware that addiction treatment should be completed in phases – if the treatment is to have a lasting effect.
The first phase of treatment is perhaps the most important: Detox.
Drug and Alcohol Detox Before Inpatient Treatment
Initially, medically supervised drug and alcohol detox is important to safely rid the body of the last traces of drugs and/or alcohol before the rehabilitation process can occur. Because withdrawing from drugs and alcohol can cause serious symptoms and discomfort, it is essential that the detox process be overseen by a medical staff in a professional setting.
Medically supervised detox protects individuals from the most serious withdrawal symptoms, which can include:
- Heart failure
- Severe pain
Once this important phase of the treatment process is complete, the individual can move into the next phase of recovery: Treatment and Rehabilitation.
Treatment and Rehabilitation of Addiction and Substance Abuse
The phase of treatment after detox is what many will recognize as “rehab,” and it is often completed in an inpatient facility. This includes counseling and therapy to address the root causes of substance abuse. It also teaches individuals how to cope with aspects of their life that may have formerly given them the urges to use drugs and alcohol.
The rehab phase is not “one size fits all,” and therapies that the treatment staff utilizes should meet the unique needs of each individual. The time frame needed for this phase also is unique to each patient, based on the amount of time they used substances, the type of substances used, and the quantity.
However, rehab is generally viewed by addiction treatment professionals as the phase where much of the progress of recovery is completed. What must be taken into consideration by family members and loved ones of recovering addicts is that the recovery process does not end with the completion of this phase of treatment.
Does Addiction Recovery Get Easier?
For many, recovery will begin to get easier as the treatment and rehabilitation phase comes to a close, but the work is far from over at this point. Ensuring that there is a plan for ongoing addiction therapy and aftercare is essential in ensuring that the individual can maintain his or her newfound sobriety and won’t fall victim to relapse in the months or years after leaving the addiction treatment facility.
Does addiction recovery get easier after rehab? It does get easier – if you have support, ongoing therapy and an aftercare plan in place to help along the way.
The First Year of Addiction Recovery
The first months and years of recovery after inpatient treatment will pose unique challenges to a person in recovery. These challenges can either strengthen a person’s dedication to sobriety, or cause them to give in to them and return to drug and alcohol use.
Those in the first 12 months of recovery need to have an outlet for their feelings and access to therapy and help in order to remain on the path that rehab initially set them on. This is why Reflections Recovery Center puts such a strong emphasis on aftercare and ongoing help after rehab.
Aftercare Helps Treat Symptoms of PAWS (Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome)
Parents and loved ones of recovering addicts are often not aware of PAWS, or that withdrawal symptoms can – and often will – return months or years after detox and treatment. In fact, even those in recovery, who have already gone through acute withdrawal and made significant progress in their sobriety, are confused and scared when symptoms return months later.
Everyone in Recovery Can Benefit from Aftercare
EVERYONE that goes through detox and treatment needs to have access to counseling and professional help if and when the symptoms of PAWS show up. Unless the initial treatment plan includes aftercare and ongoing support, individuals may not have easy access to counseling and therapy. They may not even have someone to tell them what is happening to them, that what they are feeling is normal and that everything is going to be OK as long as they continue with their recovery.
The Risk of Addiction Relapse During PAWS
Withdrawal is one of the main reasons that those with a chemical dependency to drugs or alcohol keep using, and reject help to quit. The symptoms of withdrawal will temporarily subside if a person puts drugs or alcohol back into their system. This is the mechanism in the body that keeps people hopelessly bound to the drugs and alcohol to which they are addicted.
When it comes to post-acute withdrawal, the same mechanism is in play, and individuals will be tempted to use substances to get the withdrawal symptoms to stop – even months or years into recovery. When family members ask, “Why do addicts relapse after rehab?” this is a big factor in their decision.
How Long Does PAWS Last?
Both acute (severe symptoms when first stopping drugs or alcohol) and post-acute withdrawal have their own timelines, and depend on many factors including the type of chemical and the severity of dependence. These timelines also vary depending on the individual and his or her chemical balance.
PAWS can last anywhere from several months to a year, but it rarely lasts more than 18 months. It peaks on average from six to 10 months, and it is not permanent. The fear that the symptoms won’t go away or that a person will feel this way forever is a dangerous deterrent from full recovery and sobriety.
What Families Need to Know About Addiction Aftercare
Family members are usually not aware of just how strong addiction and chemical dependence can be. The biggest myth about rehab that family members often believe is that beating addiction only takes getting a person off drugs for long enough for them to decide they want to stay off the drugs.
Addiction just isn’t that simple, and those in recovery need the support of family members and help from treatment professionals for a much longer time frame than can be provided in an inpatient program.
How Reflections Transitions from Inpatient Treatment to Aftercare
At Reflections Recovery Center, our ultimate goal is for our guests to achieve a full recovery, and we know what that takes. Our residential addiction treatment prepares individuals for the transition out of residential treatment and prepares them for life outside of inpatient therapy. We also place a major focus on aftercare and ongoing help.
Our alumni – in addition to having help, support and assistance from us in the future – are invited into a community of peers through our alumni support, sober living and aftercare programs. Our alumni are given the best chances for success when they return to life after rehab, knowing they are not leaving behind the support system that they have just found.
With confidence and determination to stay sober, our alumni can look to the future with hope and a new yearning for life.