Each individual who develops an addiction does so for unique reasons. As such, each person’s care must be approached from the proper perspective and intensity level for where they’re at in their recovery journey. Traditionally, people believed that a 30-day stay in rehab was a comprehensive treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. Since science confirmed addiction is a disease, health care specialists understand the importance of a continuum of care in successfully treating substance use disorders.
What Is the Continuum of Care for Addiction?
People with severe addictions might need to go through each step of the continuum, while those with a less intense condition would benefit from the final two stages. Whether you’ve received a diagnosis of a severe or mild substance use disorder, you’ll need to ensure you attend treatment long term for the best chances of success.
Detox is the first stage for many people, especially individuals suffering from alcohol, benzodiazepine or opioid addiction. It purges toxins from the body and prepares you for rehab.
We recommend residential rehab for anyone who’s been struggling with addiction for more than a few months. Not only do substances alter the way your brain works, but your lifestyle also adapts to facilitate your habit. Residential rehab allows you to hit the reset button and relearn a healthy routine, attitude and approach to self-care.
Once you’ve been through residential treatment, you might step down to a PHP program. You could also begin your recovery journey here. You’ll spend most of your days getting individual and group therapy, as with inpatient rehab, but you’ll sleep at home.
You might start your recovery journey here or step down from PHP. You’ll usually spend several hours a day a few times a week in treatment, leaving time to find part-time work or study.
Mild cases of addiction might require general outpatient as the first step, and it’s also the next stage after IOP. You’ll usually spend a few hours a week attending treatment so your caregivers can observe you, but you’ll be free to work or study full time.
Aftercare is the final stage, but arguably this is the part of the continuum you’ll spend the longest amount of time in. Rehab centers that offer a continuum of care keep in touch with every family member who completes a treatment program. You’ll attend social events and have opportunities to catch up and celebrate sobriety together.
Addiction Is a Chronic Disease
Like cancer, heart disease or diabetes, addiction is a chronic disease. As such, rehab isn’t the beginning and end of treatment. You should attend maintenance checkups with a health care professional regularly and participate in 12-step meetings and individual therapy if necessary.
How Long Should Aftercare Last?
The majority of individuals who successfully overcome the symptoms of addiction stay in treatment indefinitely. As you get further along the journey, you develop your ability to help people who are just starting. We’d recommend attending group meetings and checkups for at least two years.