Addiction aftercare is the lifelong process of ensuring that a recovering addict does not relapse. Also referred to as relapse prevention and sober living, the point of addiction aftercare is to help former addicts transition from residential treatment facilities to less controlled situations where they may be tempted to use again. Addiction aftercare is the most critical process of any addiction treatment program.
Generally speaking, addiction aftercare is anything that helps an addict maintain sobriety. The best-known relapse prevention program is Alcoholics Anonymous, which consists of meetings at which former, recovering, and current alcoholics help each other deal with addiction. Programs for relapse prevention can involve counseling, family therapy, medical intervention for dealing with underlying anxiety and mental health disorders, and motivational therapy.
In simplest terms, aftercare is a support program designed to help individuals avoid relapse. Though overcoming addiction is hard, avoiding relapse for the rest of one’s life is even harder. Aftercare provides the support and resources individuals need to maintain sobriety.
Examples of aftercare programs include Alcoholic Anonymous, group therapy, one-on-one counseling, educational programs, and more. Any activity that helps ad addict avoid relapse is considered aftercare.
Relapse is common, affecting anywhere from 50 to 90% of recovering addicts depending on the substance they abused and the social situation they live in. At least part of the reason that relapse is so common revolves around the fact that chronic substance abuse changes brain structure and chemistry, making an addicted individual more prone to the triggers that led to addiction in the first place. Aftercare aims not only to circumvent the triggers that lead to relapse, but also to provide the tools necessary for correcting, at least partially, the brain alterations that lead to substance abuse.
Intervention is a process for changing a person’s thoughts, feeling, or behaviors. Though it has become nearly synonymous with ending drug and alcohol abuse, intervention is used in a variety of settings. The objective is always to confront a person in a non-threatening way to help him or her recognize and correct self-destructive behavior.
Intervention can be carried out in several ways. Understanding the differences between methods can help those planning an intervention to decide what will work bested for their loved one. Knowing that there are options can also reduce anxiety by providing choices. In all of these models, the process can be formal or informal. In a formal intervention, a professional guides family and friends in addressing an addict. In an informal intervention, family and friends work through the process on their own. Informal interventions can be as simple as talking to an addict in person.
Direct confrontation is also called authoritative intervention. In this method, those who are intervening direct the addict by giving advice, providing information, and challenging his or her behavior. Direct confrontation is not aggressive and should not include elements of shame, anger, or hostility.
Indirect confrontation is sometimes called facultative intervention. In this method, those who are intervening attempts to get an addict to express his or her own feelings about relapse and confront the emotions that have led to substance use. The tone is generally reflective and aims to help the user make his or her own decisions about rehabilitation or detox. Indirect confrontation works best when conducted by a professional or by someone skilled in intervention.
Forcible intervention involves forcing an addict into rehabilitation. Though generally ineffective over the long term, such a method may be used as a last resort when substance abuse has become imminently life threatening. Forcible intervention should not be aggressive, but rather firm and supportive, and should make it clear to the addict that entering treatment is the only viable option.
Systemic intervention, or family intervention, is gentle, respectful, and generally less stressful than other types of intervention. It takes the behaviors of addiction and applies them to the whole family, with everyone recognizing how their behavior can both lead to addiction and assist in helping an addict recover.
ARISE is a form of intervention in which the addict is invited to participate in his or her own intervention. The process begins with a call for the addict and loved ones to participate in an intervention with a trained therapist and then proceeds through several well different steps. On average, ARISE is successful in getting 83% of individuals into therapy for addiction.
CRAFT stands for “community reinforcement and family training.” It uses non-confrontational methods to encourage addicts to enter into treatment. It also aims to help family members to improve the quality of their lives and the quality of their interactions with an addict. CRAFT uses motivational interviewing and other proven techniques to encourage users to seek treatment and often involves the presence of teachers, mentors, and community leaders in addition to family and friends. CRAFT is successful in about two-thirds of cases.
To learn more about how we can help you or your loved one learn about treatment options, call Alcohol Treatment Centers New York at (646) 918-5955.