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What Happens After Rehab: A Guide for Loved Ones

Many people think of rehab as the defining moment in mental health or addiction treatment. And while rehab can be invaluable for substance abuse or severe mental health issues, the reality is that it's just one step in the recovery process. For some people, it may be the very first step.

But treatment is a multifaceted journey full of different stops and turns. Life after rehab is where things really start to count- it's when people must implement the skills and insight they have learned to succeed and live a meaningful life.

What Happens During Rehab?

Rehab programs vary in length, but inpatient treatment typically consists of 1-3 months. Inpatient treatment programs are considered the 'highest level of care' after hospitalization or acute detox. In these facilities, your loved one receives 24/7 structure, monitoring, and support. They will spend most of their day attending clinical programs, including individual therapy and group therapy.

Most rehab programs also:

  • offer psychiatric and medication services

  • implement case management for legal, financial, and occupational support

  • offer family members guidance and tips for support (including family therapy)

  • specialized tracks for particular populations

Understanding Step-Down Programming

Many people struggling with moderate or severe mental health issues benefit from attending comprehensive treatment. Likewise, if someone is getting help for alcoholism and drug dependence, treatment offers the initial foundation for building a sober life. The exact length of each phase will depend on each client's treatment plan and progress.

Partial hospitalization program (PHP): Partial hospitalization treatment programs are also heavily clinically focused, with clients attending group and individual sessions for most of the day each week. However, clients still live on their own and can generally still work or attend school.

Intensive outpatient treatment (IOP): IOP is one step down from PHP. Clients still attend frequent therapy sessions and support groups, but they are also encouraged to practice the skills they learn in the real world outside of the rehab program.

Outpatient treatment (OP): Outpatient treatment generally consists of attending weekly therapy sessions with a mental health professional. During this stage, many people also participate in support group meetings, such as AA.

Considerations For Building a Strong Aftercare Plan

Successfully completing rehab is a tremendous feat, but the recovery journey is a lifelong process. It's especially important for individuals and their family members to understand the nuances of relapse prevention after treatment ends.

Support groups: Support groups offer a sense of peer connection and accountability. It's valuable to spend time with people who have experienced similar struggles and can provide you with reassurance and empathy.

Individual therapy: Continuing in therapy allows you to continue processing your emotions, past traumas, and current needs. Therapy can also help support stress management and long-term recovery, as it gives you tools to cope in everyday life.

Healthy lifestyle changes: In early recovery, it's important to consider what needs to change in your daily life. Prioritizing essentials like nutrition, physical activity, and getting enough sleep can make a significant difference in helping you feel better.

Positive support system: A strong support system is one of the most important pieces of recovery. Healthy living requires healthy relationships, and having a reliable support network is vital for feeling understood, connected, and nurtured.

Coping skills: Relapse can happen at any stage during recovery, and it's important to consider how you can practice self-care when you feel overwhelmed or triggered. Identifying meaningful drug and alcohol-free activities is especially important for people recovering from substance use disorders.

Stable living environment: After leaving rehab, it's important that people have a secure, supportive home. Sometimes this means living in sober living houses. Other times, it means moving back in with parents or supportive sober friends.

What Happens If Relapse Occurs?

Relapse is often said to be a part of the recovery process, even though it can be difficult for individuals and loved ones to comprehend. A qualified treatment program will advise you on the right steps to take if you're worried about the situation.

Not everyone automatically needs to return to rehab if a relapse happens. But it's a good idea to consider reaching out to a treatment facility if:

  • you aren't able to "get back on track" no matter how much you try

  • you are experiencing significant physical or mental health consequences

  • you don't feel safe or supported in your environment

  • you are potentially a danger to yourself or others

Outpatient Treatment For Drug or Alcohol Addiction in California

At Resurface Group, we offer both in-home clinical services and virtual outpatient programming for clients residing anywhere in California. Our unique program is for anyone recovering from alcohol addiction, drug addiction, or other mental health issues.

We accept most HMO and PPO insurance plans. We pride ourselves on offering excellent care that's convenient, effective, and tailored to your specific needs. Contact us today to learn more about our program.

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