Extended drug rehabilitation (rehab) programs are available for those with serious drug or alcohol addictions. Conceptually, an extended addiction treatment program may include drug and/or alcohol rehab as well as any accompanying aftercare treatment, or it may simply be an extension of the initial rehab duration beyond the usual long-term program period of 90 days.
What is Extended Care?
Extended care refers to the on-going addiction rehab programme following a period of primary care, which can last for between 4 and 12 weeks, depending on individual’s need and circumstance. Secondary care is the first phase of extended care and will offer the same level of support and guidance but within a less structured treatment programme, allowing the client to start to structure his/her own day whilst still engaging in the rehab treatment programme but also beginning to integrate into their community. Tertiary care can be the next stage of treatment and offers a supportive network within a sober living environment where the client has more responsibility for their own routine and recovery.
Why Secondary Care?
Secondary care encourages the individual to begin taking responsibility for their own recovery in an environment where mistakes will not lead to relapse. Secondary care encourages effective time management and forwards planning; tools which are necessary for successful recovery. During secondary care, individuals will be encouraged to start integrating, for short periods of time, in the community, away from the safe and protective environment of primary care rehab.
They will also be encouraged and supported in making some valuable decisions with regards to their future, for example considering college courses, retraining for a new career, engaging in activities outside of the rehab that is beneficial for them mentally, physically and spiritually. It is also a valuable time for the individual to reflect on their own personal circumstances and the changes that they want to make that will be helpful to their recovery. For those who wish or need to extend the treatment period for a longer period of time, there is also tertiary care available in many rehab clinics.
What is Tertiary Care?
Tertiary care may also be a consideration after secondary care. Tertiary care is sometimes referred to as a sober living house and that is exactly what the aim is; the individual still has an effective support network, but they are able to do things that will aid their recoveries such as volunteer work or training courses.
They will be living with other people who are also beginning their recovery journey and still taking part in group therapy but effectively be living independently from the rehab clinic. Tertiary care is particularly suitable for those who may have little or no support back home, or who have become homeless or rootless through their addiction.
Can I Have Extended Care Back Home?
Following the completion of all residential treatment, the person may then choose to continue with aftercare once they have returned home. This can be on a group basis back at the rehab clinic, on a one-to-one basis with an aftercare Counsellor, or a combination of both. It is healthy for the person to experience recovery in their home environment whilst safe in the knowledge that they have support on hand should they need it.
Continuing the Recovery Journey
Extended Care may also include self-help and support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous or your own private counselor or therapist. 12 Step Fellowship meetings give the individual the same opportunities to identify with others in recovery that they experienced during rehab but on an outpatient basis. The sense of belonging to the local community can be reassuring to someone at the beginning of their recovery journey.
Fellowship meetings also provide the opportunity for the person to meet a sponsor – a sponsor is generally someone that is further along the recovery journey; someone that can inspire and support the individual in their recovery. They are on hand to help the person to work the 12 steps and help support them in adjusting to a life without addiction. Some individuals may have been engaging with a counselor or therapist prior to their stay in rehab, they may wish to restart the sessions on leaving treatment with the counselor or therapist whom they have already invested their trust in.
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