Extended care drug rehabilitation can mean several things: extended stays at treatment facilities that go beyond the 30, 60, or 90 day cycle or post-treatment methodologies designed to help individuals maintain addiction free lives. Whatever the reason, the goal of extended care is the same — to prevent relapsing toward the old behaviors.
Types of Extended Care
Additional time in a treatment facility: Because each individual’s circumstances are unique, applying a time-frame that applies to everyone only acts as a general guideline. If there’s a dual diagnosis, multiple addictions, an environment outside the center not conducive to abstinence or any number of other factors, it may be necessary to remain in the treatment facility longer than originally contracted.
Participation in 12-Step or other peer support group: These types of extended care provide the person in recovery with ongoing, regular opportunities to find help in dealing with addiction. Most of these programs assign sponsors or mentors who make themselves available. It’s a symbiotic relationship, as all participants begin to develop a support network in which everyone is supporting everyone else.
Outpatient treatment: Some individuals may be referred to outpatient treatment after leaving residential treatment. While outpatient treatment may involve participation in a 12-step program, it most commonly entails meeting with licensed counselors and therapists in either individual or group settings at regularly scheduled times. Outpatient therapy is usually open-ended, and continues or ceases based on the participant’s condition.
Sober living homes, companions or escorts: Sober living homes are relatively new to treatment and provide structured environments with strict regulations that help the participant incorporate and practice the skills needed for living a sober life. Sober companions and escorts are for individuals whose environments are not conducive to sober living and require more continuous, frequent guidance and mentoring on a one-on-one basis.
Private therapy: For some, extended care may involve regular visits with a psychiatrist, psychologist, counselor or other mental health professional. With this type of extended care, one-on-one sessions provide the support the patient needs to cope with the situations and circumstances that fueled his or her addiction.
Regardless of the treatment originally prescribed and followed, studies consistently show that long-term programs that essentially provide extended care help reinforce the earlier therapy, and provide the greatest chance of successful recovery.