It’s a common misconception that detox and a short stay in residential treatment is all that’s needed to promote lasting sobriety.
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a “quick fix” for a substance use disorder. However, a continuum of care can be used to drastically lower the risk of relapse.
Substance Use Disorders Are Chronic Medical Conditions
Much like high blood pressure or diabetes, substance abuse disorders are considered chronic medical conditions. People with a history of abusing drugs and alcohol can’t be “cured” in the traditional sense of the term. They can learn how to manage cravings and avoid situations that act as triggers for substance abuse, but they still have a propensity to become addicted to substances.
A continuum of care recognizes the need for ongoing support to reduce the risk of relapse. This term refers to deciding what services a person needs to help him or her get and stay sober. It’s a proactive approach that aims to identify risk factors and address problems before they become a serious threat to sobriety.
With the continuum of care approach, individuals are guided and monitored over time as they progress through different levels and intensities of care on their way to independent living.
The continuum of care is sometimes referred to as a “Recovery-Oriented System of Care” (ROSC).
Recovery Requires Personalized Care
Everyone in recovery has a unique experience. Factors such as the length of time addiction continued, the type of substances being abused, the presence of co-occurring mental health disorders, past exposure to trauma, and the strength of the existing family support system all affect what type of support is necessary.
The continuum of care begins with an initial intake, followed by detox and residential treatment.
When residential treatment is completed, continuum of care plans might include:
- Using a sober living home to provide safe shelter and close supervision following residential treatment
- Participating in an intensive outpatient program that provides daily counseling, but allows clients to return home each night
- Attending outpatient counseling on a weekly basis
- Utilizing 12-Step groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous
- Attending alternative self-help groups, such as Celebrate Recovery or SMART Recovery
- Using online recovery education programs
- Taking part in alumni events sponsored by the residential treatment center
Addressing underlying issues that contributed to substance abuse is an important part of the continuum of care. This might include treatments for chronic pain, counseling for mental health disorders such as anxiety or depression, and therapy for process addictions such as gambling or shopping addiction.
Continuum of care plans can also include steps that support the achievement of specific recovery goals, such as going back to school, finding a new job, renting an apartment, or repairing relationships with friends and family. Actionable steps give you the guidance you need to make your dreams a reality.
Evaluation and Monitoring
Continuum of care plans aren’t set in stone. Evaluation is a key part of the process. This means the treatment team should determine how successful efforts have been to change destructive behavior patterns and help you make any adjustments that are necessary. Monitoring the success of treatment by regularly checking in to make sure there are no areas of concern promotes accountability and allows for treatment to remain proactive in addressing specific challenges that are encountered.
Making adjustments to the plan means that individuals may not progress through the steps in a linear fashion. For example, someone who graduated from a sober living home and struggles to manage cravings and triggers in his own apartment might need to go back to the facility for additional support.
Setbacks and slip ups don’t mean that recovery is impossible or that a person has failed in their sobriety efforts. They simply indicate a need for a change in the treatment approach.
How Mountain Laurel Recovery Center Can Help
Mountain Laurel Recovery Center offers intervention services, detox, residential treatment, and extended care for men and women struggling with drug or alcohol addiction. Clients are encouraged to take an active role in the recovery process, beginning with the early stages of treatment and progressing through the transition to independent living. Treatment focuses on healing the body from addiction and providing the skills necessary to build an independent sober life.
Every client’s continuum of care plan is unique, but Mountain Laurel’s extended care sober living home is often recommended as a way to promote accountability and benefit from peer support. Participants are required to attend intensive outpatient treatment, participate in 12-Step programs, utilize sponsorship support, and work to maintain a clean and healthy living space.