The importance of aftercare following addiction treatment
By Claire Rimmer, Addiction Treatment Programme Manager at Priory Hospital Altrincham
Addiction is often referred to as a ‘lifetime disease’ – even after addiction treatment, when patients are years into recovery, individuals often don’t refer to themselves as ‘cured’ but rather as ‘living in recovery’.
This shouldn’t be a deterrent for people, but rather a reminder to continue to put themselves, their treatment and wellbeing first.
‘Aftercare’ describes the treatment and support that is offered beyond an inpatient stay for addiction treatment.
Aftercare helps people to:
- Reintegrate back into their life and into their community
- Embed their new lifestyle, free from addiction
- Avoid and/or minimise their risk of relapse
- Establish a consistent support network
- Help family and friends to better understand addiction (for example, at Altrincham we offer a family aftercare programme)
We know that without these networks and support systems in place, people are more likely to relapse back into their life of addiction.
We also know that people who fully engage in their aftercare programme will have better successes in recovery.
At Priory Hospital Altrincham, our Addiction Treatment Programme is not just a 28-day inpatient stay; it is a 13-month treatment programme. Upon completion of our 28-day stay, we provide 12 months of aftercare for free. Our aftercare comprises of two therapy-led group sessions per week.
This 12-month aftercare component is vital for an individual’s treatment process and recovery. The bi-weekly therapist-led group sessions offer a valuable resource of support and guidance in an individual’s early recovery.
The first aftercare meeting following the inpatient stay is the most important. Our experience shows that individuals who attend the first aftercare session following their inpatient treatment are more likely to continue to attend on a regular basis and, in doing so, are more successful in maintaining their recovery from addiction.
Former patient at Priory Hospital Altrincham and aftercare participant
“The aftercare that Priory offers for a year after leaving is an imperative part of my ongoing recovery. They also have a family group so loved ones who are affected by the illness can also begin their own recovery; people can recover as a family and have an understanding of the illness.”