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Why rehab aftercare matters in addiction treatment

Posted by David Williams
on 06 Apr 2020

Rehab aftercare is a vital part of the recovery journey, which should ensure you have all the support you need to maintain and build upon all that is achieved in treatment.

It is a stark fact that of all the people who started NHS substance treatment in England in 2019, almost 2 in 5 (38%) had started treatment at least three times previously.* The figures are an indication of both significant drop out and relapse rates.

Life’s challenges remain after rehab and maintaining recovery, building on and using new coping mechanisms and not being pulled back into addiction takes courage, strength and ongoing support.

Group of people sitting in a circle holding hands offering peer support during aftercare

Addiction recovery is a journey with a number of stages. It starts long before rehab begins and continues well into life after treatment. That is not to say that life forever needs to be about being an addict in recovery, as is sometimes common belief. 

But, as the true meaning of recovery is really about finding a way to live a healthy, balanced life, maintaining recovery takes active awareness of living well, taking care of yourself and implementing positive coping mechanisms to deal with hurdles and challenges. Ongoing support is vital, especially in the challenging early days after leaving treatment.

Here we take a look at:

  • What is rehab aftercare?
  • What should rehab aftercare include? 
  • How much does rehab addiction aftercare cost? 

What is rehab aftercare?

Rehab aftercare is simply an agreed programme of support that is put in place for anyone who is leaving addiction treatment.

Rehab provides intense support to enable detox, begin recovery and provide methods, teachings and tools to maintain it. 

Leaving rehab means moving back into your regular environment, interacting again with people as well as the difficulties and triggers that may have been present before, as well as handling the unpredictable and unknown. Effective aftercare is about reinforcing what you’ve learned in rehab about considering how to cope and manage in a world without addiction. It’s also about knowing where to access support and to keep up the resolve and work to stay well.

Aftercare is really a matter of future proofing.

The UK Department for Health Orange Book guidance for clinicians treating people with drug issues said: “Aftercare support and pathways for rapid re-engagement in treatment are important to address risks of relapse and harm, and support recovery in the period after leaving treatment.”

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What should rehab aftercare include?

As with rehab and recovery treatment, aftercare should be personally tailored to meet individual needs.

Before you leave rehab, it is important to discuss the challenges you could face with your clinicians – and to work with them to come up with an action plan for responding to potential issues.

peer support group in a circle

In addition, it’s also necessary to have a plan for continuing the work done in rehab that will have helped to uncover what led you to addiction. You need to be able to consolidate, for example, any change to thinking patterns that might have teased out alternative ways to cope and be happy.

That work is challenging and, though intensely covered during your stay in residential rehab, it does not leave the day you leave.

Aftercare may include:

  • Ongoing attendance at group sessions in your community or at the rehab clinic you attended
  • Peer support
  • Ongoing counselling
  • Plans to interact with self help 
  • A plan of where to turn in a crisis
  • Relationship or family counselling 
  • Access to any necessary ongoing medication 

How much does rehab addiction aftercare cost? 

Rehab clinics usually include some degree of aftercare within the cost of your package of treatment. Delamere’s aftercare module lasts for a year.

Depending on the level of support you need there may be some additional costs involved – but it may also be possible to consider accessing ongoing support via statutory, community and charity services. This is something you’ll discuss with your treatment team before you leave rehab.

It may be useful or necessary to involve your GP, especially if you need ongoing medication.

In addition, many people find it useful to access 12-step groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous or groups associated with the behaviour change programme SMART Recovery.

The Department for Health’s Orange Book states: “Self-help and mutual aid approaches, including 12-Step and SMART Recovery groups, have been found to be highly effective for some individuals in supporting recovery, and patients seeking post-treatment support should be signposted to them.”

As acknowledged by the Orange Book, ‘those who complete residential treatment

programmes have better outcomes than those who do not,’ but keeping up that work and ensuring you have ongoing support is a part of the process too.

*According to Public Health England analysis: ‘Adult substance misuse treatment statistics 2018 to 2019: report

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Why rehab aftercare matters in addiction treatment
Article Name
Why rehab aftercare matters in addiction treatment
Why rehab aftercare matters in addiction treatment by Delamere Rehab. Find out how much aftercare costs for alcohol and drug addiction.
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Delamere Rehab
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About the author: David Williams

David is our General Manager at Delamere. David brings a huge amount of experience from both the hospitality and healthcare sectors. Find out more about David on our team page.

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