One of the most important things to understand and accept before embarking on the recovery journey is that overcoming alcoholism requires time, patience, and a whole lot of effort. Too many make the grave error of believing that if they complete an alcohol detox they are good to go. Even those who willingly pursue addiction treatment following detox make the mistaken assumption that they are done with their recovery efforts upon discharge from rehab. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Alcoholism is an extremely stubborn and tenacious addiction. Because the brain has made adaptations to accommodate the consistent inflow of ethyl alcohol, the behaviors that result from long term alcohol abuse are deeply entrenched. This means that even after following through with detox and rehab, there is a need for long term care for alcoholics.
Long term care can refer to several things, such as extending rehab out for several months, which has been shown to be more effective than a short-term program. Long term care for alcoholics can also refer to the continuing care services and lifestyle changes that will further reinforce sobriety.
Comprehensive Treatment For Alcoholism
When someone has made the important decision to begin alcohol recovery, the first step is to undergo a medical detox. Medical supervision is always recommended for alcohol detox, as there can be dangerous and unpredictable withdrawal symptoms that emerge. Having a medical detox team overseeing the detox and withdrawal will help ease the discomforts of detox and provide the needed medical expertise should a medical emergency arise.
Following the completion of detox, the individual will begin the rehabilitation process. These services can be obtained through either an outpatient program or a residential program. Treatment involves multiple therapeutic activities, including psychotherapy, family therapy, group therapy, medication management, addiction counseling, 12-step meetings, relapse prevention strategies, learning new coping skills, and engaging in experiential activities that compliment therapy. After the rehab program is completed, continuing care services should be accessed to further reinforce recovery.
What is Long Term Care For Alcoholics?
Long term care for alcoholics refers to the extended services and lifestyle changes necessary to maintain sobriety. The struggle with this disease is ongoing, something that will challenge their commitment for the rest of the individual’s life. By planning for long-term protective measures ahead of time, the chances of succeeding in recovery greatly increase. Continuing care services and fundamental lifestyle changes are excellent long-term care options.
Naltrexone is a non-narcotic, non-addictive opioid-antagonist that can help someone in the first several months of recovery, beginning after detoxification, as this drug helps reduce the cravings that lead many to relapsing. Naltrexone is available as a patch, tablet, an injectable, or an implant.
What Are Continuing Care Services?
Continuing care, also referred to as aftercare, are the services obtained after completion of a rehab program. However, if an individual is using an outpatient recovery program, the sober living element is a very helpful tool while going through rehab.
After completing rehab there might be a temptation to go it alone, thinking you’ve got this. The problem is that early recovery is tenuous. The individual is just learning how to use recovery tools learned in rehab and may be ill prepared for any serious threat to recovery, such as a sudden highly stressful event. These might be a job loss, divorce, death of a loved one, or serious medical condition. Having the support resources available to help navigate the emotional fallout can be protective of sobriety.
Continuing care services include:
- Alcoholics Anonymous 12-Step Recovery Meetings. Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step program offers free social support with meetings available in every major city in the nation. At A.A. one can get a sponsor to enhance accountability, and also find opportunities to serve others.
- Ongoing Outpatient Therapy. Strife doesn’t end just because someone gets sober and completes a rehab. Having ongoing support through individual and group therapy can help newly sober individuals work through any emotional challenges that come along.
- Sober Living Housing. Sometimes the home environment is not the best place for someone new in recovery from alcoholism. If the family is unsupportive of recovery efforts, drinks in your presence, or keeps alcohol in the house, it is beneficial to live for a few months in sober living after rehab or during and after outpatient rehab.
How Lifestyle Changes Supports Long Term Care for Alcoholics
Establish Healthy Habits: After an extended period of alcohol abuse, most are left with nutritional deficiencies and a physical weakened state. Restoring health through regular exercise and a nutritious diet is an intrinsic part of overall wellness in recovery.
Seek Out Sober Activities and Groups: Loneliness and boredom are triggers for relapse. To deter relapse, seeking out activities where sober individuals congregate will lead to making sobriety a lifestyle choice.
Establish Sober Friendships: After rehab it is smart to avoid individuals that would trigger alcohol use or are otherwise unsupportive of recovery efforts. Finding new sober friends who are committed to sobriety through 12-step meetings, sober meet up groups, church activities will reinforce accountability.
Holistic Therapies: Stress is a significant trigger for relapse. Learning how to manage stress and cope better with emotional setbacks can be accessed through such holistic activities as mindfulness meditation, yoga, massage therapy, and acupuncture.
Phoenix Rising Addiction Center Provides Comprehensive Outpatient Treatment for Alcoholism
Phoenix Rising is a leading outpatient rehab located in Orange County, California. At Phoenix Rising, the rehab program can flex to whatever length of time the individual and clinical staff believe will provide the best chances for recovery success. In addition, long term care for alcoholics is addressed through providing sober living resources, ongoing outpatient group and individual therapy following completion of the program, and encouragement to actively participate in 12-step recovery meetings. For more information about our program, please connect with Phoenix Rising today at (877) 299-5694