Parents often feel uncertain and ill-prepared when their son or daughter has completed addiction treatment. Many parents expect their teen or young adult to be “fixed” when he or she finishes a treatment program. Unfortunately, this is not a realistic expectation.
For many young people, a substance use disorder is a chronic condition that will require management into adulthood, and for some, throughout life. This is typical of chronic disorders. (For example, if treatment for asthma or diabetes were stopped, a relapse would likely occur.) So, with this in mind, how can
you best support your child’s recovery in the days and weeks after treatment?
To help parents, we created a guide called Continuing Care.
Continuing care, or aftercare, is the support plan following addiction treatment. Continuing care can involve:
Direct communication with the treatment program after the patient leaves
Outpatient counseling sessions (group or individual)
Activities that take place in community support organizations
Optimal but less frequently available continuing care options include:
Drug testing and feedback
Counseling or family therapy for parents and adolescents
Social skills training
Case coordination with schools and probation officers
Usually the nature and extent of continuing care varies by treatment facility. Some treatment centers offer very little continuing care, others will offer more. Most recommend a continuing care plan — often a 12-step program or less intensive care.
Ideally, the time to start thinking about continuing care services is during treatment.
A continuing care plan should involve:
A counselor or support group and at least twice weekly sessions for the first month
At least weekly sessions for the next two months
Twice monthly sessions for at least four more months
Better plans would include:
Continued regular checkups and monitoring via drug testing provided by a professional. The intensity of the continuing care should adjust based on the results of the checkup.
New activities your son or daughter enjoys that will bring him or her into contact with friends who don’t drink alcohol or use drugs.
If the treatment program does not provide a continuing care plan, then you and your child will need to develop one, preferably with a counselor or medical professional. If your son or daughter has a probation officer, you may be able to work with this individual.
It is not always easy for those in recovery to stick to a continuing care plan and it will likely require effort and support from all involved — especially you. Remember, continuing care can be time-consuming and emotionally difficult, but it may be the best investment you can make.
Download the Continuing Care eBook. This downloadable PDF guide covers all you need to know about how to best support your child after they finish addiction treatment.
Source: Partnership for Drug-Free Kids