Continuing Therapy Post-Treatment

Relapse prevention plans look different for everyone. However, one thing that remains consistent through most relapse prevention plans is that many professionals recommend continuing therapy upon completing treatment. Continuing therapy helps you maintain sobriety and can assist with transitioning from treatment to long-term recovery.

Additionally, continuing therapy post-treatment will allow you to keep up with some of the work you did in treatment. More often than not, struggling with addiction or substance use disorder (SUD) is rooted in an underlying issue. Different therapies help people tackle these root causes and, in doing so, help them better cope with their addiction. 

If untreated, past traumas or mental health issues can increase the chances of relapse during recovery. Tackling these underlying issues is vital and can teach you alternative ways of managing them in early and long-term sobriety. 

The benefits of therapy in addiction recovery apply to life outside of treatment. You may only meet with a therapist once or twice a week, but doing so can be an integral tool in your post-treatment regimen. 

How Therapy Is Used in Addiction Treatment 

Different addiction treatment facilities may implement various therapies into their rehab programs. There are, however, a few common evidence-based modalities that you can expect to encounter. The following behavioral therapies are known to be effective when treating individuals struggling with SUD and co-occurring disorders. 

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) 

One of the most common behavioral therapies implemented by mental health professionals is CBT, which helps you address harmful emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. There are different kinds of CBT, and these various types treat mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and addiction.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

DBT is another commonly used behavioral therapy. This modality helps you get to the core of your struggle with SUD. DBT helps you work to control your emotions and identify negative thought patterns. Some of the skills you can expect to learn from DBT include mindfulness, stress tolerance, and establishing emotional boundaries. 

Twelve-Step Facilitation (TSF)

A less commonly known therapy sometimes used in treating SUD is twelve-step facilitation, or TSF, which the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) describes as an individual type of therapy that uses 12 sessions to prepare individuals to engage in 12-Step support groups. Now, everyone can benefit from a 12-step program. However, individuals especially interested in group support meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous or a similar group post-treatment may benefit from a modality like this. 

These are just a few behavioral therapies that can effectively help individuals in addiction treatment. Group and family therapy are also beneficial modalities. However, individual therapy helps you learn more about yourself, identify triggers, improve communication skills, and get to the root cause of addiction. 

The Benefits of Continuing Therapy Post-Treatment 

Post-treatment life comes with several new challenges. Reintegrating into everyday life will have its ups and downs. Luckily, continuing therapy can help you tackle these challenges as they arise. 

Risk for Relapse 

With your newfound life of recovery, different challenges can increase your risk for relapse. Staying in therapy can help with these risks. For example, you will have identified triggers during treatment, but new and unexpected triggers may present during recovery. 

Talking things out is vital for avoiding relapse. You can talk to a friend, relative, or other trusted confidante, but having a therapist is also helpful. A therapist can offer professional insights, which may help you when the risk of relapse seems more intense.  

Handling Cravings Post-Treatment 

In addition to helping reduce the risk of relapse, continuing therapy post-treatment will also help you handle cravings. Cravings may never go away, but they can subside after time in treatment. The end of a rehabilitation program does not constitute the end of recovery. Rehab is the first step. 

Due to the chronic nature of SUD, new cravings may, unfortunately, present themselves. Treatment is the time to learn coping skills for handling cravings, but using those tools is what counts. There will most likely be growing pains and some trial and error. Discussing these hardships with a professional may help you as you implement the tools learned in treatment. 

Continuing Therapy in Recovery 

Therapy is not only beneficial for individuals in early recovery. Continuing therapy throughout your sobriety can be helpful. Especially when dealing with co-occurring disorders, talk therapy or behavioral interventions can help you cope with issues as they arise. If you are concerned about finding the right therapist post-treatment, don't worry. Before leaving your treatment facility, ask for referrals or resources you can utilize to find a good therapist near you or virtually. The professionals at your facility should be able to help you with this search. 

Rehabilitation is the first step in a long journey toward recovery, but it is possible. Continuing therapy post-treatment can help with your journey.

Have you recently completed an addiction treatment program or been in recovery for quite some time? If so, did you continue attending therapy post-treatment, and if not, did you wish you had? Before leaving treatment, individuals typically devise a relapse prevention plan which helps them formulate ways to maintain their recovery and prevent relapse long-term. Therapy is an effective tool in treatment and can continue being effective well into recovery. While the types of therapy vary, many modalities can help you manage triggers, handle cravings, prevent relapse, and help you cope with the core issues surrounding your SUD. NorthStar Transitions can point you in the right direction to keep up with therapy and relapse prevention. Call (303) 558-6400

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