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Importance of Long Term Rehab in Recovery

According to the Institute of Medicine (US), “The length of time in treatment consistently has been found to be an important determinant of both short- and long-term improvement.” Recovery is a process of changes for the better and there is a grave importance of long-term rehab in recovery that many people just don’t get when it comes to the complexity of addiction.

The harmful consequences of substance abuse and addiction extend far beyond the user into the lives of their families. It impacts physical, emotional, and psychological health, employability, housing, finances, freedom, and more. For many, treatment lasting less than 90 days does little to approach underlying or co-existing issues that addicts will have to contend with on their own once treatment is over and that’s where the importance of long term rehab in recovery comes in.

Addressing the Complexity of Addiction

long term rehab in recovery

Long term rehab in recovery allows for a better understanding of how addiction works.

Once you begin on a path of substance abuse, changes, out of your control, immediately begin to happen. With every exposure, adaptations within the brain and body, within your behaviors and experiences, and within your social functioning, begin to shape you into someone different. The longer you continue to use, the more involved things become and it will take some time to re-align yourself with who you once were, let alone get back into living a healthy, happy, satisfying, and productive life.

According to the NIDA, “Effective treatment attends to multiple needs of the individual, not just his or her drug abuse.” Of course the duration and intensity levels of treatment depend on the unique circumstance of each individual, but, anyone who knows, knows, that detox is just the beginning and alone, does little to help them remain abstinent in the long run.

Long term rehab in recovery is geared toward more personalized approach where treatment can be uniquely designed for the addict for as long as it takes. This way they gain the most out of services available through the facility and outreach sources where compliance with treatment protocols often determine eligibilities such as medication assisted withdrawals and maintenance or psychosocial services that address mental health, familial, vocational, and legal issues.

Staying Motivated

Recovery motivation involves recognizing problems, finding ways to change, and sticking with those changes. It is a common scenario that after detox and once a person starts to feel better regaining their senses of strength and clarity, they are highly motivated, but, over time, complacency seeps in and the healthy motivations begin to falter. Some of the main reasons people lose their motivations are:

  • Stress and dealing with the painful consequences of their addiction
  • Unrealistic expectations and subsequent disappointments
  • Taking abstinence for granted
  • Getting caught up in life’s circumstances and forgetting about taking care of themselves
  • Returning to old scenes, old habits, or old friends that remind them of using

Long term rehab in recovery keeps addicts motivated toward their goals of recovery by giving them the time, resources, guidance, and support they need to practice making the right choices, improve overall health and social functioning, and learn from mistakes when they happen without having to back-track.

Building Positive Relationships

Recovery without support is self-defeating and for those who have a lot to overcome or continue to lose their way in recovery, long term rehab in recovery will be the most important of life choices they can make. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “An individual’s motivation to change can be strongly influenced by family, friends, emotions, and community support. Lack of community support, such as barriers to health care, employment, and public perception of substance abuse, can also affect an individual’s motivation.”

The changes one must make in recovery can leave them confused about where they are going to next and it’s difficult to stay on the right path without positive influences to help guide and support you or reel you back in when you go too far. Support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) offer real life help from individuals who have already been there and enhance the importance of long term rehab in recovery.

Dealing with Relapse

According to the NIDA,” Because drug addiction is typically a chronic disorder characterized by occasional relapses, a short-term, one-time treatment is usually not sufficient. For many, treatment is a long-term process that involves multiple interventions and regular monitoring.” By some estimates, relapse rates can be as high as 85% when it comes to certain types of drugs and for heavy or long term abusers, relapse may seem inevitable with the most difficult periods from the first six months to a year after achieving abstinence.

Viewing relapse as a character flaw, however, can diminish the motivations to seek treatment again after relapse although this would be the best thing to do. According to the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, “When setbacks occur, it is important for the person in recovery to avoid getting stuck, discouraged, or demoralized. Clients can learn from the experience of relapse and then commit to a new cycle of action.” Long term rehab in recovery can reduce the risks of having to go through these unnecessary pains that often lead to worsening conditions or possibly, death.

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