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How Does Addiction Treatment Discharge Planning Work?

Deciding to go to rehab for your addiction is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make, however, what happens after rehab is equally important. An addiction treatment center can treat the root cause of your addiction, change your behaviors, and help you develop healthy coping skills, but if you don’t stick to the things you learned in rehab, you can quickly devolve back into old behaviors.

Relapse occurs in nearly 40-60% of people who seek substance abuse treatment, but there are steps individuals and addiction treatment centers can take to mitigate the risk of relapse. One of these steps involves discharge or aftercare planning. Discharge planning is the process of working with your therapist to develop a plan that outlines what you will do after being discharged from the treatment program.

What is Discharge Planning?

Discharge planning is exactly what it sounds like: making a plan for your discharge from rehab. You will typically work with your primary therapist and/or case manager to create the right discharge plan for you.

There are two parts to discharge planning: planning for immediate discharge and planning for long-term aftercare. Immediate discharge refers to the day you leave the facility. Leaving rehab can be scary and overwhelming, so it’s helpful to figure out the details ahead of time. Your case manager can help you figure out who is picking you up from rehab, what time you’re leaving the facility, how you will get your belongings and medications, and what you will do immediately after leaving rehab.

Aftercare planning is a more complex aspect of discharge planning as it involves making a plan for the first few months of your recovery. For example, aftercare planning will help you find a sober living home, locate a local support group, enroll in continued counseling sessions, and more. If you stick to your aftercare plan as outlined by the clinical staff, you’re more likely to stay sober and on the right track.

What Should Discharge Planning Address?

There are several major components that make for a successful discharge plan. Addiction treatment discharge planning should address:

  • Your current housing situation
  • Short and long-term goals
  • Physical and mental wellness
  • Peer support
  • Collaboration with all necessary medical professionals who are involved with your care
  • Communication with the family
  • Your financial situation/budgeting
  • Employment options and resume building

Popular Aftercare Programs and Services

Everyone has their own unique needs when it comes to recovery, so everyone’s aftercare plan may look slightly different. Some of the most popular forms of drug rehab aftercare include:

  • Sober living Sober living programs provide safe and substance-free housing for people in early recovery. This is a great option for people who do not have access to safe, supportive housing and those who can benefit from living with a support network.
  • Outpatient rehab – Outpatient rehab is addiction treatment therapy sessions held on an ambulatory or scheduled basis. Attending outpatient treatment can help ease the transition from rehab to recovery.
  • Alumni program – Some addiction treatment centers have an alumni program that brings together former treatment center attendees for meetings, events, and networking opportunities. Alumni programs are a great way to stay connected with your rehab center and develop a network of sober support.
  • Support groups – Support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), and others are a vital part of recovery. Surrounding yourself with other sober individuals may reduce the risk of relapse.
  • Medication management – If you are prescribed any medication-assisted treatment (MAT) medications, such as Suboxone or Vivitrol, you will be asked to continue meeting with your physician for regular exams and assessments. Medication management ensures that you remain compliant with your medications.
  • Mental health counseling – People who struggle with co-occurring mental health conditions like depression or bipolar disorder may require continued mental health counseling. Your rehab center may provide counseling or refer you to someone better suited to care for your situation.

While the clinical team is responsible for helping you formulate the right discharge plan for you, it is up to you to follow through with it. If you don’t attend the meetings you are encouraged to attend or show up for your therapy sessions, it is possible you could return to old habits and experience a relapse. For the best outcome, you must stick to your discharge plan as closely as possible.

Take the First Step Toward Recovery Today

Recovery begins with a phone call asking for help and a commitment to trying to get better. At Mandala Healing Center, our compassionate admissions counselors are available 24 hours a day to take your call, assess your needs, and help you get started with one of our holistic addiction treatment programs. Toward the end of your stay with us, our experienced addiction counselors will work with you to develop a personalized discharge plan according to your needs to make sure you’re ready for the future.

Don’t wait any longer to get the help that you need. Call now to start your recovery journey.