Continuum of Care for Addiction Treatment

The Continuum of Care for Addiction Treatment

Continuum of Care appears as a common term throughout the recovery community and is a critical part of addiction treatment. Anyone who is seeking help for alcohol or substance use disorders will likely come across this term, but they may not understand exactly what it means.

The continuum of care refers to a specific and very detailed plan tailored for the individual seeking sobriety. That plan will change from person to person, and the only thing that is universal in a continuum of care plan is that there is no quick-fix solution to addiction, substance abuse, and alcohol use. If you’re interested in seeking treatment, regardless of the substance, you will likely have a continuum of care when you enter into a rehab program or facility.

What is the Continuum of Care?

Continuum of care, as a term, refers to the individual plan for recovery. That means that it’s tailored to the individual, addresses their needs on both a medical and emotional scale, and addresses the element of aftercare. If a treatment plan does not address aftercare, then it is not a complete continuum of care program. People may choose to only participate in certain aspects of the continuum of care, however a complete program will provide a plan for aftercare.

Typically, a continuum of care will look at very specific categories. The continuum of care should address detox, mental evaluation, recommended treatment approach, planning, and management for continued sobriety, ongoing therapy, long-term wellness, housing, and aftercare.

The first part of the term, “continuum,” represents the gradual transition from struggling with addiction to experiencing sobriety. We know that addiction is both chronic and progressive, especially those involving chemical dependency. The sobriety community understands that this isn’t a disease that can be stopped. Continuum of care doesn’t aim to deliver someone into sobriety and declare them well or cured. The recovery community understands that there is no end to the sober journey.

Why it is Important to Treat Both Issues Simultaneously

There are so many elements that are present in addiction treatment that it is easy to get lost and pre-constructed treatment programs. A stripped-down process works best because it allows the facility to create a truly personalized treatment experience. Experts have found that personalized and individualized medicine continues to grow in popularity and with good purpose. The role of personalized medicine in addiction centers may encourage people to stick with sobriety for longer or completely address how to overcome relapse triggers.

When looking at the individual needs for treatment, it can eliminate some of the unnecessary and possibly traumatic or painful experiences. Treatment is not easy, and for many people, the challenge spurs them into lifelong sobriety, while some others can’t say the same—the issue here is how addiction treatment centers manage their programs.

When entering into a program, the question should be whether or not someone needs detox or medical detox. Not that detox is an absolute requirement, as it’s possible for someone to detox independently or not need medical care during detox depending on the state of their chemical dependence and the substance they’re struggling with. However, anyone considering rehabilitation should discuss the possibility and different methods for detox with a professional who can evaluate their needs and state of addiction.

People suffering from addiction certainly don’t want to be treated on an assembly-line basis. Having staff usher patients from detox to therapy, to a handshake before being sent out into the world isn’t effective. The tailored process allows each rehab facility and the professionals working to evaluate a person and help determine a path that addresses their specific needs.

Elements of Addiction Treatment

Drug rehab, alcohol rehab, alcohol detox, drug detox, medical detox, and dual diagnosis are critical elements in certain cases of addiction treatment.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine has labeled five key points in the continuum for substance abuse treatment services. It’s at these five levels that treatment professionals can evaluate a patient’s needs and address the best approach for helping them build a sober life.

The five levels are:

1.  Early intervention services

2.  Outpatient services

3.  Intensive outpatient services

4.  Residential and inpatient services

5.  Medically managed intensive inpatient services.

The ASAM also has four stages used to describe the standard continuum of care for outpatient programs. The start is with treatment engagement when a person is interested and willing to undergo treatment, then flows into early recovery. Afterward, the continuum of care should address maintaining sobriety and establishing community support.

Some may need all five; some may only need levels one and two. The point is that each of these should go through some consideration when creating an individualized treatment program.

Throughout these levels or stages, there should be evident attention on physical well-being, mental health support, and emotional growth support. Addiction treatment is often rigorous. It is extremely demanding, which is why it is so important that doctors, nurses, and skilled therapists be available at all times.

From Detox to After Care Programs

Detox is where almost all Continuum of Care plans begin. Many rehabilitation centers demand that anyone coming in undergo detox. Detoxing on your own is extremely dangerous, especially for those misusing alcohol. Many drugs can incite deadly detox side effects. It is always best to detox with medical and emotional support. Talk with a rehabilitation facility about your detox options.

At River Side Recovery Center our detoxes rely on the staff of skilled doctors, nurses, and therapists. Ideally, detox will be a situation where the patient understands that they are safe and has some level of comfort.

After detox, it’s possible that a Continuum of Care would call for an IOP, PHP, or OP program.  These programs vary, and they offer enhanced services depending on the needs of the patient.  This is for many people who suffer from addiction and bounce around addiction recovery centers note the biggest differences.

People suffering from addiction certainly don’t want to be treated on an assembly-line basis. Having staff usher patients from detox to therapy, to a handshake before being sent out into the world isn’t effective. The tailored process allows each rehab facility and the professionals working to evaluate a person and help determine a path that addresses their specific needs.

Residential Programs

Residential programs are straightforward. The person struggling with addiction lives on-site with strict rules and expectations. Here the patient can receive any medical care they need as part of their recovery while also working through different forms of therapy to address trauma, address dual diagnosis, and build sober habits.

Php Programs

PHP, or partial hospitalization programs, initially began with Dr. Albert E Moll.  The ideas behind these programs is that sometimes people need inpatient treatment but simply can’t be away from their families or work obligations for that long.

It is during a PHP program where most people suffering from addiction will build coping mechanisms and address the root cause of their addiction. They may have sober habits now, or established sobriety but they may need a PHP program to learn how to maintain and sustain that sobriety. Dual diagnosis is often addressed during PHP treatment.

PHP also reduces the cost of long-term care that comes with some inpatient programs. Partial hospitalization is becoming more common for the treatment of alcohol misuse disorder and substance abuse disorder. These programs act as a hybrid treatment option, which allows the person to commute into treatment each day or spend some time in the center regularly while attending all therapy sessions and meeting the requirements for sobriety. PHP is also a natural step down from residential treatment.  The person can move from the residential program, to continuing their recovery while commuting from home to treatment.

IOP Programs

An Individualized Outpatient Program, or sometimes called an IOP, offers services that are done on-site or through community-based agencies. IOP stands for an intensive outpatient program. Typically in IOP won’t require detox, and it allows the person experiencing addiction to go on with their day-to-day lives. It does not disrupt their living situation and does not demand that they live separately from their family or current home environment.

It is possible that an IOP would be used alongside an inpatient program to help ease the patient back into a daily routine. Typically in IOP is recommended for people who need to establish support mechanisms, develop coping strategies, and understand how to properly manage relapse triggers.

IOP programs typically aim to:

  • Achieve abstinence
  • Develop behavioral changes for a new lifestyle
  • Active participation in the recovery community
  • Addresses housing and employment after treatment and probation if necessary.
  • Help people in recovery develop positive support networks.
  • Cultivate coping strategies and problem-solving skills

OP Programs

There is a substantial amount of argument regarding the effectiveness and success of outpatient programs. Typically the recovery community sites outpatient programs as having a lower success rate. However, it is important to cover how the recovery community assesses the success of a program. Success is simply the completion of the program.  On the whole, rehabilitation programs have a 40 to 60% success rate.  The success rate does not account for relapse, which can be high after inpatient program completion because of being thrust back into daily life.

Outpatient programs often start at three months and extend to over a year. This extended time frame often creates more sustainable sobriety when people do complete the program. It’s probable that those who complete outpatient programs are less likely to relapse.

An OP program is often the step down from an IOP, allowing the person in recovery to move from an IOP to an OP as part of their recovery journey. Overall, these programs are best for someone with a mild addiction or someone who has reached and maintained sobriety in the past. Typically they require 10 to 12 hours a week if they are not intensive.

Outpatient programs aim to help the patient create a normal daily routine with healthy habits that keeps them away from their drug of choice for alcohol. The patient does stay at home as this is not a partial hospitalization program, the person is free to leave every night, and they may even stay home at night and then work during the day and only go through treatment in their off-hours. For many families, outpatient programs seem like the only option in order to achieve sobriety and maintain the household income level.

What Level of Care Do I Need for My Addiction?

What level of care do you need? That depends on the extent of your addiction. If you’ve mildly struggled with alcoholism and have decided that enough is enough, then you may only need an outpatient program to keep you accountable and learn how to address relapse triggers. However, if you’ve spent years seeking out new thrill after new thrill with little regard for the consequences, then you might need more advanced care.

When you go to a rehab facility, you should have a trained professional sit down with you and assess your extent of addiction. They should also carefully evaluate your experiences with addiction considering your family history, personal experience, and past experiences in treatment

The levels suggested by the ASAM indicate degrees of treatment, with preventative measures being the base level and long-term intensive inpatient care as the top tier. Your continuum of care may include multiple levels from that list and may progress from the higher levels down to the lower levels. The level you need to start at will depend on your needs and your experiences.

How to Start the Continuum of Care for Addiction Treatment

To start individualized treatment program, you can reach out to River Side Recovery Center. It is likely that your continuum of care will begin with detox, but the type of detox and the type of rehab that follows should all accommodate your unique needs. Whether you need to address specific types of abuse, trauma, dual diagnosis, or other very specific elements of your addition, you should have a personalized treatment plan.

Get more information on the possible continuum of care for you by speaking with us at River Side Recovery Center. We provide 100% private and confidential care in order to help people get the help they need. At River Side Recovery Center, we have an around-the-clock addiction resource hotline. You can start your continuum of care with a detox staffed with doctors, nurses, and masters or Ph.D. level therapists.