Defining Aftercare

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Every person is different and will require a somewhat tailored treatment plan when it comes to substance abuse and/ or addiction. Addiction, also referred to as substance use disorder, is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a relapsing brain disorder. It is characterized by compulsively engaging in rewarding stimuli regardless of the adverse consequences. The recovery process from addiction is not linear. It is important to note that the majority of individuals diagnosed with substance use disorder do not simply develop an addiction instantaneously. Therefore, it is erroneous to assume that the treatment process will be a fast and simple process. The different phases of recovery include detox (ridding one’s body of foreign substances), formalized substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment, and aftercare. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines aftercare as “the care, treatment, help, or supervision given to persons discharged from an institution…” During any formal substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment program, an individual will develop an aftercare plan with his or her clinical support team. This plan serves as a resource providing an individual with subsequent guidance and suggestions so as to assist in one’s continued sobriety and relapse prevention. 

Aftercare Plans

The suggestions provided in aftercare plans are intended to help reduce stress and cope with cravings after an individual completes a substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment program. Depending on the needs of the individual, aftercare plans can be comprised of a range of suggestions, including a mix of extremely detailed recommendations to more broad ideas. Aftercare plans can help to provide suggestions related to reducing exposure to certain known triggers as well as minimize the effects associated with facing certain unavoidable triggers. They can include mock schedules for individuals to follow to help with consistency and structure. Aftercare plans can also include lists of healthy pastimes such as attending specific exercise classes, engaging in creative outlets (e.g. painting classes, ceramic lessons, etc.), and additional sober social activities. Aftercare plans can also include a blueprint for individuals to refer to when they have relapsed. They can include a variety of addiction support group meeting options, and even provide suggestions regarding the number of recommended meetings an individual should attend weekly. Aftercare plans are fluid documents that can grow and adjust with an individual as his or her needs shift throughout the recovery process.  

For Information and Support 

If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one in regards to substance abuse and/ or addiction we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.

Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our specific program at Haven House Addiction Treatment and/ or general substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment related information. Our highly trained staff is readily available to discuss how we might best be able to help you and your loved one. We can be reached by phone at 424-318-3777. You are also welcome to contact anytime us via email at

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