The Importance Of Continuing Care
Addiction is a lifelong condition, but that doesn’t mean using substances has to continue after treatment. Dr. Ashish Bhatt, MD, talks aftercare, the importance of a TEAM, and why receiving treatment once you’ve finished rehabilitation is key.
Dr. Bhatt: Hi, this is Dr. Bhatt, the medical content director at AddictionCenter.com. I want to take a moment from Straight Talk With The Doc and talk a little bit about aftercare and the importance of receiving treatment once you finish rehabilitation if you suffer with a substance use disorder. Addiction unfortunately often will persist throughout our lifetime, but that doesn’t mean the activity of using substances has to.
Addiction happens to be defined as a chronic brain disease and a chronic illness, just like diabetes or asthma. It’s often a construct of our environment on top of our underlying genetics. That doesn’t mean that this is something that’s only inherited, but 50 percent of our construction mixed with everything else, the presence or absence of life experiences, mental health issues, early life hood traumas, early exposure to substances. These are all risk factors for developing drug and alcohol addiction. So, once this actual relationship develops, this evolved over time, once you receive treatment it takes time to actually undo a lot of the triggers, a lot of the environment cues or the relationships that often led to us using substances in the first place. When people finish rehabilitation hopefully they’ve gained the tools that they need to actually put them to get use and maintaining solid sobriety and recovery once you leave treatment. So, you need to have a good team around you in order to maintain that sobriety. Team also can help stand for an acronym such as therapy, environment, anonymous, and medications to help address those things that have often been the cause of why we use in the first place.
Let’s start with T. Therapy helps with us digging in and addressing any depression, mental health issues, trauma related things that might be unresolved or ongoing as we go and enter our life of sobriety. E, our environment. The person, places, things, and situations that have often acted as triggers for thoughts, our emotions, and ultimately the behaviors of using substances. A, our support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or narcotics anonymous. These peer related support groups can be a really helpful thing in maintaining sobriety, often by having a sponsor, somebody to help us guide the way in living a life of long-term recovery. And medications, medications can often be used to help address any underlying medical, physical, emotional conditions that need to be addressed such as depression, or a pain disorder, or any other thing that might be addressed by proper treatment with a physician.
So, as a chronic brain disease just like any other illness, keep in mind that it’s important to not just leave rehabilitation and think that I can just do this alone, but create a good team around you of support so you can achieve that lifelong recovery and maintain sobriety. And a lot of information regarding this can be found on addictioncenter.com. that can link you up with proper treatment centers that can help you achieve that lifelong recovery.