Aftercare Treatment Program

The Aftercare Program at White Light

Our aftercare program is a follow-up treatment process that a client pursues after completing their rehabilitation program so as to avoid relapsing. The client gets to work with support groups or alumni programs as they try to transition back to their normal lives outside a rehab facility.

Aftercare programs are essential in the recovery process because they allow clients to work on building healthy coping skills and reducing their risk of relapse. During the program, clients can work with a sponsor to build positive relationships with the people around them. Clients can also seek advice and vent to their sponsors whenever they are overwhelmed and feel like there is a possibility they could relapse. A sponsor is typically a sober friend the client trusts and talks to in confidentiality whenever they are struggling to remain sober.

There are many benefits to enrolling in an aftercare program. These include the following.

Prevention of a Relapse

Relapse is a considerable risk in the long-term recovery process. Relapse occurs when a client falls back into old behavior patterns and uses drugs once again after being sober for a while. It’s essential to remain in contact with the support system you built at rehab so as to prevent a relapse. These include your sponsor and sober friends.

Building Healthy Relationships

The foundation of recovery is built on healthy relationships. Once the client gets clean from drugs and alcohol, it’s essential for them to maintain a strong supportive network of sober friends who are available for support and encouragement. This helps prevent possible risks of relapse because the client can talk to people who understand what they are going through, especially when they find it hard to go on while sober.

Access to Mental Health Services

Aftercare programs provide clients with access to mental health services, enabling them to address their mental health needs. Often, individuals who develop drug use disorder have other mental health issues. Relapse is much more likely if a client is experiencing mental health issues during the early days of their life after completing rehab.

If the client’s mental health issues are not addressed at a treatment facility, it could cause them to turn to drug use to cope with their psychological or mental trauma. Accessing mental health services after completing their rehabilitation program enables clients to learn to manage their depression or anxiety appropriately and develop healthy coping skills to prevent relapse.

Academic, Social, Emotional, and Cognitive Growth

Aftercare programs help clients to build on the social and emotional growth they made during treatment. Even though clients may have completed their treatment program and managed to stay sober throughout the program, there is still a considerable risk of relapse because they are returning to their old lives and relationships. As a result, it is necessary for them to work on rebuilding their social, emotional, and cognitive development before returning to their everyday lives.

The academic component involves clients connecting what they learned in treatment with the choices they make and actions they take in everyday life. They can start by using their newly learned coping skills whenever a problem or a challenging situation arises for them.

Management of Stressors and Triggers

Through aftercare programs, clients get to learn various coping skills and tools they can use to manage stressors and triggers associated with substance abuse. This makes it easier for them to remain sober and avoid relapsing because they are able to develop support systems and appropriate coping mechanisms.

Additionally, some clients who survived significant traumatic experiences may find it difficult to sleep properly or feel restless. This makes them more likely to relapse because they are more vulnerable to cravings for drugs and alcohol. The aftercare program can help clients work on their sleeping habits and develop healthy ways to relax.

Integration Into Society

Aftercare programs help individuals develop a lifestyle that is more stable and balanced. They learn skills and tools that enable them to maintain healthy lifestyles. These essential skills and tools include healthy diet plans, fundamental exercises, maintenance of employment, nurturing relationships with sober friends, and involvement in recovery-oriented activities such as volunteering for community activities.

Furthermore, the relationships formed during treatment support the client’s post-treatment recovery. Clients tend to form a strong bond with each other while undergoing rehab in a treatment facility. The strong relationships the clients develop transcend outside the program and are crucial to their long-term success. This is because these relationships provide a strong foundation that helps them maintain a sense of normality in their daily life after recovery.

From Dependency to Recovery

Substance use disorder is a dangerous, life-altering problem. It leads to uncontrolled and hazardous use of drugs such as nicotine, alcohol, prescription drugs, and marijuana.

Research conducted by the CDC showed that about 65.8 million U.S. adults liked and had a habit of binge drinking, while 35.8 million were either using illegal drugs or abusing prescription pain medication. Of those surveyed as part of the study, the most commonly reported substance used was alcohol (35.8%), followed by cannabis (24.9%), prescription opioids (misuse) (18.5%), illicit stimulants (14%), heroin (10.2%), prescription sedatives or tranquilizers (misuse) (8.5%), cocaine (7.4%), illicit fentanyl (4.9%), and prescription stimulants (misuse) (1.8%).

Substance use disorder is a public health crisis, and the number of people abusing and misusing drugs is only growing. But what might be the cause of these rising numbers?

Causes of Drug Abuse

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), drug and substance use is caused by a complex mixture of biological, psychological, social, and environmental factors that ultimately lead to adverse outcomes in the form of over dependency on drugs and other health problems. Often, it is not a single factor but a combination of different factors that lead people to abuse and misuse drugs.

Personality traits are crucial in determining whether or not an individual will eventually become dependent on drugs. While the context in which people use drugs can be different, some environmental factors make drug abuse and misuse more likely. For example, if an individual has friends with substance use disorder, they are more likely to start using similar drugs because of peer pressure. 

Social factors also contribute to substance use disorder and may include family history, trauma, physical and sexual abuse, early initiation into substance use, poor parental relationships, and poor coping skills. Stressful life events like the death of a relative can also lead to drug use disorder.

A significant event in an individual’s life, such as a divorce, can also lead to substance abuse. In a survey conducted by the NCBI, 70% of those with substance use disorder had a history of trauma exposure. However, not every significant or traumatic event causes people to develop substance use disorder. Some people may take drugs to cope with the trauma they experienced at some point in their lives. This is also dangerous because it can also lead to overdependence on drugs.

Another direct example of an environmental factor that makes substance abuse more likely is the neighborhood that someone lives in. Communities affected by structural racism, such as inner-city minority neighborhoods, are more likely to experience high levels of substance abuse and crime. Several studies have shown that drug dealing and criminalized markets increase neighborhood crime and violence, with inner-city minority neighborhoods particularly vulnerable to substance abuse.

Perceived and actual economic deprivation can also contribute to substance use disorder. Individuals experiencing a lack of economic security are more likely to become involved in drug dealing or other illicit endeavors, leading them to abuse and misuse drugs. Poverty often causes unemployed individuals in low-income areas to turn to illegal activities like dealing drugs or stealing due to a lack of available income sources.

Fortunately, if you have been affected by substance use and would like to recover and get your life back on track, you have many options for getting better. But why and how should you get help?

How and Why You Should Get Help for Substance Use Disorder

Substance use creates a ripple effect that spreads and adversely affects various sectors of your life. Many people lose their jobs and families and face legal problems that lead to jail time for drug-related charges and possession. This ultimately affects the lives of those close to you. It becomes especially difficult for those that directly depend on you to provide for them, like children or the elderly.

Drug and substance abuse can lead to overdose, which could result in death. Deaths from drug overdose have quadrupled in the United States since 1990. A report from the CDC shows that more than 100,000 people died from drug overdose in the U.S. during a 12-month period ending in April 2021.

Substance abuse can lead to several mental health problems, including anxiety, depression, and psychosis. It can also lead to difficulty concentrating and cognitive impairment, which causes memory loss.

How can you get help? Fortunately, there are many different programs and ways to overcome substance use disorder. However, you must first accept that you have a problem and need help before committing to any rehabilitation treatment program. Often, this is the hardest step. 

You should then visit a doctor, who will refer you to a qualified therapist who specializes in helping people suffering from substance use disorder. You can also find qualified specialists in your area on the SAMHSA website.

Road to Recovery

There is no perfect way to recover from drug and alcohol abuse. Detoxification is usually the first step in treatment before the rehabilitation process begins. 

There is no one-size fits all approach to substance withdrawal. Instead, there are many different paths to getting better. One example of a practical treatment pathway for withdrawal is the Matrix Model. The Matrix Model is a comprehensive treatment approach that helps clients deal with multiple aspects of substance abuse.

This model includes inpatient (residential) and outpatient levels of care and family support services. It helps clients stay sober even after they complete their treatment and leave the treatment facilities they stayed in during the rehabilitation process.

Treatments for Drug Use Disorder

Mental health professionals manage and oversee treatment for clients who are highly dependent on drugs. Depending on the severity of the client’s drug dependency, treatment can last six to 12 months. The treatment usually involves daily visits to a clinic or hospital for group therapy and possibly individual counseling sessions. But what is the treatment for drug use disorder?

There are several strategies for successfully treating drug dependency. These include:


Medication is a standard treatment option for drug use disorder. You should note that no medication can cure addiction. This is because it’s a behavioral disorder that needs long-term behavioral changes for successful treatment. However, medication can help you get through withdrawal and manage acute symptoms so as to help you focus on staying healthy and sober.

Behavioral Counseling

Behavioral counseling is also a standard treatment for drug use disorder. Behavioral counseling helps clients with substance use disorder to develop healthy ways to deal with the intense urge they frequently have to take specific drugs. Clients in behavioral counseling are taught techniques, skills, and tools to help them avoid situations and triggers that could cause them to relapse. Behavioral counseling can occur in different settings, including inpatient and outpatient facilities.

Inpatient Behavioral Treatment

Inpatient behavioral treatment is often a client’s first stop in recovery from drug or alcohol use disorder. It involves living at a clinic or hospital for several weeks or months while receiving treatment to cope with withdrawal and developing abstinence from drugs. It also includes behavioral counseling and individual, family, and group therapy sessions to help individuals to learn coping skills that can help them abstain from drug use even after rehab.

Outpatient Behavioral Treatment

Outpatient behavioral treatment is available for clients who cannot leave their jobs, homes, or children. It involves attending therapy several times a week at an outpatient clinic. Outpatient treatment can last between six months and two years, depending on the severity of the client’s drug dependency and willingness to recover.

At White Light Behavioral Health, we offer inpatient and outpatient treatment programs for clients in Columbus, OH. We are committed to helping clients recover from substance use disorder and lead productive lives.

Long-Term Follow Up

Transitioning from rehabilitation in a facility to sharing your struggles with drug dependency with a sponsor is critical to long-term recovery. Aftercare programs usually run for three to five years. They help prevent the possibility of a relapse in clients who have completed their rehabilitation treatment program. But what do aftercare programs entail?

Ready to Get Help?

The recovery process at White Light Behavioral Health involves working on personal growth and development. White Light Behavioral Health’s aftercare program begins with a client visit from a sober coach. During this visit, clients discuss what they have learned and how they integrate their new coping skills into daily life. With the sober coach’s help, clients can work on managing stressors or triggers such as social media and hangouts with old friends who consume drugs and alcohol.

Drug and alcohol use disorder is a chronic disease that can be treated and managed with professional help. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, get the help you need by reaching out to White Light Behavioral Health today.

Reviewed By:

Dr. Ryan Wakim, M.D.

Dr. Wakim is a board-certified psychiatrist with a passion for and expertise in addiction, mood disorders, trauma-related disorders and the subspecialty of interventional psychiatry. He obtained his medical degree from West Virginia University where he also completed his residency training, finishing as chief resident. Dr. Wakim co-founded and served as the CEO of Transformations leading to a successful merger with Shore Capital in May 2021. He is purpose driven towards improving the standard of and removing stigma related to behavioral healthcare. Dr. Wakim enjoys golf, traveling and time spent with his two dogs, Lulu and Rayna.

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