Drug and alcohol abuse can create havoc in an individual’s life, upsetting their physical, emotional, and social stability. In substance abuse therapy, clients learn how to cope with the situations that led them to drink or use, while acquiring deeper self-knowledge and learning how to communicate effectively with others. Case management, on the other hand, fulfills the client’s need for assistance in rebuilding his or her life.

This may involve providing services such as:

  • Referrals to medical or mental health professionals in the community
  • Access to legal and financial services
  • Assistance with affordable housing, child care, or transportation
  • Advocacy within the criminal justice system

Case managers fill a variety of roles in the recovery process. They act as supporters and motivators, engaging clients in treatment and encouraging them to strive for their goals. They can also serve as advocates, supporting the client in legal or financial conflicts. Case managers also assess their clients on an ongoing basis to help the treatment team determine whether they are ready to take the next step in their treatment plan.

When it’s time to make the transition from one level of care to another, case managers help to make this change as seamless as possible. This intervention allows the client to maintain continuity of care, from the initial stages of detox and rehab through outpatient treatment and aftercare.

Why Is Case Management Necessary?

Why is case management so important to the recovery process? According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, one of the most critical functions of a case manager is to provide a point of contact between the client and the various agencies, groups, and professionals associated with that client. Many individuals in recovery are involved with medical professionals, mental health therapists, community groups, legal agencies, and the criminal justice system. They may need to have a professional intermediary who can communicate with their employer, their attorney, their doctor, or with family members.

Case managers are skilled at juggling multiple needs among multiple clients, serving as liaisons between the client and the community.

How Are Case Managers Trained and Certified?

Case managers may have a professional background in social work, nursing, legal services, or counseling. After receiving specialized education and training in case management, they can qualify for certification by national professional organizations, such as the Commission for Case Manager Certification, or the American Case Management Association. Not all case managers are certified; however, certification indicates that the individual has achieved a high level of education and expertise in this complex field.

Whatever their original background and education might be, case managers come to the profession with a commitment to providing their clients with practical resources and skills. At the same time, they also work to assess the clients’ strengths, anticipate their needs, and help them overcome obstacles. Case managers fulfill the important function of helping individuals in recovery to navigate the sea of resources that they need to create the future they want.

How Does Case Management Work?

Case management services are provided through many facilities and agencies, from substance abuse treatment centers to community mental health clinics, social services agencies, legal clinics, insurance companies, hospitals, and courts.

In substance abuse treatment, clients are assigned to a case manager who assists them on numerous levels, including:

  • Helping the client initiate treatment and proceed smoothly through the stages of recovery
  • Making appointments or arranging referrals with doctors, therapists, or psychiatrists
  • Linking the clients with financial benefits, such as temporary disability, that can help him or her maintain personal stability while receiving treatment
  • Connecting the client with financial aid or benefits that can help him or her with the costs of housing, child care, and other necessary expenses
  • Coordinating the client’s appointments and obligations
  • Meeting with the client at appointments or consultations to act as an advocate and gather information
  • Helping the client identify his or her personal strengths and skills
  • Providing access to vocational opportunities or educational assistance so that the client can advance in his or her career
  • Monitoring the course of treatment to make sure that the services the client is receiving are effective and appropriate

The most progressive substance abuse treatment facilities are staffed by full-time case managers who are available to consult with clients on a regular basis. Like therapists, case managers meet with their clients in one-on-one consultations or in group meetings with family members, partners, or other professionals. However, unlike therapists, case managers generally focus on the more practical needs of the client, rather than on psychological and emotional aspects of substance abuse.

Case managers may help a client in treatment find employment, locate sober housing accommodations, enroll in an aftercare program, or find a mental health professional who can manage their medications. Ultimately, the case manager’s goal is to gather the resources that the client needs to become more self-sufficient and independent. In this capacity, a case manager’s role is to empower the client to take charge of his or her life, and to build a more stable foundation for that life.

Advantages of Case Management in Treatment

Case management offers many benefits to clients in treatment for drug or alcohol abuse. In addition to the practical services and expertise that they contribute to the client, case managers support their clients on an emotional and psychological level in the following ways:

  • By reducing personal, legal, or financial stress so the client can focus on recovery
  • By easing the client’s transition back into the community, reducing the risk of a return to drug or alcohol use
  • By helping the client build a sense of self-worth and self-efficacy
  • By giving the client a sense of reassurance, knowing that they have an advocate who can back them up in a crisis

A client with a good case manager feels stronger, more confident, and more secure. That’s why we include full-time case management among our many advanced recovery services at Orlando Recovery Center. Our case managers collaborate closely with their clients to help them achieve their full potential, not only in substance abuse treatment, but also in life in general. Call our intake specialists at any time to find out how you or a loved one could benefit from our advanced recovery programs.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.