Research studies have shown that a comprehensive aftercare program can substantially increase a patient’s chances of success in recovery.

Aftercare encompasses all of the psychosocial and medical services available to patients who are ready to advance to the next step in their recovery. A comprehensive aftercare program provides the support, motivation and direction that patients need to achieve success and rebuild their lives again.

What Is Aftercare?

In the context of a comprehensive addiction treatment program, aftercare services are a bridge from the more structured rehab setting to the more flexible environment of life in the community. In a residential treatment facility, the emphasis of treatment is on establishing sobriety, modifying harmful behaviors, developing a support network, and understanding the process of addiction. Aftercare takes everything the patient has learned and accomplished in rehab and applies it to their life in recovery, with access to a wide range of tools and resources.  

Goals of Aftercare

In the aftercare phase, the patient has been discharged from a higher level of treatment and is ready to take the next step in recovery by pursuing the following goals:

  • Practicing coping strategies
  • Continuing therapeutic work
  • Relapse prevention
  • Pursuing vocational or educational goals
  • Re-establishing security and stability
  • Developing sober activities and relationships

Types of Addiction Aftercare Programs

Aftercare services build on the therapies and treatments that patients receive in higher levels of care. Most of these services focus on helping patients create a satisfying life after discharge:

  • Support groups: Support groups meet regularly to discuss the challenges, triumphs and frustrations of recovering from drug or alcohol abuse. Some of these groups are self-directed, while others are led and facilitated by a therapist or counselor.
  • 12-step programs: Many aftercare programs offer access to multiple 12-step meetings as part of their outpatient services.
  • Case management: Case managers help aftercare patients locate the resources they need to build successful lives in the community, like local therapists, work opportunities and childcare resources.
  • Medication management: anti-addiction medications or psychiatric drugs can reinforce the benefits of psychosocial treatment. These services may be provided as medically appropriate.
  • Mental health resources: many treatment programs offer their alumni access to mental health resources. At Orlando Recovery Center, our free-to-use Nobu app has a library of lessons, mindfulness training, and journaling and goal-tracking features.  
  • Relapse prevention planning: Relapse prevention training may take the form of classes, individual counseling sessions or meetings with your clinical team. Participants learn vital coping strategies for dealing with situations or emotions that can lead to a relapse.
  • Sober living accommodations: After completing a residential treatment program, patients may not feel ready to re-enter their former community right away. Sober living houses, also known as transitional housing or halfway houses, provide an environment where they can benefit from a higher level of structure and stability while transitioning to regular life in recovery.

Who Needs Aftercare Programming?

Aftercare ensures that patients have support to help sustain recovery long after intensive inpatient treatment has ended. Committing to a long-term substance-free life is a serious one. There are many physical, mental and emotional challenges in recovery that can benefit from continued support.

While everyone in recovery can benefit from aftercare services, patients who would significantly benefit from aftercare programming include those with:

  • Lack of social support
  • Repeat addiction treatments
  • Medical or mental health conditions

How Long Does Aftercare Last After Leaving Rehab?

A patient may continue to receive aftercare services and participate in aftercare activities for months or years after finishing rehab, but they are not required to. For example, as the amount of time they’ve remained sober gets longer, many patients become mentors in their support groups for others in recovery. Others may only use aftercare support on an as-needed basis. 

Does the Orlando Recovery Center Offer Aftercare Services?

At the Orlando Recovery Center, we know how important it is to offer all levels of care to support recovery, no matter how far in the recovery process you are. We offer several aftercare resources to patients. These include:

  • Regular alumni check-ins following treatment
  • Relapse prevention plan
  • Case management 
  • Vetted network of therapy and medical providers for continuing care
  • Nobu mental wellness app and online counseling
  • Alumni program, with events, webinars and meet-ups

If you or a loved one is ready to start addiction treatment, Orlando Recovery Center can help. Our intake specialists can answer your questions about treatment, discuss your needs with you and get you started on the road to lifelong recovery. Contact us today

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Editor – Melissa Carmona
Melissa Carmona puts years of writing and editing experience to work helping people understand substance abuse, addiction and mental health disorders. Read more
Medically Reviewed By – Danielle Boland, LCSW
Danielle is licensed clinical social worker, currently living and practicing in central Connecticut. Read more

McKay, James R. “Impact of Continuing Care on Recovery Fr[…]stance Use Disorder.” Alcohol Research, January 21, 2021. Accessed December 5, 2021.

Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy. “Continuing Care.” March 2019. Accessed December 5, 2021.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: […]Effective Treatment.” September 18, 2020. Accessed December 5, 2021.

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.