Understanding Continuum Care in Drug Rehab and Addiction Recovery

Understanding Continuum Care in Drug Rehab and Addiction Recovery

Making the decision to undergo rehabilitation for addiction is the first step towards recovery. It’s also the hardest because it’s a decision you have to make all on your own. The good news is after that, you can depend on a large network to extend help through continuum care.

What is Continuum Care?

Continuum care is concerned about everything that could help the patient on the road to recovery. It starts from the moment they walk in the professional rehabilitation facility and continues even after the person is discharged from the unit.

Imagine a person who fractures their leg and has it fixed in the hospital. Now, this person is confined in the hospital for a few days and then let go. Does that mean he can do everything he used to do before he injured his leg? Of course not. Every sane doctor would issue instructions in caring for the leg at home. This would mean keeping it elevated, minimal walking, using crutches, and perhaps the intake of painkillers.

In the same way that we can’t expect a newly fractured leg to start walking again as if nothing happened, a patient who just got out of a professional rehabilitation facility cannot be expected to simply go back to ordinary life.

This is why the scope of continuum care extends even to home life. With this, patients are given the chance to live a freer life outside of the facility while still making sure that they’re sticking to their convictions about staying sober. Studies show that this offers longer lasting results than simply letting patients get back into the fray without any help.

Continuum Care – What’s Included?

The extent of continuum care really depends on the patient and their stage of recovery. This is why doctors would conduct assessments and interviews before giving a patient the green light. Through the interview, they get a better perspective of the patient’s state of mind and create a plan accordingly.

Here are the typical components of continuum care, depending mainly on what the patient actually needs:

Inpatient Hospitalization

Everything starts with a drug rehab clinic, considered to be the most intensive level of care for the patient. Through this, patients are closely monitored to help them get through the toughest part of recovery: the crash. This is often a short-term service.

Inpatient Treatment

After hospitalization, the patient undergoes Inpatient Treatment. They continue to live in a facility but the rules are much laxer. It can last for months and would include several treatment options such as therapy and medication.

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)

At this stage, patients get more freedom. In fact, they can even go home but are still required to come back to the facility under a strict schedule. For example, they may be asked to come back five times a week for 5 hours each day. During this time, treatment is given but patients can still go back home at the end of the day. This helps create a medium between treatment and socialization.

Intensive Outpatient Program

This is basically like PHP but less strict. Hence, instead of 5 days a week, it could be 3 and for less hours a day.


At this point, intervals of therapy are much more extensive. Patients may be asked to come back just once every two weeks or perhaps even once a month.


Finally, there’s aftercare which deals mainly with preventive measures. Patients are taught how to avoid triggers, prevent relapse, and encourage connections with people who are in the same position as them. The goal is to establish a community that helps one another for a longer lasting treatment. The aftercare can last for months, years, or for as long as a person wants. Some even stop going and then come back if they feel themselves slipping.

To wrap it up, continuum care in addiction recovery is every bit as important as the patient’s time inside the facility. In fact, this might be the most challenging time because the patient has to rely mainly on their own willpower in order to create a more lasting change. With the right people extending the right help however, anyone can recover from substance abuse.

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