We naturally talk a lot about the recovery process and what you can expect from treatment, but there’s one issue we don’t really touch upon too often: time. Recovery treatment is a big deal, and many are very concerned with how long the process may take. This is especially true of those who are seeking inpatient care and must leave their homes and families while they learn how to recover from their addictions. Such people have a vested interest in understanding the full continuum of care before committing to one of the most important decisions they will make in their lives.
The full continuum of care here at Amethyst Recovery is not set in stone. We offer personalized treatment, and a number of different programs. Nonetheless, we would like to talk a little about what you can expect, and why the full continuum of care at Amethyst will guarantee that you get your money’s worth when seeking treatment for your addiction.
Why Are Care Continuums Important?
As stated above, it is important to understand the full continuum of care at your treatment center of choice because you want to know that you are receiving the depth of treatment for which you are paying. However, there is more to it than that. There are several other reasons for which you will want to know your full continuum of care, not the least of which is so that you know what to expect from the recovery process. Those who take advantage of our free verification and placement program will generally receive a consultation that will inform them of the level of care needed.
The other reason that it is important for a patient to understand their recommended full continuum of care is that there may be some decisions required of them. Just because one continuum is recommended does not mean that the patient must abide by it, although it would usually be unwise not to follow the recommendations of a licensed specialist. For instance, some patients may be recommended to pursue ninety days of inpatient treatment. However, due to various circumstances such as work or other obligations, inpatient care may not be feasible. They may therefore seek intensive outpatient care, but it is important for the patient to know what they are missing by failing to follow their original recommendation.
This is why we want all of our patients to understand the full continuum of care that they will receive at Amethyst Recovery. From patients who simply undergo a detox process to patients who graduate treatment and reside in our sober living facilities for a time, the range on length of care can average anywhere between thirty days and six months. Below, we’ll go into a bit more detail on the services that are offered during this time period.
What is the Full Continuum of Care?
As noted above, the full continuum of care at Amethyst can range anywhere between thirty days and six months. However, a continuum of care is more than just a potential time period. The best definition we have found for the term “continuum of care” is “a treatment system in which clients enter treatment at a level appropriate to their needs and then step up to more intense treatment or down to less intense treatment as needed.” This definition, which notes the importance of a smooth transition between care levels, appears in an article which outlines five major levels in a full continuum of care as established by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM).
The first level noted is intervention. While we have previously covered the importance of staging a successful intervention, and while we certainly consider intervention to be one of the first important steps in the recovery process, this is not the true first level of addiction treatment. The other four levels defined by the ASAM are outpatient services, intensive outpatient/partial hospitalization services, residential/inpatient services, and medically managed intensive inpatient services. These are not necessarily put in any particular order, nor will every continuum of care involve each of these levels.
Also note that there are potentially a few different ways for each of these care levels to be utilized. For instance, medically managed inpatient services might refer to basic inpatient detoxification, which often lasts only about thirty days. However, Vivitrol treatment is a form of medication-assisted treatment that may be used for residential/inpatient clients or addicts receiving intensive outpatient care. At the same time, some may consider sober living to be an extension of residential treatment, but there is also a fair amount of intensive outpatient service provided to most patients living in sober living facilities. In short, defining a patient’s full continuum of care is partly a matter of perspective.
Furthermore, ASAM defines four stages of outpatient care. These are 1) treatment engagement, 2) early recovery, 3) maintenance, and 4) community support. Note that many of these same stages apply to inpatient care as well. Patients must still engage treatment, and overcome their denial before they can truly enter into early recovery. Community support is also a major aspect of inpatient care, and is in fact one of the primary reasons that we often recommend inpatient services. It is also one of the primary benefits of sober living. We will discuss these issues in a bit more detail below.
What Do These Continuums Entail?
Since we’ve covered the approximate lengths of each continuum of care, we should go into a bit more detail regarding what each of these forms of care actually entails. The shortest form of care we generally offer is detox. This process usually only takes about thirty days or so, allowing the addict or alcoholic to cleanse their system of all contaminants related to their substance abuse. As these toxins leave their system, their mind will usually begin to normalize a bit. For those who intend to seek treatment when they are finished detoxing, they will be in a much better state by the time they do so.
For those who want more out of their full continuum of care, the detox stage will often still be an integral part of the process. Those who seek treatment for ninety days will generally begin counseling and other aspects of addiction treatment while they are still detoxing, but it is once the detoxification process has ended that they begin to truly feel the benefits of these recovery tools. Those who are receiving medication-assisted treatment will probably receive something before they have detoxed. Sometimes, these medications are to prevent their withdrawal symptoms. In the case of medications such as Vivitrol, the patient should also experience reduced cravings.
While the physical cravings associated with addiction may only take a month or so (or sometimes even less) to wear off, the mental obsession can be much stronger. This is one of the reasons that we often recommend a stay in our sober living facilities. These facilities provide extended care, allowing the patient to benefit from a positive recovery community as they continue to fight their addiction outside of formal treatment. Many of those who live at our facilities also undergo intensive outpatient treatment at the same time.
The other benefit of seeking the full continuum of care at one of our sober living facilities is that it gives patients a better chance to build a strong and sober support network. Not only is this a benefit of sober living, but of treatment at Amethyst in general. We may be a somewhat small facility, but this allows us to maintain a tight-knit community of recovering patients who are able to ease each other through what can be an emotionally overwhelming process. When a treatment center is successful at what they do, a full continuum of care should offer smooth transition between one level of care and the next. We like to think that we at Amethyst have been able to offer just that.
How Are Care Continuums Decided?
Our verification process is geared specifically toward the personalization of each patient’s treatment. During initial consultation, each patient’s needs are assessed on an individual basis. Some patients may need little more than detox, as their evaluation may show signs of excessive one-time substance abuse without showing any real signs of addiction or alcoholism. Others may be recommended to a full continuum of care involving much more than detox, but may still elect to receive only detox treatment and nothing more.
When it is decided that a patient’s full continuum of care must involve inpatient treatment, it is usually because they have shown major signs of addiction or alcoholism. Of course, sometimes we are not given the chance to decide the depth of care required. These are cases in which treatment has been court-appointed as a result of the addict’s legal issues. There are programs in certain cities and states, such as Operation HOPE in Scarborough, ME, which will recommend treatment and then try to find the best fit for the prospective patient. But many courts are overwhelmed with cases, and they may arbitrarily decide on a length and type of treatment before the needs of the patient have been assessed.
It is much easier to decide when sober living should be a part of the patient’s full continuum of care. If the patient happens to have a job that demands their immediate return, or children who do not have anybody else to take care of them, then we might not recommend sober living. It is rare, however, that such circumstances are truly so demanding that no alternative solution can be found. As such, we generally suggest that patients further their care in our sober living facilities before fully leaving their treatment environment.
One of the other reasons for suggesting sober living to any patient who is able to undertake it is that some patients at Amethyst are not local. They may be returning to an environment that they associate only with substance abuse, and not at all with recovery. This is problematic. While there is no such thing as a geographical cure, there is most certainly a form of geographical illness associated with the places we have used in the past. This cannot happen until they have developed the necessary recovery tools to ensure that they are able to formulate a suitable relapse prevention plan. In fact, relapse prevention is at the heart of every decision we make regarding a patient’s full continuum of care, and it is a matter we treat as seriously as life and death. Because at the end of the day, addiction is a life-and-death struggle, and we cherish every opportunity to help another patient survive.
How Else Do We Personalize Treatment?
Deciding upon a patient’s full continuum of care is only one aspect of the personalized care that we offer here at Amethyst Recovery. We also offer personalized services, such as court liaison services for those with legal issues and Vivitrol treatment for those who need it. We help our patients with other issues as well, such as navigating insurance plans and finding other ways to pay for treatment. While we do not charge as much as some larger treatment centers, many who struggle with addiction are not in the financial position to fund their recovery. Sometimes, their financial position is directly related to the sources of their legal issues. Our help in solving these problems will make it that much easier to seek treatment.
While not technically an aspect of our treatment personalization methods, we also offer some alternative forms of treatment on occasion that some patients might find especially beneficial. We go on outings every weekend, sometimes involving activities such as equine therapy. For those who have undergone severe trauma, we offer EMDR trauma therapy. In short, many patients will find unique ways in which our treatment methods serve their recovery while also catering to their individual histories and personality types.
For more information on the full continuum of care at Amethyst Recovery, as well as ways in which we are able to personalize our treatment, feel free to contact us today. Explain your situation in full, and we will answer any questions you may have. We are always happy to help.