One of the greatest hurdles we may ever have to overcome is the one that stands in the way of accepting help and getting treatment. However, it is also often the most satisfying. After all, what is life without overcoming challenges? As the pioneering psychoanalyst Karen Horney once put it, “The searching for ourselves is the most agonizing, isn’t it? – and yet the most stimulating – and one simply cannot escape it.” So, if we are ready and willing to honestly face the reality of our situation and seek help, then we should be rewarded by receiving the right help right away. For many of us, the right help begins with residential treatment programs.
Residential Treatment Programs: The Importance of Choosing the Right Program, Right Away
The sad truth is that choosing the wrong treatment program can ultimately lead to serious consequences, the primary one being relapse (and all the detriments that can come with it). According to the peer-reviewed clinical journal, Current Psychiatry Reports, “It has long been known that addictive disorders are chronic and relapsing in nature. Recent estimates from clinical treatment studies suggest that more than two-thirds of individuals relapse within weeks to months of initiating treatment,” and “studies show that more than 85% of individuals relapse and return to drug use within 1 year of treatment.”
The key to avoiding unmanageable recovery issues in the future is choosing the right recovery program in the present. But how can this happen, particularly since the period before entering treatment can be such a vulnerable one? The answer is to seek advice and help from an addiction or mental health professional. These professionals can be accessed via a primary care physician, an insurance advisor, a community outreach center, a human resources department at work, or a counselor at an academic institution.
There is also plenty of ways to connect to recovery programs online. However, it is crucial to do some due diligence and make sure that any recovery center reached out to is licensed and accredited. A reputable recovery center will have empathetic and effective intake specialists that can get an individual where they need to be, who they need to see, and what they need to do as soon as possible. They can also deal one-on-one with insurance companies to take one more thing off of our plate at such a tenuous tumultuous time. Believe it or not, a good recovery center will even direct an individual and their family where to go if they can’t help them directly.
So, what then does it mean if the recommended route is a residential treatment program? It means that the recovery journey is going to begin in a safe and secure space with a close connection to professionals. All while participating in a focused program free of distractions.
What Exactly Are Residential Treatment Programs?
While the foundational basics of residential treatment programs are generally similar, there are many variations and types of programs out there. However, the best way to think of residential treatment programs is to think of mental health and addiction care that focuses on clients in residence 24/7. Many of these residential treatment programs also have in-residence detox options, or they are connected to detox facilities that can get clients into the program as soon as they are healthy and safe enough to do so.
Also, residential treatment programs are very critical for properly diagnosing clients early in their recovery journey. This is critical because many people may be unaware of how common co-occurring disorders of addiction and mental illness are. When co-occurring disorders are discovered early, it makes the recovery process that much smoother and, ultimately, the likelihood for success that much more likely.
Who Are Residential Treatment Programs For?
Since there are so many other treatment programs out there, such as partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) and intensive and general outpatient programs, who exactly are residential treatment programs for? The answer is while there are certain parameters, the characteristics of someone needing residential treatment are not entirely defined. Now, this is not a negative; it just represents the importance of individual needs, choices, and individualized care.
Traditionally, residential treatment programs were designated for people that were struggling with the more severe stages of addiction and mental illness, but that is no longer the case because the traditional paradigm of mental health care has shifted. Yes, individuals that are in a state of struggle that could bring harm to themself or others are ideal candidates for residential treatment. However, individuals that require more focused care and need to avoid outside distractions are well-suited for residential treatment as well.
One way to look at qualifications for residential treatment programs is to look at both professional recommendations and personal preferences. For example, a clinician or addiction specialist may advise a residential treatment program, at which point it is highly recommended that advice be followed. However, another scenario involves a clinician who recommends options for intensive care, either inpatient or outpatient. It then comes down to the individual to determine what is best for them. Ideally, a good way to look at treatment options is the more directly focused type of program we can start with, the better.
Residential treatment often creates the strongest foundation of recovery, and it is important to remember that a strong foundation is critical for building a strong program of recovery. One that can withstand any disturbances that will often arise on our recovery journey. After all, as they often say in 12-Step recovery, “We must live life on life’s terms.” Establishing strong values and principles in residential recovery is a great way to navigate those “terms.”
What Do Residential Treatment Programs Focus On?
Effective residential treatment programs focus on the individual. They do so by utilizing many treatment modalities in the creation of a comprehensive recovery plan. Also, residential treatment focuses on the entirety of a diagnosis, whether it be dual diagnosis or not.
Residential treatment programs also focus on individual needs that come up at any time, day or night. Being connected 24/7 is crucial for residential recovery. The truth is that early recovery can be rocky, and the likelihood of relapse and/or symptom resurgence is much greater early on.
A Focus on Mental Health
When it comes to issues of mental health in residential treatment programs, the goal is to begin to reduce symptoms as soon and as safely as possible. In-residence is ideal for this focus on symptom reduction because it allows for the closest level of monitoring when it comes to medication management (if needed and offered) and treatment efficacy.
Also, it is not uncommon to feel overwhelmed by the outside world while dealing with mental illness. Residential recovery programs offer a great opportunity to focus solely on our mental health, calibrate our recovery goals, and create a plan to gently ease back into everyday life (which may include some transitional recovery to partial hospitalization and outpatient programs).
A Focus on Addiction
Residential treatment programs are ideal options for those individuals that are struggling to maintain even short-term sobriety on their own. It is important to remember that addiction is a chronic disease. This means that just like other chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, or heart disease, addiction is only going to progress without some form of professional intervention. It will almost always get worse, rarely better on its own.
Being in close contact with professionals can be essential in early recovery to avoid potential relapse. Also, residential treatment programs offer a great opportunity to connect to other individuals that have “shared experience” in both active addiction and active recovery. The primary text of 12-Step recovery (most commonly referred to as the “Big Book”) states that “Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from [relapse] as intensive work with [others in recovery]. It works when other activities fail.” Residential recovery can be a perfect place to make these connections and work with others.
A Focus on Dual Diagnosis
When it comes to dual diagnosis in recovery, residential treatment programs can be essential in two different ways. One is a focus on diagnosing co-occurring disorders, and two is treating all diagnosed disorders in tandem.
Residential recovery programs are generally best equipped to treat individuals with dual diagnosis simply because these programs tend to have more resources and professionals onsite. Also, they offer the efficient amount of time required to address multiple issues of addiction and/or mental health.
Residential Treatment Program: Building a Foundation in 30 Days
Now, traditionally, primarily residential treatment starts as a 30-day program. The consensus has long been that committing to 30 days is a decent amount of time to acquire the foundational tools necessary for continued recovery. However, as previously mentioned, the treatment paradigm has shifted.
So, while 30 days can be highly effective and offer a sufficient amount of time for some, it may not be enough for others. In today’s recovery realm, that is not only okay, it is trending toward the norm. It is no longer uncommon for individuals to extend their stay to a 45, 60, 75, or even 90-day residential treatment program. The key is to focus on individual needs rather than remain trapped in a set recovery “box.”
Ultimately, avoiding “cookie-cutter” treatment is crucial, and that includes committing to a 30-day program that doesn’t offer extensions. Also, when we get exactly what we need from a residential treatment program, it makes it significantly easier to transition to the next level of recovery and back into day-to-day life after that.
Transitioning to a Partial Hospitalization or Outpatient Program
Perhaps the most common saying in 12-Step recovery is “Easy does it.” However, this maxim has now been extended to “Easy does it. But, do it!” This is emblematic of what residential and transitional recovery is all about. It is vital to take our time in residential care (“Easy does it”). This ensures that we have the foundation necessary to move forward. However, we must also be ready to move forward when the time is right, when the recovery professionals and recovery peers that we have been working with feel that we are ready (“But, do it”).
A successful residential recovery program will ensure that we are ready to manage some of our recovery on our own. Now, a PHP or intensive or general outpatient program will help ensure that we are ready to manage our recovery solely on our own. Though, of course, that is not entirely true. Aftercare in recovery is also crucial.
The Importance of Mental Health and Addiction Aftercare for Long-Term Recovery
Aftercare in recovery means staying connected to a program of recovery that was established in the beginning, whether this was in residential treatment or a program less intensive. This includes staying connected to therapists and psychotherapists as needed. If initiated, it also includes maintaining a program of holistic practices, such as yoga and meditation. On that note, if holism has not been incorporated into a recovery plan, it is never too late to start, as it can be highly beneficial. For example, yoga can be shown to be exceptionally effective in helping people maintain a strong, motivated, and energetic recovery.
According to the International Journal of Yoga, “Regular practice of yoga promotes strength, endurance, flexibility and facilitates characteristics of friendliness, compassion, and greater self-control while cultivating a sense of calmness and well-being. Sustained practice also leads to important outcomes such as changes in life perspective, self-awareness, and an improved sense of energy to live life fully and with genuine enjoyment.” Also, “The practice of yoga produces a physiological state opposite to that of the flight-or-fight stress response and with that interruption in the stress response, a sense of balance and union between the mind and body can be achieved.” Yoga is also just one facet of recovery that can be utilized in an effective program of aftercare.
Another critical component of aftercare in recovery is creating a strong and secure recovery network. This may include maintaining relationships with recovery professionals and recovery peers that were first initiated in a residential treatment program, as well as people that we have met and worked with along the way. Connecting with or creating an alumni program with other individuals that we met in residential recovery is also a great way to stay connected and better ensure success as we go about our long-term journey.
Avoiding “Copy/Paste” Treatment: A Client-Centered Approach and Focus on Comprehensive Care at Avery Lane
Here at Avery Lane, we offer female-focused recovery programs that are aimed at helping women at every level of the mental health and/or addiction spectrum. This includes those that are best served by our client-centered comprehensive residential treatment program.
The aforenoted Karen Horney was not merely a psychiatrist. She was a revolutionary in the field of female-focused mental health care, once saying, “Like all sciences and all valuations, the psychology of women has hitherto been considered only from the point of view of men.” We are following in her footsteps by offering recovery programs and a recovery system that is designed specifically by women for women.
Avery Lane is a special place for women struggling with addiction and/or issues of mental health to find understanding, healing, and, perhaps most critical in the beginning, hope. We understand the hurdle that must be overcome to get help. Many of us have been there before and come out stronger on the other end. So, we know the deep need for healing that is sought when entering treatment. Lastly, there’s hope. Hope is essential.
Misunderstood in her own time, the iconic American poet Emily Dickinson once wrote, “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul — and sings the tunes without the words – and never stops at all.” For those of us seeking help, we must listen to that wordless voice inside. The one saying, “Don’t stop now; this can be the first step out of the darkness and the first step into a life beyond our wildest dreams.” At Avery Lane, we are here to help make that life, and those dreams, materialize.
The journey to sobriety and long-term recovery should always be based on the specific needs of the individual. The same is true with residential treatment programs. While the foundation of a recovery plan is generally set within the first 30 days, it is not uncommon for individuals to need more time in a residential facility (such as 45, 60, 75, and 90-day residential treatment programs). Avery Lane is dedicated to shaping women-focused treatment plans to set them up for a successful and lasting recovery. If you feel like you or a loved one is struggling with issues of addiction and/or mental health, we can help. For more information on residential treatment, contact Avery Lane today at (800) 270-2406.