Extended Care Addiction Programs vs. Long Term Addiction Treatment

Extended Care Addiction Treatment Facility

Some people believe that extended care and long term treatment are the same but there are differences. Burning Tree does also offer extended care programs as well as long term drug rehab. We like to share the differences so a person may have all the information available to them when they call Burning Tree for admission information.

What are the differences Between Extended Care Treatment and Long-term Rehabilitation?

Long-term addiction treatment facilities and extended care treatment programs are different phases of treatment for addiction. Typically, extended care programs are initiated after an individual completes a treatment program at a treatment facility. The principal differences between the two programs are:

  • Success rate
  • Accountability
  • Staff qualifications
  • Freedom

The most successful long-term treatment programs do not have completion dates written in stone. A patient is released only when he or she is ready. It is upon release that the patient falls under the auspices of an extended care program. In an extended care program, the patient has a great deal of freedom with less accountability, including the option not to participate at all.

Those long-term facilities that release its patients at a pre-determined time, whether ready or not, may also recommend extended care treatment. However, if the patient has not had enough time to properly assimilate and learn how to apply principles of sober living, the chances of a relapse are quite high – in some cases more than 80% relapse.

The abilities of the highly trained staffs at long-term facilities allow for complete assessment of all factors that contribute to addiction, and permit the patient to heal more thoroughly than with only an extended care program.

Extended Care Defined

Extended care drug rehabilitation may be several things. It may incorporate extended stays at treatment facilities that exceed the traditional 30-, 60-, 90-day cycles. It may also refer to post treatment methodologies designed to help the individual maintain an addiction free life.

Among the different types of extended care, the following are the most common, and most take place beyond the direct care of a long-term treatment facility.

  • Participation in a 12-step or other peer support group – These types of extended care programs provide the recovering addict with ongoing, regular opportunities to find help and support in dealing with addiction. Enrollment in these programs, while voluntary, is sometimes encouraged by the treatment facility in which the recovering individual was enrolled. The extended care programs assign sponsors or mentors who make themselves available, but the person in recovery must initiate contact. As support networks evolve because of participation, support becomes a greater part of the recoverer’s life.
  • Outpatient treatment – Some individuals may be referred to outpatient treatment after leaving residential treatment. While outpatient treatment may involve participation in a 12-step program, it may also involve regularly scheduled meetings with licensed counselors and therapists in individual or group settings.  Outpatient therapy is usually open-ended, and continues or ceases based on the state  of recovery of the participant.
  • Sober concepts – A sober living environment or program provides individuals with the opportunity for support treatment tailored to the needs of the individual. Sober living homes provide structured environments with strict regulations that help the participant incorporate and practice the skills needed for living a sober life. Sober companions and escorts are for those individuals whose environment is threatens sober living principles, and need more frequent, steady, and regular guidance and mentoring on a one-on-one basis.
  • Private therapy – At times, extended care may involve regular visits with a psychiatrist, psychologist, counselor, or other mental health professional. In this type of care, one-on-one sessions provide the support the patient needs to cope with situations and circumstances that may lead to a relapse.

Long Term Treatment Defined

Residential treatment facilities have a high rate of success and are ideal for those whose suffer from severe addictions, or struggle with chronic relapse. These treatment programs work to address all issues associated with addiction – from providing access to detoxification facilities, to complete psychological and physiological assessments, to reintegration into mainstream society. Programs initially last from one month to a year.  However, the most successful long-term treatment programs use these timeframes only as general guidelines. If the patient has not reached the expected milestones, release becomes an open-ended process, and the patient does not move forward until ready.

Long-term treatment centers are not a hospital setting, other than for medically supervised detoxification.  The facilities are modern and comfortable. They are all staffed with fully qualified and licensed healthcare professionals for both the patient and the patient’s family.

Long-term treatment facilities provide the following:

  • 24-hour care and behavior monitoring
  • Full participation in the recovery process by the staff of the facility
  • Programs that are tailored to individual needs and issues
  • Access to multiple treatment methodologies

These carefully structured treatment programs help the individual recognize and adjust long held beliefs regarding addiction and its consequences, and provide new patterns of behavior to replace those that facilitate addiction. The need for diagnosis of co-occurring disorders is also important in achieving sobriety.

In order to be effective, long-term treatment must meet individual circumstances while still using proven methodologies.  Flexibility is critical in order to achieve sobriety and prevent relapsing. Family services must also be available from long-term treatment centers, to assist all who are affected by addiction.

What Treatment Program is Right for You

If you have not had success in 30- or 90- day programs, tried sober living facilities, and if chronic relapse is a hallmark of your lack of success, then a long-term treatment program is probably the best choice. If you have completed your first program, and believe that you are ready to return to your previous situation, then extended care programs may be the best way to reinforce and maintain an addiction free life.


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