Patients who complete residential treatment for behavioral health disorders typically return home with the lessons they’ve learned still ringing in their ears. They feel ready to face the world using the new tools and outlook they’ve acquired. But life has a way of pushing even the strongest individuals back into old habits. As months and years go by, the temptation to relapse can grow too strong to resist.
This is why recovery management is so vital to the continuing health of all patients who have been in treatment. At Sovereign Health, we think about and discuss a patient’s post-treatment options on the day of their arrival. The more opportunities a person has to access support, encouragement and in some cases, continuing treatment, the more successful they will be in maintaining sobriety and optimum mental health.
Relapsing in recovery
The term “relapse” is universally used to describe what happens to a person who has completed treatment and at some point following discharge, returns to drugs or other unhealthy habits. Dr. Tonmoy Sharma, CEO of Sovereign Health, believes that “setback” is a better word. Feeling guilt and shame over a setback accomplishes nothing.
In an interview with Addiction Professional, he said, “If a program looks at a relapse as simply a brief lapse in judgment, that can help to convey to the patient that a short-term loss does not disqualify him/her from long-term success.”
Sovereign’s philosophy is that a setback can become a learning opportunity and does not prevent a person from moving forward on a daily basis. Examining the events that may have contributed to a setback, whatever the cause, helps a person be aware of those events in the future so they may take a different path.
Dr. Sharma advocates for patients developing a coping plan for dealing with negative situations that might cause them to slip. This should be introduced a few of weeks before discharge for first-time patients and right away for those who have returned to treatment. “In order to make this work for patients, they need to feel a connection, it makes the clinician more like a partner.”
Dr. Sharma believes that patients should be educated regarding the biological contribution to relapse so they will be aware that factors affecting a setback are both within and outside of their control. He said, “Failure is an event, it’s not a person.”
Recovery management at Sovereign Health
To achieve Dr. Sharma’s vision, Sovereign Health offers continuing care to ensure that patients have the tools they need to maintain their recovery. One way is by providing the website SovAlumni.com as resource for patients. Sovereign patients who have graduated residential treatment can check for local chapter meetings of 12-step programs and get continuing education. There is a “toolkit” available for family members, and webinars are offered.
Sovereign has also initiated T.E.A.M. (Technology Enhanced Aftercare and Monitoring) as a support system for former patients. Patients receive a username and password to access:
Telehealth options to prevent relapse
Sovereign now offers telehealth through eTherapy. Many patients relapse because they are unable to fit continued therapy into their busy schedules. With eTherapy, patients can receive treatment wherever they are. All that is required is a connection to the internet which can be on a desktop computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone.
Patients can connect to therapists within their state for face-to-face treatment sessions just as though they were in the same room. eTherapy is perfect for patients who work long hours, have children, live too far away from a therapist or travel frequently.
Sovereign Health is proud to stay with our patients long after discharging from our facilities to ensure the best chance that their recovery lasts. For further information, please call our 24/7 helpline.
About the author
Veronica McNamara is a staff writer for Sovereign Health. She is a former registered nurse who enjoys writing about the causes and treatment of addictions and behavioral health disorders. She is a proponent of further public education on the subject of mental illness which, unfortunately, still bears an unwarranted stigma. For more information and other inquiries on this article, contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.