What does it consist of?
Stage 1: Consolidation Phase: up to one month
Consolidation follows on immediately after detox. This may take place as an inpatient, usually week 2 onwards or as an outpatient with options for more ‘intensive’ nursing and therapy support depending on need. For example, both multidisciplinary team MDT reviews and therapy sessions at Pasture House or virtually depending on convenience and locality. During a team review, medication would be reviewed. What needs to be continued after detox, any new medication for anti-craving, managing any ongoing physical and mental health symptoms and assessing and treating any co-existing mental health disorders. Our therapist may tie this in with behavioural patterns and relationships and suggest strategies to help identify ‘warning signs’ of relapse and recommend changes to the home and social environment to support the recovery process. Therapy sessions will go alongside team reviews and may go into more depth on the psychosocial aspects.
A Naltrexone implant may be offered if an appropriate option following detox
Stage 2: up to 3 months Relapse Prevention
Similarly, to consolidation, team reviews and therapy sessions work alongside each other. Together, we are likely to understanding root causes issues and the steps that led to addiction. Medication would be reviewed, started and stopped depending on clinical need. Anti-craving medication is likely to continue throughout. Therapy should provide a better understanding of behavioural patterns, triggers, disruptive as well as protective factors and practical self-help strategies should be re-enforced. Positive encouragement of steps taken in the right direction is essential.
Stage 3: up to 9 moths – Relapse Prevention
The final stage in recovery is the longest, least intensive but just as important to continue focusing on recovery. We may offer team reviews and therapy once per month for example. However, the frequency of reviews is best tailored to the individual and can be discussed with your medical team.
The whole aim of each stage of treatment is to reduce your risk of relapse. The road to recovery takes at least 12 months in our experience. Looking at audit and research data, the best outcomes long-term appear to be when a 12-month programme is undertaken. When we start to feel better, there’s often a feeling that we may not need treatment anymore. This can be a pinch point for future relapse however despite the positive steps taken. We would encourage that a personalised treatment plan remains long-term for the best chance of sustained abstinence and recovery.