The Importance of Recovery Management

A Q&A with Bethany Ranes, PhD, on the Research Update

The chronic nature of addiction requires ongoing treatment efforts to ensure that people are supported throughout the duration of their recovery, especially during the critical period immediately following discharge from an intensive addiction treatment program. Follow-up services (called "recovery management") have been shown to have a significant positive impact on abstinence rates and quality of life after acute treatment.

In this Q&A, Bethany Ranes, PhD, research scientist with the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation Butler Center for Research, comments on the recent Research Update, "The Importance of Recovery Management."

Q: What do you hope professionals glean from this Research Update?

A: The important role of ongoing, structured recovery management resources has gained a lot of momentum in recent years. Addiction is a complicated disease, and its treatment is an intensive, long-term process. I hope professionals realize there is no magic cure and that no single program is perfect; successful recovery is the product of integrating many different types and styles of addiction treatment over time to meet a patient’s evolving needs. I also hope that this issue of our Research Update demonstrates how beneficial our own recovery management services at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation are for our patients. It's always exciting for me to brag about my colleagues' successes!

Q: What implications do these findings have for addiction treatment?

A: The critical importance of follow-up recovery management should really have more of a spotlight in the addiction treatment process, rather than the supporting role it has traditionally held. It would be amazing to see practitioners begin (or continue) to develop treatment plans that extend beyond an acute episode. It is all too common for patients to complete an initial phase of treatment and to be left with little or no support for continuing care.

Often times, patients are sent off with a fond farewell and hope that they will voluntarily follow-up with recommendations for recovery management resources on their own. By extending direct support of patients beyond initial treatment episodes, and allowing them to gradually ease into self-managed recovery care, we are truly setting them up for long-term success.

Q: Where can professionals learn more about this issue?

A: Our very own Dan Anderson Renewal Center (DARC) is a phenomenal resource for anyone who hopes to learn about the general benefits of structured addiction recovery management or to learn about specific programs and resources available to individuals who are looking to extend their own recovery care. The DARC oversees the majority of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation’s recovery management programs, and offers many options for the vastly differing needs and preferences of individuals who are overcoming alcohol or drug dependence.

Q: What does the future hold for treatment in light of these findings?

A: Personally, I truly hope to see an evolution in how we understand recovery management, with a universal emphasis on the importance of recovery management across the field. I'm hopeful for a future where an acute addiction treatment episode is only considered to be a single component of continuous treatment and where continuing care is administered as consistently as residential and intensive outpatient care are administered today.

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