- Addiction case management: the coordinated continuum of care given by a dedicated case manager when treating someone struggling with alcohol or substance addiction.
- Not all addiction treatment programs offer addiction case management, and not everyone struggling with addiction requires an alcohol or substance abuse case manager.
- During addiction recovery, a case manager can serve a role similar to that of a quarterback by coordinating overlapping treatment teams and ensuring everyone is speaking the same language while working together toward common goals.
An addiction case manager is responsible for coordinating the continuum of care when an individual is in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. That continuum of care happens before, during, and after an individual takes part in formal treatment. Because many overlapping teams may work with the individual over a prolonged period and in a variety of settings, it’s the addiction case manager’s responsibility to keep these teams in sync without any critical information, recovery goals, or treatment milestones getting lost in the shuffle.
Addiction case managers can also be tremendously helpful to keep family members informed, navigate aftercare options, and set realistic milestones for recovery.
How do you know when you need a case manager? Think about it this way: when someone is in recovery from addiction, they may work with one team at a detox facility, another to ensure safe transportation to and from treatment, another when they enter residential treatment, and a fourth or fifth for aftercare options.
Without an addiction case manager, you rely on those teams to relay critical information as you transition from one stage to the next. Otherwise, it becomes your responsibility. When this happens, critical information can and does get lost in communication. If you want to prevent that, you need a case manager.
Along with coordinating each stage along the continuum of care, individuals who aren’t sure what to do next can benefit from the guidance and direction of a case manager who has helped similar individuals navigate the recovery process. When in doubt about where to begin or where to turn next, case managers provide unbiased, professional guidance.
When someone’s body is chemically dependent on drugs or alcohol, a chemical dependency case manager can be beneficial by helping individuals detox prior to entering formal treatment. Because chemical dependency can be life-threatening in the early stages of sobriety, a chemical dependency case manager serves as a critical lifeline at one of the most difficult stages of recovery.
When you or someone you care about works with an addiction case manager during the recovery process, they help:
1. Identify Recovery Needs
It’s important to keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for addiction recovery. What might help someone progress toward their sobriety goals could potentially set someone else back. Some people may appreciate the structured regimen of a residential treatment center, while others may not be able to afford putting life on hold for a month or more to get help. Addiction case managers can more specifically identify recovery needs at various stages of treatment and provide a more diverse range of treatment recommendations.
2. Facilitate Real-World Recovery Tools and Support
Addiction recovery is a lifetime journey, and success hinges on developing the right tools and skills to achieve your goals. Addiction case managers are well-versed in those tools and skills. They can help individuals in treatment further develop and practice them at various stages of recovery later on by bridging the gap between clinical treatment and real-world success.
3. Coordinate Care
It isn’t rare for overlapping treatment teams to use slightly different language to talk about similar things. At the same time, just because one treatment team prioritizes a specific goal does not guarantee that other teams are aware of that goal.
Without a dedicated case manager coordinating communication, setting realistic goals and achieving them can get messy. A case manager keeps all treatment teams working toward an overarching recovery plan that’s in the best interest of the individual’s needs.
4. Draw on Real-World Experience
Because addiction case managers have helped others struggling with similar issues, they bring a more diverse perspective to the table when someone is in recovery. They can then draw on this real-world experience to support, encourage, and avoid common pitfalls like high-risk events.
5. Take an As-Needed Approach
When someone is in recovery from addiction, the goal is not that they will be dependent on a case manager for the rest of their lives. Instead, case managers take an as-needed approach to support individuals during treatment.
At first, a case manager may have to check in multiple times a day to keep someone accountable, but as the individual makes progress on the road to recovery, a case manager can gradually begin to reduce check-ins and meetings.
As the individual gains confidence practicing the tools and skills they need to navigate sobriety in healthy ways, the case manager provides support only when needed with the ultimate goal of eventually not being needed at all.
At ALYST Health, we’ve built dedicated addiction case managers into our treatment plan. With our at-home approach to addiction recovery, case managers are a critical component of care, ensuring program participants have access to all the resources they need to make recovery realistic from the comfort of home. Learn more about the role of our addiction case managers during treatment.