Recent studies suggest some initial approaches to chronic care management. However, the field would benefit from research that investigates (1) the costs of ongoing monitoring and early reintervention; (2) the chronic care model in different populations (e.g., pregnant and postpartum women, offenders leaving prison, and adolescents); (3) the point at which an individual’s recovery history and status warrant transition from quarterly to biannual checkups; (4) the usefulness of more frequent or even continuous monitoring in improving outcomes; (5) the impact of less formal types of care (e.g., recovery coaches or faith-based interventions); (6) modes of service delivery such as telephone and e-mail; and (7) the indirect effects of recovery management on other outcomes such as HIV infection, illegal activity, emotional problems, vocational activity, and quality of life.
This information can help individuals and their families, and treatment staff recognize that addiction is a chronic but treatable condition, that most people with SUDs need help from several sources, that recovery often takes multiple episodes of treatment, and that relapse is common. However, staff members should encourage clients with SUDs and their families by stating that the majority of people do succeed and the likelihood of reaching recovery status is related to continuing care and ongoing recovery support. When relapse occurs, staff should explain the chronic nature of the condition, proactively refer those in relapse to continuing care and other services, and work with patients to ensure that they follow through with recommendations for continuing care, for self-help group meetings, for ongoing urine monitoring, and for services to address other problems.