Relapse is the return to drug or alcohol use after a period of intentional abstinence. Relapse prevention programs are designed to reduce the risk of returning to drug use and to teach a recovering addict new coping skills that can lead to a life of long-term sobriety.
Relapse prevention is a necessary part of any drug or alcohol addiction recovery program. Detoxing from the substance of abuse is only the first step. Learning to cope with relapse prevention programs is the key to long-term addiction recovery. Here are some key facts about relapse prevention that may be useful.
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The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that up to 60% of people with addiction revert to drug use after rehab. When statistics for addiction relapse are viewed purely from a numbers perspective, it can seem as though rehab treatments may not be as effective as many people might hope.
However, it’s important to realize that relapse is a normal part of addiction recovery. It’s also critical to recognize that the level of ongoing outpatient treatment an addict receives can improve relapse rates dramatically.
A study released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration shows that relapse rates improve for addicts who enter treatment programs within 30 days of finishing detox.
There are three primary stages of relapse that a recovering addict learns to recognize during prevention therapy. These are:
During emotional relapse, the person isn’t actively thinking about using drugs or alcohol. However, emotions and behaviors may lead to a possible relapse if they’re not addressed. Some common signs of emotional relapse include:
During the mental relapse phase, a part of the mind begins thinking about using again, even though another part of the mind wants to remain on track to recovery. Common signs of mental relapse are:
Physical relapse is the act of picking up the substance of abuse and returning to using. Once a person reaches the point of physical relapse, it’s extremely difficult to stop.
It’s important that a recovering addict learns to recognize and acknowledge early stages of relapse and implement coping skills as soon as possible. The person needs to ask for support or help, or attend a meeting and admit to experiencing early signs of relapse before it reaches the point of physical relapse.
Addiction prevention treatment usually takes place after the patient has been through detox. The key to successful addiction recovery is learning new skills that and behavioral modifications that allow a patient to maintain abstinence over the long term.
Treatment needs to incorporate both physical and mental components of addiction. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy can be an effective way to teach patients new coping skills and mechanisms that help them get through stressful situations in positive ways and without the need to pick up a substance of abuse.
Cognitive therapy also assists with changing negative thought patterns by replacing them with self-affirming thoughts. Behavioral modification strategies may also be helpful, as they include teaching the recovering addict healthy lifestyle changes, stress management techniques and the benefits of physical exercise throughout recovery, such as yoga.
Drug rehab treatment centers are the best possible option for addicts to avoid relapsing into drug or alcohol use. Inpatient programs significantly decrease the risk of relapse during the first critical months of recovery, as they provide a safe, secure environment that removes temptation to return to using. During inpatient treatment, the addict is taught new strategies that improve coping skills without the need for drugs and alcohol, which can lead to long-term sobriety.
Ongoing outpatient treatment programs further decrease the risk of returning to self-destructive behavior by offering continued support through therapy. Recovering addicts are also taught to identify and avoid substance abuse triggers and to look for alternative coping methods for staying on track with recovery.
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