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Relapse Prevention – Hauppauge (631)-729-7104

Preventing Relapse from Substance Addiction

Addiction is a chronic disease that changes the structures and functions of the brain. While drug and alcohol addiction treatment can be effective, the nature of substance abuse makes it easy for patients who are in recovery to relapse and abuse their drug of choice.

Arming patients with the tools to prevent a relapse is an essential component of drug addiction treatment. Relapse Prevention Treatment Centers help patients develop skills and techniques to cope with stress, identify and avoid triggers, and successfully navigate intense cravings that can occur at any time during and after treatment.

Relapse prevention programs are designed to promote lifelong recovery. Participating in the right programs after treatment can considerably reduce the chances of relapse to help ensure long-term abstinence.

Relapse Statistics

According to Mayo Medical School’s Department of Internal Medicine, the relapse rate for post-treatment alcohol addiction is 80 percent in the first year, but dips down to 40 percent for the second through fifth year of sobriety. After the fifth year, the rate drops again.

Meth addiction has one of the highest relapse rates. Of those who successfully complete a meth addiction treatment program, 88 percent will relapse in the first year. Of those who try to quit on their own, the rate of relapse is 95 percent in the first year.

Three Stages of Relapse

Relapse is a process rather than an event. Although the use of drugs or alcohol is commonly called a relapse, they’re actually lapses that can lead to a relapse of the addiction. This means that the user will be unable to stop taking the drug again despite the problems it causes and will experience withdrawal symptoms when the drug is withheld.

A single use won’t necessarily lead to a relapse of the addiction, although it can, and intervention must be swift to prevent that from happening.

There are three stages of relapse: emotional, mental, and physical.

Emotional relapse occurs when your emotions and behaviors are setting you up to use again. Signs of emotional relapse include:

  • Untreated anxiety and/or unresolved anger.
  • Defensiveness.
  • Mood swings.
  • Feelings of isolation.
  • Not asking for help even though you know you should.
  • Skipping recovery meetings.
  • Engaging in poor sleeping and eating habits.

Mental relapse is marked by the psychological struggle between staying sober and using the addictive substance again. By the end of this phase, the part that wants to use will typically win if help isn’t sought. Signs of a mental relapse include:

  • Thinking about the people and places from your life as a user.
  • Glamorizing your past use.
  • Lying to friends and family about your feelings.
  • Beginning to reacquaint with old friends who are still using.
  • Thinking and fantasizing about drug use again.
  • Planning to use again based on others’ schedules.

Physical relapse is the stage where the lapse occurs. Once the substance has been used again, continued abuse is very likely unless help is sought immediately.

How Relapse Prevention Programs Help

Relapse prevention programs build on the skills, strategies, and techniques patients gain during treatment to help prevent relapse. They help patients identify and avoid high-risk situations and triggers and teach them to identify warning signs of an impending lapse.

Patients in these programs develop an individualized and practical plan to follow in the event a lapse is imminent or has occurred.

Common Techniques to Prevent Relapse

While a large body of techniques has been developed to help prevent relapse, some of the more popular and highly effective techniques include:

Regular participation in support groups. Many recovery groups provide sponsors who can be contacted at any time to help intervene during a crisis or when a lapse feels imminent.

Engaging in healthy activities. Hobbies, exercise, and other healthy activities help burn excess energy and relieve stress as well as promote healthy relationships with non-using peers.

Ongoing behavioral therapy continues to promote self-awareness about issues surrounding the addiction and provide strategies for coping with stress, triggers, and cravings.

Alternative therapies like yoga, massage therapy, acupuncture, and meditation promote a healthy mind-body balance, relieve stress, and reduce cravings as well as help patients maintain a healthy lifestyle in general.

Residents of Hauppauge, NY can call (631)-729-7104 to learn more about other drug and alcohol treatment options available.

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