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What Does Relapse Prevention Include?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse states, “More than 85% of people with addictions who stop using a drug begin using it again within a year.” Therefore, relapse prevention is being studied fervently by scientists to find interventional strategies to overcome the intense vulnerability of newly sober patients. For example, people in recovery see the people they once did drugs with or places they experienced drug use and feel vulnerable.

However, recovery is a process that takes time and personal growth to overcome old cravings and vulnerabilities. The possibility of relapse looms on the horizon for any person who is in recovery. Therefore, concentration on relapse prevention includes being aware of how relapse occurs. In addition, relapse education provides techniques to stay on track with recovery and continue a sober lifestyle. Finally, continuing individual and group therapy is incredibly helpful. 

What Is Relapse Prevention?

Relapse prevention is an essential component of treatment for a substance use disorder. However, relapse prevention is not often ranked highly in the prerequisites of choosing a treatment facility. Medically monitored detox, medication-assisted therapy (MAT), and inpatient and outpatient programs are among the main concerns of those seeking treatment.

In addition, the types of therapy options available and educational opportunities are of primary concern. Equally important is inquiring about relapse prevention strategies. Relapse prevention occurs between a therapist and a patient to help identify the possible situations, experiences, and stressors that may lead to relapse.

Moreover, the complex problems that could occur are labeled “triggers” and represent vulnerabilities that could lead to relapse. For example, emotional states leading to complicated feelings, social pressures, and uncontrolled thought processes can lead to cravings. Finally, the goal of relapse prevention is how to cope positively when faced with triggers to relapse. 

The Stages of Relapse

Relapse prevention education teaches how to cope with triggers that could manifest in relapse. In addition, understanding that triggers can be emotional, mental, and physical is only the initial phase of prevention. However, the relapse process can begin weeks or months before relapse. Finally, being prepared to focus on new coping mechanisms and leaning on therapy and support systems can prevent relapse.  

The risk of relapse can occur during each of these 3 phases:

  • Emotional relapse: A breakdown of new sober lifestyle habits. This includes eating and sleeping well and not staying in the moment, which can lead to an emotional breakdown and relapse. Initial thoughts and behaviors were not about using again. 
  • Mental relapse: Memories of using and good times bring someone to war with themself. Unfortunately, they’re thinking only about the good times before addiction began. As a result, they find themself debating about the pros and cons of using it again. 
  • Physical relapse: This stage occurs when someone has the first drink or pill, which soon leads to regular use.

How To Prevent Relapse

Relapse prevention can build a strong foundation for maintaining sobriety. First, reaching out for help is a good habit to fall into. Secondly, staying aware and in the present moment will help to cope with insecurities and lack of self-confidence. Finally, reaching out to a therapist or physician for reassurance and help can prevent losing the battle.

The following tips are crucial in preventing relapse:

  • Know any triggers
  • Remember the reasons for quitting
  • Ask for help
  • Care for one’s self
  • Manage withdrawal symptoms
  • Find (positive and healthy) distractions
  • Call a friend
  • Creating rewards to stay motivated
  • Follow a model

Relapse Prevention Strategies

Learning and continually practicing relapse prevention strategies can help prepare for the day or time you are in a high-risk situation. Subsequently, the theory behind relapse prevention is building a foundation of coping skills to meet the many challenges sobriety will present.

Previously, those with a substance use disorder had only one coping mechanism, addiction. As a result, the more positive sober experiences accumulated, the more practice to prevent relapse is possible. 

Relapse prevention continually offers the following personal growth factors to develop:

  • Build awareness around potential high-risk situations and thoughts.
  • Build a continual foundation of coping skills to address high-risk triggers.
  • Practice communicating with others to be comfortable and confident in saying no to using again.
  • Have a laid-out plan for emergencies when feeling like using or getting tempted.
  • Practice using cognitive restructuring for reframing thoughts.
  • Role-play scenarios to prepare for emergencies.

What Is Practice Relapse Prevention Education?

A new holistic relapse prevention therapy option can begin in treatment and continue in sober living. Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) is a successful technique for therapists to teach patients during treatment and aftercare. In addition, the mindfulness skills taught to clients use mindfulness meditation to cope with any triggering thoughts, feelings, or situations. Finally, this practice anticipates the cravings and challenging feelings without making a judgment. 

This therapy helps to process emotions and bodily sensations by being aware, recognizing, and identifying them but not acting upon them. First, learning to avoid the situation after being mindful and aware leads to engaging in healthy alternative activities to move forward. Secondly, using MBRP is more than preventing relapse; it is learning to use meditation and mindfulness in all aspects of life. Finally, MBRP leads to better self-esteem and self-confidence. 

Explore Opportunities for Relapse Prevention in California

Current relapse prevention programs are becoming a vital part of treatment programs throughout California. If you are searching for that missing component of treatment, Harmony Place in California offers many holistic therapies that align well with relapse prevention mindfulness and meditation theories. The warm and welcoming staff extend their knowledge to those searching for recovery and a solid individualized treatment plan.

Contact Harmony Place for answers to your questions.