Getting proper addiction treatment involves more than just helping someone in the short term. In fact, addiction is a mental issue that never really goes away. That’s why proper rehab treatment also includes relapse prevention. However, what is relapse, and how can people prevent it?
What Is Relapse?
Relapse occurs when people stop using drugs and then start using again. In fact, stopping drug use is a lot like losing weight or trying out a new diet. People have to learn what they can and can’t eat. To make matters worse, it’s easy to slip up and regain weight when they eat too much.
Stopping drug use isn’t much different. People can start strong in rehab but find it hard to remain clean when they get back their freedom. Relapse prevention helps them learn to control and avoid these slip-ups.
How Does Relapse Prevention Help?
Relapse prevention helps people avoid turning to drugs in a number of ways. First, however, it’s important to note that it only works when people have already completed rehab. Relapse prevention alone isn’t enough.
To prevent relapse, people have to deal with their underlying issues. These are the problems that led them to drug use in the first place. Sometimes they include early exposure to drug use at home. Other times, they’re underlying mental health conditions. In either case, traditional therapy and rehab programs can help people overcome underlying problems.
Next, preventing relapse revolves around learning triggers. These are things that make people want to use drugs. They come in many different forms. Certain people and places can trigger drug urges, for instance.
For many, however, the biggest trigger is stress. People who don’t know how to handle it count on drugs to take the edge off. Other common causes of relapse include:
- Uncomfortable emotions (anger, loneliness and hunger)
- Poor self-care
- Relationships and romantic encounters
- Withdrawal symptoms
Once again, therapy can help people figure out what triggers them to use. Once they know their triggers, preventing relapse involves planning how to avoid them. However, they can’t avoid certain triggers forever. Relapse programs teach them how to overcome the triggers that arise.
Stages of Relapse in Addiction
Believe it or not, relapse happens for a reason. People go through stages before they start using drugs again. The first stage is an emotional relapse.
During an emotional relapse, they might not be aware that relapse crosses their mind. They simply experience emotions that make them more likely to relapse, such as anxiety and anger.
The second stage is a mental relapse. During this stage, people start to think about using drugs again. Keep in mind that they just think about using drugs. They don’t use them yet.
The third and final stage is the physical relapse. During this stage, they actually use drugs. Once they hit this stage, they have to go through detox all over again and re-enter rehab.
Relapse Prevention Techniques
Thankfully, people can use a few techniques to prevent relapse. The first thing to remember is that drug cravings come in waves. They usually last between 20 and 30 minutes. During these waves, people have to find ways to distract themselves for at least 30 minutes.
They also have to make relaxation a priority. While it’s important to stay busy, they have to learn to enjoy some downtime. Relaxing lowers anxiety and stress levels, which also reduces the risk for relapse.
Denver Recovery Can Help With Treatment to Avoid Relapsing
At Denver Recovery, we take relapse prevention very seriously. We offer a wide range of programs that give people the best chance of recovery, including:
- Dual diagnosis treatment
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Partial hospitalization program
- Holistic therapy
- Family therapy
Denver Recovery also offers several treatment services, including heroin addiction treatment. Each of our plans involves techniques to help prevent relapse. Our friendly staff is here to help you through the long journey.
Fight back against your addiction, and take your life back. Learn how to avoid relapse with the help of Denver Recovery. Call us today at (844) 602-3175.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the relapse prevention model?
Cognitive-behacvioral therapy utilizes relapse prevention therapy. It can help patients limit relapses during their recovery by having them anticipate scenarios that could trigger their addictive behavior.
What are several guidelines for preventing relapse?
It starts with self-care, but there are also several other techniques such as mindfulness meditation, knowing your triggers, support groups, grounding techniques, and creating an emergency contact list.
What is the number one cause of relapse?
The two most common reasons are boredom and isolation, especially with individuals in early recovery. Prior to recovery, most downtime was probably used getting their substance, using, or recovering from the substance.