Relapse is when an addict shows mental signs of a relapse or actually physically relapses. Relapse prevention is important for minimizing the risk of relapse. Relapse prevention, a term often used to describe the various tools and techniques one can use to keep a relapse at bay, is a big component of many drug treatment programs.
Aftercare and relapse prevention strategies can help addicts who are in recovery stay sober in the long-term. For more information on how to help someone you love in recovery, or for help finding support options, call Garland Drug Treatment Centers at (972) 536-2109.
The percentage of people who will suffer a drug or alcohol relapse following a period of recovery ranges from 50 to 90 percent. While this number is quite high, adhering to successful aftercare programs or services greatly reduces one’s chance of recurrent drug abuse. Some addicts may only use drugs or alcohol one more time, while others make a complete return to their former lifestyle.
It’s important to remember that using drugs or alcohol once after spending time sober does not mean that previous attempts at treatment and recovery have failed. Immediate treatment following recurrent drug abuse can help prevent the addict from completely returning to their substance abuse lifestyle.
Emotional Relapse – The addict’s emotions and behaviors are increasingly negative. However, at this stage the addict isn’t actually thinking about using again. Signs include:
Mental Relapse – The addict is actually thinking about using the drug again. Warning signs are:
Physical Relapse – The addict is planning on using the drug again and acting on their impulses. Signs include:
Aftercare programs serve many purposes. Some of the main goals include teaching the best coping skills for identifying, anticipating or coping with high risk situations for an addict trying to maintain their sobriety. Many programs also work towards helping recovering addicts learn how to recognize and control their behavior.
An important coping skill that may be taught in aftercare programs is mindfulness. This means developing an awareness and acceptance of one’s steady stream of subtle thoughts and triggers that may push them towards using drugs or alcohol. It can be helpful to learn to cope using meditation or yoga. Such practices can help ground an addict in the present moment and reduce stress that could ultimately lead to using drugs or alcohol.
Many programs also offer continuing support and care even after the person has completed the initial program. This may include individual and/or group counseling, as well as support groups. By keeping a network of supportive individuals, an addict can benefit by reducing stress or depression to appropriate social interactions as well as developing positive friendships with those who will not encourage drug or alcohol use.
Many programs help participants develop a plan of action for addiction relapse prevention. Experts suggest calling a person who is also in recovery or a counselor if an addict begins experiencing a craving or starts feeling that he or she cannot control the craving. A good suggestion is to carry an index card with information such as the names and phone numbers of several people the recovering addict can call as soon as the craving hits.