Alcoholism and drug addiction are chronic, progressive disorders that require comprehensive, ongoing treatment and relapse prevention strategies for lifelong recovery. The addiction rehab treatment programs at Restore Treatment Center are designed to promote success in sobriety maintenance for a lifetime. In order for this to be possible, it is imperative that relapse prevention programs be applied during the recovery process.
Simply defined, a relapse is the return to substance use following an addict’s attempt at recovery. Relapse can occur at any time, from the onset of withdrawal symptoms during the detoxification phase, through to several years after successfully remaining abstinent from drugs and alcohol. The primary goal of our alcohol and drug rehabilitation programs at Restore Treatment Center, is to ensure relapse prevention for lifelong sobriety.
Relapse prevention is the term given to therapeutic intervention strategies that focus on minimizing cravings and managing addiction triggers to lessen the potential for relapse. Addiction treatment programs and therapy models emphasize on relapse prevention, because the goal of these programs is to maintain abstinence from drugs and alcohol. The strongest predictor of relapse is the onset of cravings. At Restore Treatment Center, we teach relapse prevention strategies to help clients make positive modifications to lifestyle choices and necessary coping skills to deal with cravings. Through relapse prevention programs, clients learn to identify environmental and emotional triggers that may lead them down a path towards substance abuse. It is important for addicts in recovery to be taught how to recognize and understand the three stages of relapse, so that immediate action can be taken in the event that any of these stages arise.
Many people assume that a relapse occurs in a single moment. However, relapse warning signs can start to build up over the course of several weeks before someone in recovery seeks out drugs or alcohol again. A recovering addict typically goes through three stages of relapse before physically returning to substance use. These stages serve as potential warning signs, and include:
- Emotional Relapse: The path to relapse often begins emotionally. A recovering addict may start experiencing feelings of stress and anxiety, leaving them in a state of vulnerability. The individual may start skipping group therapy meetings, or fail to participate when they do attend. Poor self-care is also a common warning sign, characterized by a lack of quality in both sleep and eating habits. When a recovering addict has entered this stage of relapse, they may not necessarily have the desire to use, or have even considered using again. However, if the person does not employ relapse prevention strategies, such as seeking support or counseling to deal with these negative feelings and emotions, they will likely progress on to the second stage of relapse.
- Mental Relapse: A mental relapse is the second stage of relapse. During a mental relapse, the recovering addict may start to fantasize about using again and begin experiencing intense cravings. The person will begin to battle between the desire to use, and the desire to remain abstinent. They may bargain with themselves in an attempt to justify a potential return to drugs or alcohol.
- Physical Relapse: This is the final stage of relapse, when the addict physically uses alcohol or drugs again. A lapse of just one drink, or using a drug one time, can easily lead to a full relapse, causing the individual to partake in regular abuse once again. Even using just once will increase the severity of mental relapse, leading to obsessive thoughts and cravings. At this time, it is imperative that the individual seeks out professional help and makes use of relapse prevention techniques, or else a physical relapse can result in the return of a full blown addiction.
All three stages of relapse are addressed through our relapse prevention programs at Restore Drug Treatment LA. The relapse prevention strategies used in addiction treatment help our clients become motivated to recognize their denial, and acquire the need to work past it. It is important to understand that a relapse is not a sign of failure, and rather an indication that further addiction treatment measure must be taken.
- Self-Care – Effective self-care is an important component of any relapse prevention program. Clients of Restore are taught to eat well, establish proper sleeping habits, and engage in enjoyable activities that do not involve drugs or alcohol. Alternative therapies, such as exercise and meditation, can help relieve stress and anxiety, which are common relapse triggers. Because physical relapse relies heavily on opportunity, clients also learn ways to avoid high-risk situations where they may be tempted to use again.
- Support – Having a strong support network after completing addiction treatment is a vital component of relapse prevention. Recovering addicts who actively speak with a personal counselor, sponsor and supportive family members and friends, have a greater chance of maintaining their sobriety. Attending and engaging in support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, is a beneficial relapse prevention strategy, as it allows addicts in recovery to interact with others who are fighting the same battle.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – This form of therapy is highly effective in teaching clients the necessary coping skills to deal with situations that may trigger them to use drugs or alcohol. CBT also targets a person’s thinking patterns and identifies negative thoughts that could hinder one’s recovery.
Many therapists today employ cognitive behavioral therapy alongside mindfulness-based programs for relapse prevention. Mindfulness further enhances a client’s ability to cope with relapse triggers by encouraging them to pay attention to the present moment. This helps recovering addicts to become aware of environmental triggers, as well as their physiological and behavioral reactions to them.
Relapse prevention strategies for alcoholism and drug addiction are most successful when taught in addiction treatment and applied during recovery. Restore Treatment Center provides the support and supervision that many addicts require in order to successfully navigate through every stage of recovery.
Aftercare services for relapse prevention are a necessity for people who have completed an addiction treatment program. Continuing to attend therapy in an outpatient setting, provides ongoing encouragement, a healthy social network, and prevents problematic habits from resurfacing.
In some instances, outpatient services are not always enough, and individuals in recovery will need to make sober living arrangements before transitioning to independent living. The sober living environment at Restore Drug Rehab LA helps clients in need of additional support to get back on their feet after attending rehab, and provides information on employment and housing.
Addiction recovery often requires the creation of a new life, new habits, and new methods of thinking. Restore Drug Treatment LA supplies clients with the recovery tools necessary to keep cravings and relapse triggers at bay. The cycle of addiction can be broken with proper treatment and quality relapse prevention programs.