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Relapse Prevention

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Relapse Prevention Program in California

What is Relapse?

relapse prevention program

Why Does Relapse Occur?

What Are Triggers?

In his literature on relapse prevention, addiction medicine physician Steven Melemis highlights that the process of relapse typically unfolds gradually, encompassing three distinct stages: emotional, mental, and physical. Moreover, this process initiates even before an individual resumes their consumption of alcohol or drugs.

Stage 1:  Emotional Relapse: This is the first stage of relapse and involves experiencing negative emotions that can trigger a relapse. These emotions may include anger, anxiety, loneliness, or frustration.

Stage 2: Mental Relapse: In this stage, the individual starts to think about using drugs or alcohol again. They may have cravings and memories of their past substance use.

Stage 3: Physical Relapse: The final stage of relapse is when the individual begins to use drugs or alcohol again.

Our dual diagnosis treatment center in California addresses addiction along with any co-occurring mental health condition.

The progression of addictions involves various stages, starting from initial experimentation and leading to regular use, followed by high-risk behavior and ultimately, dependence. Consequently, it is not unexpected that unraveling uncontrollable behavior takes time and is not an immediate process.

The journey of addiction recovery is not a quick fix; rather, it entails acquiring coping mechanisms that must be practiced throughout one’s lifetime to maintain active recovery. In many cases, seeking professional assistance is the key to achieving long-term abstinence.

Stage 1: Awareness: This is the initial stage of recovery where the individual becomes aware of their addiction and its impact on their life.

Stage 2: Contemplation: In this stage, the individual starts to consider making changes in their life and seeks information about recovery options.

Stage 3: Preparation: The person in recovery prepares themselves mentally and emotionally for the journey ahead by creating a plan for sobriety and seeking support from others.

Stage 4: Action: This is when the individual takes action toward recovery by actively engaging in treatment, and therapy, and making lifestyle changes to support their sobriety.

Stage 5: Maintenance: In this stage, the individual continues to stay committed to their recovery plan and works towards maintaining sobriety while also addressing any challenges that may arise.

Stage 6: Termination: The final stage of recovery is when an individual has successfully maintained sobriety for an extended period and no longer identifies as being in active addiction.

It’s important to note that these stages are not linear and individuals may move back and forth between them during their journey towards recovery. It’s also crucial for those in recovery to continue practicing relapse prevention strategies even after reaching the termination stage to prevent any potential relapses.

Relapse Prevention

Relapse Prevention Treatment Options

man on a relapse prevention program

This treatment option involves visiting a therapist or counselor regularly to discuss triggers and develop a relapse prevention plan. It can also include individual therapy sessions and support from peers who are also in recovery.

For those with more severe drug or alcohol addiction issues, inpatient rehabilitation may be the best option. This involves staying at a treatment center for a designated amount of time and participating in various therapies and activities to address the underlying causes of addiction.

MAT combines medication and therapy to help individuals manage cravings and withdrawal symptoms while also addressing the psychological aspects of addiction.

These can be either in-person or online gatherings of individuals who are struggling with substance abuse. They provide a supportive environment where members can share their experiences, receive guidance, and build a strong network of like-minded individuals.

The support system surrounding an individual can also play a crucial role in their recovery and preventing relapse. Family counseling and therapy sessions can help loved ones gain a better understanding of addiction as a disease, as well as learn how to identify potential triggers for relapse and provide support in those situations. Family therapy can also improve communication skills and enhance the overall dynamics within the family unit.

Each person’s treatment plan should be customized to meet their specific needs. In addition to relapse prevention techniques, treatment strategies should take into account factors such as the individual’s environment, level of motivation, the severity of their addiction, any co-occurring medical or mental health conditions, and other relevant factors.

At Santa Barbara Recovery we provide the following steps to help our clients create effective relapse prevention plans.

  • Identify Triggers: The first step in creating a relapse prevention plan is to identify the triggers that may lead to substance abuse. These can include certain people, places, emotions, or high-risk situations that have been associated with past substance use.
  • Develop Coping Strategies: Once triggers have been identified, it’s important to develop healthy coping strategies to deal with them when they arise. These can include exercise, relaxation techniques, talking to someone supportive, or engaging in enjoyable activities.
  • Build a Support Network: Having a strong support system is crucial for preventing relapse. This can include family members, friends, therapists, support groups, or sponsors who will offer encouragement and accountability during difficult times.
  • Set Goals: Setting short-term and long-term goals can provide motivation and direction for individuals in recovery. Goals should be specific, achievable, and focused on personal growth rather than just abstinence from substances.

Beyond treatment, individuals have the ability to influence relapse prevention. Engaging in self-care, reaching out for support, maintaining honesty, following guidelines, and adjusting harmful behaviors can all contribute to a successful recovery journey. Here are a few techniques to consider.

Being mindful of one’s thoughts, feelings, and surroundings can help individuals recognize and address triggers before they lead to relapse.

Finding new hobbies or activities that bring joy and fulfillment can be a positive outlet for individuals struggling with substance abuse.

Learning to say no to offers of substances or invitations to places where substances may be present is an essential skill for preventing future relapse.

Regularly attending support group meetings and group therapy for substance abuse can provide ongoing motivation, guidance, and accountability for those in recovery.

Despite one’s best efforts, relapse may still occur. Having an emergency plan in place that includes contacting a sponsor or attending an extra therapy session can help prevent a slip from turning into a full relapse.

Remember, relapse does not mean failure. Individuals in recovery must be gentle with themselves and seek additional support when needed. With the right treatment options and relapse prevention therapy, it is possible to overcome addiction and maintain long-term sobriety.

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