Denial is a big part of this stage because individuals aren’t actually consciously thinking about using again. At this stage of relapse, the individual isn’t even thinking about drinking or using drugs again. They are motivated not to repeat their last regression. However, their behaviors and emotions are setting them up for using again in the future. The process can start weeks or even months before a person begins using a drug or drinking again. Relapse is a part of a lot of people’s stories, especially in recovery, it can be more common than not. But relapse does not need to be a part of your story with relapse prevention strategies.

Addiction, like diabetes or asthma, can be properly managed if it’s treated as a chronic condition and one that requires personalized, ongoing support and treatment, long term. In reality, habitual drug use results in altered brain pathways and neurotransmitters. In the beginning, achieving sobriety is, unfortunately, not a linear process. It takes time to establish, readjust, and understand the nuances of addiction recovery. Even long after a drug’s chemicals are no longer in the body, the underlying addiction and cravings may persist. The desire to return to what feels “normal” is what can lead to relapse.

What Is Relapse Prevention?

Our programs and peer groups are designed to help you identify what inspires you to develop coping skills for substance abuse. You can discuss healthy alternatives to cope with addiction that won’t lead you back to relapse. Compile a list of who you can call if you experience cravings, what you can do to distract yourself from cravings and how you can stop a craving altogether. Substance use is a negative coping skill, sohealthy coping skillswill prevent relapse and result in positive outcomes in the long-term.

Relapse Prevention Skills in Recovery

In recovery, the best lessons are found in the experience, strength and hope of others’ recoveries. Check out our new webinar series that unites recovery speakers from across the country in order to share a collective set of strategies and expertise. Please reach out to one of our friendly intake coordinators to start down the path to sobriety today. If you just sit there with your urge and don’t do anything, you’re giving your mental relapse room to grow. Just being in the place or smelling the drinks can be enough to derail your sobriety. Also, despite the shame you may feel right now, remember that you are human. It is important, however, that we get back up after we fall.

Is Treatment Necessary For Every Relapse?

The more acute self-awareness is, the easier it is to spot potential problems. Below are three universally accepted stages that indicate levels of relapse. Understanding how pervasive the disease of addiction is in the lives of addicts is critical before entering the recovery highway. Drugs or alcohol have been the driving force in the lives of addicted individuals for the duration of the illness. Every waking thought has been about using, obtaining, and having the funds to get the desired drugs or alcohol. Relapse can happen for more reasons than a robust physical craving.

  • If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction,contact The Recovery Village today.
  • Also, despite the shame you may feel right now, remember that you are human.
  • As with any disease, there is an ever-present danger of relapse.
  • Compile a list of who you can call if you experience cravings, what you can do to distract yourself from cravings and how you can stop a craving altogether.

The magic of sharing is that the minute you start to talk about what you’re thinking and feeling, your urges begin to disappear. They don’t seem quite as big and you don’t feel as alone.

Know Your Triggers

We know that completing rehab is just the beginning of a journey that can be difficult in many ways. Our goal is to offer clients the guidance, support, and assistance to stay on track.

Relapse Prevention Skills in Recovery

Once relapse prevention strategies have been defined, outlining triggers and potential signs of relapse, it’s time to come up with steps to avoid them. It’s important that the steps of the plan are as specific as possible. Further, life never stays the same so strategies should be updated as necessary to keep them relevant.

Destination Hope is a full service drug, alcohol and dual diagnosis treatment facility in Florida for men suffering from substance abuse and mental health issues. The best relapse-prevention strategy is to identify these situations in your life, then make sure to have a specific plan in place to deal with each one. Ask a supportive friend or family member to role-play ways to refuse or avoid drugs, so that it feels comfortable and natural. Many recovering individuals find that bringing a member of their sober support group to what they know will be a challenging situation can make it easier to stay abstinent. Offering to be a designated driver can also help you stay sober and maintain control of the situation. If a lapse or relapse occurs, the patient should be encouraged and guided by the clinician to explore the relapse itself and the circumstances surrounding it, including any early warning signs of relapse.

Later, when using turns into a negative experience, they often continue to expect it to be positive. It is common to hear addicts talk about chasing the early highs they had.

Specific Relapse Prevention Strategies That Work

In this page you will learn how to use specific relapse prevention techniques for each stage of relapse. Like most challenging experiences in life, recovery is easier with supportive people around you. Self-help groups and participation in substance abuse programs, such as a cognitive relapse prevention program, contribute to recovery success. In emotional relapse, an addicted individual thinks about the misery of life, keeps him/herself isolated meanwhile the brain sets the ground for relapse. In the mental phase, you start to recall the good times you spent under the influence of substances. This time, the brain starts to affect your decision by providing logical feedings to your conclusion. The final phase of relapse occurs when you start using the substance again and get back to your forgotten routines of using the substance.

Relapse Prevention Skills in Recovery

In recovery, it is vital to develop your foresight to make more logical decisions. This tool can help prevent relapse by allowing you to imagine precisely what using alcohol or drugs might lead to. When you experience a craving, try thinking about what using will do to your progress in recovery. Remember the crushing Relapse Prevention Skills in Recovery power of the constant cravings you felt in active addiction. You may also want to think about your loved ones and how using drugs or alcohol would make them feel. With a clear mind in recovery, you can regain your ability to look into the future and make better decisions for yourself and those you love.

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The more critical factor to consider is the safety of you or your loved one if the relapse has progressed to the point of dangerous levels of drugs or alcohol in the system. There, you can focus more time on therapy and adjusting thoughts and behaviors to be better at handling stressful situations. Meditation and yoga, as well as spiritual healing, are important to even out thought distortions that may lead to the path of future relapse. It’s difficult and even impossible to prevent some things from happening. Being sober and avoiding relapse means having to make the hard calls. This might include something such as removing a toxic relationship from your life or going to different places to avoid the temptation. Whether you encountered a trigger and let your guard down, or thought you had a handle on things so tight that “just a little” wouldn’t send you into a downward spiral once again into relapse.

The Journal of the American Medical Association shows the numbers of relapse requiring additional medical assistance with several diseases. Asthma and high blood pressure show a 50 to 70 percent relapse rate, diabetes type 1 shows 30 to 50 percent, and drug addiction comes in at 40 to 60 percent. Therefore you relapse when you don’t take care of yourself and create situations that are mentally and emotionally draining that make you want to escape.

  • It can also be assuring to know that most people have the same problems and need to make similar changes.
  • We look to treat the whole person by providing not only clinical treatment, but also life and job skills to invest in their own future.
  • By implementing physical exercise and a balanced diet, one can improve their quality of sleep.
  • Certain people, places, and situations can drive you back into drinking or using drugs again.
  • Once you start thinking about relapse, if you don’t use some of the techniques mentioned above, it doesn’t take long to go from there to physical relapse.
  • The two basic goals of relapse prevention are to minimize the impact high-risk situations have and to help you set up a lifestyle that is not conducive to using.

Things to include in your plan are triggers, cravings, coping tools and support group information. Withdrawal symptoms like nausea, shakiness, and sweating can be so difficult that you want to use drugs again just to stop them. Medications can help you manage withdrawal symptoms before they trigger a relapse. Certain people, places, and situations can drive you back into drinking or using drugs again. In Relapse Prevention , the clinician and patient work first to assess potential situations that might lead to drinking or using other drugs.

But, recovery is not just about “quitting” and “abstaining” as much as it’s about building a new life in which it is easier—and more desirable—not to use. It’s also important to learn positive ways to successfully manage the stress. John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE is board-certified in addiction medicine and preventative medicine. He is the medical director at Alcohol Recovery Medicine. For over 20 years Dr. Umhau was a senior clinical investigator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health .

Establish An Action Plan

Think about what’s driving you to quit, such as rebuilding damaged relationships, keeping a job, or getting healthy again. One assumption in RP models is that individuals are already motivated for abstinence or to reduce their drinking. One particularly notable innovation to the Relapse Prevention model is Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention . In this related approach, clinicians teach patients mindful meditation to help them cope with potentially triggering thoughts, feelings, and situations. The clinician will use a range of strategies to facilitate these activities.

Growth Stage Ongoing Recovery

Clinical experience has shown that this stage usually lasts 2 to 3 years. Clinicians can distinguish mental relapse from occasional thoughts of using by monitoring a client’s behavior longitudinally. Warning signs are when thoughts of using change in character and become more insistent or increase in frequency. Some not always apparent – to help sustain a healthy, drug-free lifestyle. It is useful to understand these basic rules and start to live by them to help your chances of avoiding relapse.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction,contact The Recovery Village today. Our trained professionals will help you find treatment options that best suit your needs.

They often enter treatment saying, “We want our old life back — without the using.” I try to help clients understand that wishing for their old life back is like wishing for relapse. Rather than seeing the need for change as a negative, they are encouraged to see recovery as an opportunity for change. If they make the necessary changes, they can go forward and be happier than they were before. It forces people to reevaluate their lives and make changes that non-addicts don’t have to make. Dealing with post-acute withdrawal is one of the tasks of the abstinence stage . Post-acute withdrawal begins shortly after the acute phase of withdrawal and is a common cause of relapse .