Relapse prevention is a set of techniques and systems designed to reduce the possibility of relapse among recovering drug addicts. Relapse prevention is an important part of drug treatment, and the cornerstone of any successful treatment regime along with medical detox and rehabilitation. Relapse prevention is mostly based on cognitive and behavioral principles, with therapists working with patients to recognize potential triggers, avoid high risk situations and reconcile the divisions between thoughts, feelings and behavioral responses.
Relapse prevention has proved useful across a range of substance use disorders, and is widely used in both residential and aftercare treatment regimes. To find out more about these drug treatment methods, contact Drug Treatment Tallahassee, at (850) 254-8944.
Relapse, also known as recidivism, is a medical term used to describe the resumption of a past condition. In the context of drug and alcohol treatment, recidivism describes the situation that arises when someone returns to drug use following a period of abstinence. Relapse can occur at any time, both during formal treatment and once a patient has completed a rehabilitation program.
Aftercare techniques are integrated into numerous psychotherapy programs, with dedicated prevention systems also administered on an aftercare basis. Sobriety failure is a landmark feature of substance abuse and dependence, both of which are based on learned behaviors that create alterations in brain structure.
A wide range of psychoactive substances are associated with recurrent drug and alcohol abuse, including stimulants and depressants. Stimulants increase cerebral and motor activity, with common examples including cocaine, methamphetamine and amphetamines. Depressants slow down neuronal activity, with common examples including opioids, benzodiazepines and alcohol.
Regardless of specific brain changes, people who consume drugs on a continual and extensive basis become accustomed to the effects of certain drugs. When drug use is stopped, people often seek re-exposure in order to satisfy physical and psychological dependence. Substances with the highest pharmacological efficacy and highest tolerance are more likely to cause a sobriety failure scenario.
Relapse is both an outcome and a transgression of the recovery process. During drug treatment, a lapse in sobriety is often approached as a series of separate stages, with emotional relapse marking the first stage. Common signs of this stage include anger, frustration, irritability, anxiety, depression, mood swings and a generally confused emotional state. Patients may be unaware of these signs as they’re taking place, with therapists helping them to recognize potential triggers and avoid dangerous emotional situations.
Mental relapse is the next step, with this phase marked by a confusing and often contradictory mental state. Common signs include lying, fantasizing about future drug use, romanticizing past drug use, spending time with old friends, and planning specific drug/alcohol use scenarios.
This stage can be very difficult for recovering addicts, because they are stuck between worlds and don’t know which way to turn. Even if they are aware of their transgressions, they may not have the psychological skills needed to avoid making impulsive responses. If left untreated, a physical relapse event is likely.
Most aftercare exercises and systems are based on psychological principles, with behavior therapy and mindfulness techniques often used to encourage recovery. Some programs also offer practical guidance, with patients much less likely to use drugs and alcohol again if they have access to stable living arrangements and employment.
Aftercare programs and non-profit community groups may be able to assist with these practical measures, with examples including:
If you or anyone you know needs help with relapse prevention, it’s important to contact a specialized drug and alcohol treatment center as soon as possible. Call Drug Treatment Tallahassee at (850) 254-8944, to learn more about your various rehab and treatment options.