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A Guide to Relapse Prevention for Addiction Recovery

This may vary from person to person and be influenced by things such as extent and length of use. Talking openly about a lapse or relapse with a care team can help you develop and strengthen your relapse prevention plan and identify how to get back on track with your recovery goals. Nurses most often use the same monitoring as individuals in the rest of the healthcare team. They may also have contact with individuals who provide close support to the patient, such as family members, friends, or sponsors. Experts in the field commonly hold that the abstinence stage starts as soon as the individual ceases their use and may continue for one or two years.

relapse prevention

Financial support and sponsorship

Nurses are well placed to serve a key role in teams seeking to help individuals in recovery avoid relapses. Also, their ability to provide a wide range of interventions ranging from supportive therapy to medical interventions often proves to be a valuable asset to patients. Providers help patients in this stage to recognize and avoid situations that increase the risk of physical relapse. Participants in this stage may be at a significantly increased risk of a physical relapse during special times, such as a social event, holiday, or a trip when they may use mental bargaining to justify their use. A relapse prevention plan is used to help keep a person from using a substance after they have decided to quit.

relapse prevention

Mental Relapse

The power to resist cravings rests on the ability to summon and interpose judgment between a craving and its intense motivational command to seek the substance. Stress and sleeplessness weaken the prefrontal cortex, the executive control center of the brain. Cravings occur because the human brain has remarkable powers of association. They are typically triggered by people, places, paraphernalia, and passing thoughts in some way related to previous drug use. In the absence of triggers, or cues, cravings are headed toward extinction soon after quitting.

relapse prevention

Online Therapy Can Help

The combination of a substance abuse program and self-help group is the most effective [22,23]. But clients and families often begin recovery by hoping that they don’t have to change. 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.

Specific Intervention strategies in Relapse Prevention

To prevent a relapse, you will want to remove triggers, including places, people, or purchases that may bring about urges to use again. Some warning signs of a potential relapse, according to Gottlich, could include secretiveness, disengaging from treatment, and being overly arrogant about sobriety. Sometimes they are brought on by triggering events or situations, such as stress or major life events. Other times relapse can be a result of individuals not taking their recovery seriously and not engaging in the appropriate treatment,” says Britt Gottlich PsyD, Licensed Clinical Psychologist at Fifth Avenue Psychiatry. Contact a healthcare professional if you or someone you know suffers from a substance use disorder. You can learn about the best relapse-prevention treatment options for your needs.

What Are The Three Stages of Relapse?

For each goal you achieve, give yourself a reward as motivation to keep moving forward. For instance, book yourself a relaxing massage or buy yourself something you’ve had your eye on. Mindfulness is a practice that involves being present in the moment and being aware of your thoughts without judgment. Emotional awareness encourages you to check in with yourself before taking action, reminding you to stay mindful of your current state. Pause first when you experience these states and find ways to deal with them without turning to substances. Therapists and counselors will document, share, and regularly update these strategies throughout your treatment.

  • The belief that addiction is a disease can make people feel hopeless about changing behavior and powerless to do so.
  • Many researchers define relapse as a process rather than as a discrete event and thus attempt to characterize the factors contributing to relapse3.
  • It might mean entering, or returning to, a treatment program; starting, or upping the intensity of, individual or group therapy; and/or joining a peer support group.
  • RP clinical protocols typically include 12 weekly sessions, and are empirically supported when delivered over that time frame.

Substance use disorder

Prevention approaches

Alessandro Dev

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