Relapse in addiction means a return to drug or alcohol use after a period of abstinence. It is extremely common, which is why an important part of treatment is relapse prevention. Relapse often occurs because the withdrawal symptoms can be severe and extremely uncomfortable, and because the addicted person has learned to rely on their addiction to cope with life. The relapse prevention programs offered at Alcohol Treatment Centers Sacramento help to teach patients the skills and tools they’ll need to avoid triggers and temptations once they complete treatment.
Relapse rates are high, with around 60 percent of drug and alcohol addicts relapsing if they do not have access to effective relapse prevention therapies. Call us today to find out more about how we can help. Dial (530) 204-5366.
Relapse prevention treatments look for the warning signs that relapse is likely in order to prevent it occurring. These warning signs are of three types: emotional, mental, and physical, and they tend to progress in stages.
A major sign of emotional relapse that relapse prevention strategies look for is the appearance of unhealthy emotions. This often occurs during the early stages of recovery when the patient is experiencing severe physical withdrawal effects such as nausea, depression, sleep disturbances, and even seizures and hallucinations. They may begin to feel that it is all too much and they were better off remaining drug addicted or constantly drunk. At this stage hostility may surface and they may be unable to cope with the problems that previously led them to their drug or alcohol.
Mental relapse usually follows the emotional stage, and is a period in which the patient begins to return to their old thought processes. They may be in denial that they ever had a problem, and their behavior may become erratic. A loss of control and inability to cope with everyday events is common. During this phase of relapse the patient may start to mentally withdraw from their treatment and recovery programs.
Physical relapse is the final stage in the process and the warning signs include compulsive behaviors and a change in attitude. The patient may binge eat or become obsessive about dieting. They may over-work or over-exercise, and they may seek out unhealthy relationships. They will often tend to become difficult to live and work with, and may feel they are completely out of their depth and losing control. The urge to return to their addiction becomes stronger, and in the end is almost impossible to avoid without intervention treatments. Their return to addiction usually has a trigger, but once the processes of relapse begin it is almost inevitable.
Therapies aimed at relapse prevention are designed to help the recovering addict to cope with the physical cravings, and to learn new techniques and life skills to help them cope with depression, anxiety, and the various crises that occur in life without returning to their addiction. There are physical and mental components to addiction, and drug treatment must address both types of issue if it is to be successful. Quite apart from chemical changes in the brain, addictions tend to set up bad habits and may involve a social circle of people who are also addicted. Recovery may include abandoning old friends and finding new social outlets if relapse is to be prevented.
Drug and alcohol treatment models often include the recovering addict’s family in counseling sessions, since it is important that they too understand addiction and the warning signs of impending relapse. They will be able to recognize the warning signs while the recovering addict may not, and if they understand what is going on they can persuade the patient to return to treatment and avoid a relapse.
Treatments used to prevent relapse include mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, restorative yoga, skills training, and involvement in recovery programs, which may continue for many years or for the rest of the person’s life.
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