Relapse is when a person is in sobriety and returns to abusing substances. Relapse prevention programs combine strategies developed during treatment to help people avoid returning to substance abuse. Relapse prevention is an integral part of treatment.
Relapse is common among addicted people, but it should not discourage addicts from continuing to try. Psychoactive substances have powerful holds on addicts. It was reported in a report published by the Caron Foundation entitled "Relapse & Recovery: Behavioral Strategies for Change", relapse rates are approximately 50 percent for returning to heavy use and about 90 percent of people have a brief relapse.
Relapse is progressive, as is the disease of addiction. Prevention plans help former substance abusers learn warning signs and strategies to put into effect to avoid using drugs or alcohol.
The following are the stages of relapse:
Treatment centers equip individuals to live a sober life by creating plans to deal with situations leading to relapse. Qualified addiction specialists help abusers plan behaviors in high risk situations. Familiar environments in which substance abuse occurred, life crises or major life changes are all examples of high risk situations.
Therapy teaches substance abusers warning signs, so they will be aware. Anger, resentment, fear, anxiety, agitation and considering using again are all warning signs to be recognized and then resolved. Once warning signs or high risk situations occur, a person should realize that reaching out for help right away is the best relapse prevention. Recognizing that mental and physical isolation will lead to sobriety failure if not addressed is also key.
Once leaving residential treatment, a substance abuser person must do "90 meetings in 90 days" to stay sober. Right after residential treatment is a critical time for an abuser and meetings are needed for support to avoid using drugs or alcohol. Meetings are also a lifelong commitment to stay sober. Meetings are also a good tool to use when the temptation to use is too great and immediate support is needed to avoid relapsing.
Sponsors are usually former addicts themselves, but are sober. They offer their time and experience to help others lead a sober life and can offer emergency support to avoid using drugs or alcohol. They also help addicts work through the 12-steps. People recovering from addiction need ongoing counseling to reinforce positive behaviors and stay aware. Counseling also needs to resolve any underlying negative emotions to avoid using drugs or alcohol.
Yoga, art, music, biofeedback, equine and other therapies help substance abusers express themselves in ways that are non-verbal. These therapies help people relax and maintain sobriety by encouraging and fostering positivity, creativity, self-awareness and good health.
Relapse rates are high and we understand every effort must be made to avoid sobriety failure. Using relapse prevention methods that have proven most effective helps individuals stay sober.