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Relapse Prevention

According to the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 4.1 million Americans received treatment for their substance use disorder. Of those, 900,000 were treated for illicit drug use, 1.4 million received treatment for alcohol use disorder and 1.3 million underwent some form of rehabilitation for both an alcohol and illicit drug problem. Patients of these drug treatment programs learned about relapse prevention and how to use it in order to help them maintain abstinence during and after their rehab.

 

What is involved in relapse prevention?

Relapse prevention in Idaho comes in many different forms one of them being the use of mood stabilization skills. Recovering addicts can use these skills to calm themselves in stressful situations instead of abusing substances to inefficiently and temporarily self-medicate. Mood stabilization can be done through meditation and breathing exercises to calm oneself until the urge to abuse a substance has subsided.

Often just speaking to a friend or family member about experiencing urges can help to prevent a potential relapse situation. Relying on others for support during ones recovery from addiction is critical and therefore post-treatment requires a supportive community that the recovering addict can look to for help during turbulent times. The attendance of support groups is also regarded as a preventive measure. These meetings can be a great source of empathy and understanding that people who are recovering from substance addiction often need in order not to feel isolated. Meetings such as Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous consist of 12-step programs that recovering addicts are able to follow to help them track and maintain their recovery progress.

 

The three stages of relapse

Relapse happens in three separate stages: the emotional, mental and physical stage. It is critical that relapse prevention be used during the first two stages of relapse before a physical relapse occurs. Below is a list of the stages along with a description of each:

  • Emotional relapse: The emotional stage of relapse occurs when the emotions that are experienced by the recovering addict such as stress or anxiety are potentially leading them to relapse. Feelings of anxiety or high stress situations should be met with caution and preventative measures if the urge to self-medicate by abusing a substance arises.
  • Mental relapse: This occurs when a person’s thoughts may be leading them to relapse. It can be set up by peer pressure into abusing a substance again or by the glamorizing of past times when the substance was abused. The initial thoughts that are involved with the abuse of a substance again is already enough to trigger a mental relapse.
  • Physical relapse: This stage of relapse is the final stage where the recovering addict actually abuses the substance again. If the situation gets to a physical relapse, the addict will need to undergo a detoxification if it is necessary and then go into treatment or post-treatment programs. It is important to note that addicts who have already relapsed have been found to have stronger willpower to remain abstinent than those who have yet to relapse.

 

What are the benefits?

Helping people in Idaho and across America to remain abstinent is the priority and sole function of relapse prevention. The benefits of it include:

  • Reducing anxiety, stress and feelings of isolation by encouraging social interaction through support groups.
  • Members of meetings can help one another to maintain their recovery progress through moral support and mutual respect.
  • One’s self-esteem can be improved by helping others at the meetings; this can help a person to feel empowered to take control of their lives and be more responsible.