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Relapse Prevention Strategies for Substance Abuse

Relapse Prevention Strategies for Substance Abuse
June 21, 2024
by admin

The reasoning behind relapse prevention strategies for substance abuse treatment is the high risk of relapse. Those who develop a substance use disorder can expect a change in disruptions to brain chemistry that alters the reward center, memory, and cognitive functioning.

Treatment plans that do not prepare their clients for the possibility of relapse are performing a disservice. Understanding the physical and psychological elements of eliminating substances from the body helps counteract the urge to use and feel normal again. Relapse prevention considerations are essential for fighting the intense cravings that can occur anytime. 

Drug Relapse Prevention Strategies

Every person who enters addiction treatment has different needs and specific problems. A comprehensive history helps design the treatment plan during assessment or evaluation. Drug relapse prevention strategies help each sustain through challenging moments of treatment to avoid relapse. The goal for each client is to complete the present task and move forward, beginning with medical detox.  

In medical detox, the goal is to free the body of the substance while keeping the client as comfortable as possible. Relapse prevention strategies begin immediately, with the physical and mental condition under supervision 24/7. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) can help avoid relapse by decreasing distress.

Positive and healthy coping methods are relapse prevention strategies for substance abuse that begin early in treatment to offer a sense of control for the individual over the pull of addiction. 

Identifying What A Relapse Is

Identifying relapse means that an individual chooses to use a substance after being alcohol or drug-free. The lapse often results from an unmet need during treatment but does not mean failure.

Re-examining individual needs, triggers, and coping strategies can help build a new relapse prevention plan. Those who experience relapse and seek immediate help can get back on their sober journey and learn from the experience. 

Types of Addiction Relapse Prevention Strategies

The list of relapse prevention strategies continues throughout the treatment process. Designing a relapse prevention plan to keep for future use is an essential tool. Certain substances can cause withdrawal symptoms to recur after treatment is over.

Being ready with a relapse prevention plan can eliminate the possibility of another addiction developing. With the education and essential options to prevent relapse and to utilize gradual transition choices, like sober living opportunities, the chances of continuing sobriety are greater. 

What are relapse prevention strategies based on? Treatment plans are specific for each individual to address the client’s history, environment, level of motivation, addiction details, and physical and mental health conditions. The participating support system is essential in developing family counseling and therapy sessions. Understanding relapse is vital for prevention and promoting consistent overall well-being with holistic techniques. 

Relapse prevention strategies for substance abuse include techniques that can help prevent relapse while promoting overall well-being, such as:

  • Yoga
  • Breathing techniques
  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Acupuncture
  • Massage therapy

Risk Factors for Relapse

According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse, 40 to 60% of those who receive treatment eventually relapse. Individual and group therapy are beneficial for determining triggers that challenge sobriety.

Relapse prevention strategies consider this information when designing a personal relapse prevention plan. Each individual needs to know their triggers and challenges to utilize their relapse prevention plan when they occur.

Common triggers and challenges to relapse potential are:

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Stress
  • Loneliness and other extreme emotions
  • Peer pressure
  • Fatigue or insomnia
  • Reoccurrence of withdrawal symptoms
  • Specific physical settings, sights, and smells
  • Relationship issues

What Is the Difference Between A Slip and A Relapse?

A slip can occur at any time. Relapse prevention strategies can end the possibility of relapse during a slip if immediately put into action. Taking a drink, using a drug 1 time, and realizing sobriety has been broken is typically just a slip.

Awareness of emotions, feelings, and thinking processes when a slight lapse occurs can prevent a total relapse. Seeking help from a therapist, therapy group, or mentor can reinforce relapse prevention. 

Relapse Prevention Strategies for Substance Abuse

Relapse prevention strategies for substance abuse can begin with practicing mindfulness and being in the present moment. When self-care is a high priority for those in recovery, being honest with oneself can help recognize the need to study a personal relapse prevention plan quickly.

Taking steps early before any negative behaviors begin to escalate is imperative to keeping sober. Staying far away from people, places, and thoughts that glorify past substance abuse is beneficial for self-control. 

The following list of relapse prevention strategies is crucial to staying in recovery:

  • Maintaining a healthy diet, consistent exercise routine, and sleep schedule
  • Manage stress daily by practicing yoga, meditation, or breathing techniques
  • Participate in support or self-help group meetings
  • Stay surrounded with positive and healthy people for support
  • Communicate when the need for help occurs
  • Continue with therapy, both individual and group
  • Continue consistent prescriptions as prescribed
  • Stay occupied and participate in a creative endeavor

Stages of A Relapse

Researchers define 3 stages of relapse to be aware of and take action on. Relapse can be a gradual emotional, mental, and physical process. Understanding these stages will help predict what relapse prevention strategies to maintain. Staying in the present moment to identify specific behaviors that occur in each stage may prevent a relapse that includes misuse or abuse of drugs or alcohol.

These include, but are not limited to:

  • Emotional relapse may not include using a substance but instead includes having such intense emotions or feelings that the individual ignores self-care habits.
  • Self-isolation, eating poorly, and not sleeping well are distinct warning signs.
  • Mental relapse describes an inner tug-of-war with oneself to fight cravings while remembering fun times with people using drugs or alcohol. 
  • Physical relapse involves relapse behaviors with drinking or drug use that escalate into an uncontrollable level. 

Relapse Prevention Support

Transitioning to independent living can be challenging for some. Therefore, utilizing sober living options with additional relapse prevention strategies for substance abuse can be beneficial. Taking sober living a step further to consider gender-specific sober living offers an extra level of safety for some.

Women’s recovery housing, as well as men’s sober living arrangements, can provide an additional level of focus and support during the transitional time to independent living. For those who need more time to make that transition from treatment to independent living, sober living options can be an added level of relapse prevention. 

Access Relapse Prevention Strategies and Sober Living Options With The Ascension House

Transitioning from treatment to independent living may be a frightening process, especially if the individual needs more support and supervision. The Ascension House in Texas offers sober living opportunities for those who want to transition to living independently with more structure.

Relapse prevention strategies already in place, sober living can supplement recovery with a chance to maintain sobriety after treatment.

Contact the center today for additional options for sober living programs.