Relapse After Addiction: Causes and Prevention

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It is common, even expected, that people who are attempting to overcome addiction will go through one or even several relapses before successfully quitting. For people trying to control their behavior rather than trying to quit entirely, a relapse happens when the individual had gotten control over the behavior but is re-experiencing a period of uncontrolled behavior. For example, someone who had completely stopped drinking for a period of time, say six months, would be experiencing a relapse if they began drinking in an unhealthy manner. If they had just one drink, they might be considered as having a “slip,” but not a full relapse.

Distraction Ideas for Cravings

They try out different lines and actions, preparing for their performance. But did you know that a similar strategy can be super helpful for people working to overcome addictive behaviors? This strategy, known as the Role-play/Rehearsal tool in SMART Recovery, is a powerful way to get ready for tough situations and make smart choices.

Following Through with Treatment

Someone who has grown dependent on a substance may not feel “normal” without it. Therefore, a return to drug or alcohol use may seem like a good way to get back to feeling OK, curbing withdrawal symptoms, and combating strong cravings. Various forms of monitoring have been used to detect drug/alcohol use. Objective evidence of abstinence has been a critical component of many relapse prevention programs. The results often inform contingency management programs (discussed above) of drug tests.

  • For example, in Relapse Prevention – and many of the cognitive-behavioral approaches – role playing is common.
  • Now is the time to put our plan into action or we increase the risk of a lapse.
  • Breathing greatly impacts your emotions and helps regulate your overall mood.
  • Instead, a relapse signifies that additional and/or a different form of treatment is necessary.

Know your triggers

relapse prevention skills

The myths related to substance use can be elicited by exploring the outcome expectancies as well as the cultural background of the client. Following this a decisional matrix can be drawn where pros and cons of continuing or abstaining from substance are elicited and clients’ beliefs may be questioned6. Emily, who has been sober for several months, felt confident about her recovery. However, she continued attending therapy sessions and support group meetings. This might involve a counselor, therapist, or addiction specialist who can provide further guidance and resources.

Providers have long recognized that relapse is a process rather than an event. Many treatment programs incorporate cognitive-behavioral therapy and counseling to delve into one’s personal history and the emotions underlying their struggles with recovery. Cognitive-behavioral therapy entails examining life experiences and thought patterns, and reshaping one’s thinking positively rather than succumbing to negative self-talk. A comprehensive treatment regimen should encompass one’s mental, physical, and spiritual well-being, fostering healing from within. It teaches individuals to stay fully present in the moment, cultivating an awareness of their thoughts and feelings without judgement.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Relapse Prevention

  • CBT is a form of psychotherapy that helps identify negative thoughts that lead to substance abuse.
  • By addressing the trauma at its root, individuals are better equipped to prevent relapse and achieve lasting recovery.

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