Relapse Prevention Programs The Key To Fighting Addiction
A drug or alcohol addiction is not a condition that can be resolved in a short period of time. In fact, remaining sober is something that will require management over the long-term because the risk of relapse is so high (40 to 60% chance of relapse). Relapse prevention is a crucial part of the long-term recovery of a person suffering from substance use disorder.
Relapse prevention explained
Relapse is when a person who has been addicted to a substance starts using again after stopping. Relapse prevention is the techniques and knowledge used to prevent a relapse from taking place. It is important to note that relapse is not just a single event but rather a process that unfolds. This means that there is an opportunity to employ methods that have been learned during treatment programs to prevent the relapse from occurring.
The Process of Relapse
Relapse is said to happen in three stages; emotional, mental and physical. Each stage has signs that it is occurring and with the knowledge of what the stages look like, steps can be taken to stop it from happening. The following section explains how relapse happens:
There are many potential triggers for drug or alcohol abuse in a recovering addict. These are usually emotionally charged events that are difficult to deal with, triggering a craving to take a substance to cope. An event such as losing someone you care about or being fired can be a powerful trigger for relapse. Peer pressure is a strong motivator for drug abuse too as well as other tempting situations where the substance is freely available, such as at a party.
When these triggers occur, the recovering person is advised to use techniques learned in therapy such as meditation to calm themselves and attend support group meetings to share what it is that is happening to them.
Addiction is not something that can easily be dealt with alone and support groups can help a person to prevent relapse over the long-term. The social interaction alone that is available at support group meetings (such as the 12-step program) can help to reduce a person’s feelings of stress and anxiety. New friendships and bonds can be formed with people that hold the same values and together help each other to stay away from substance abuse.
Accountability for individual action goes up as self-esteem goes up through continued group meeting support. Gaining the support of others can help build personal motivation to remain sober. According to Project MATCH Research Group, “group therapy and addiction treatment are natural allies. One reason is that people who abuse substances often are more likely to remain abstinent and committed to recovery when treatment is provided in groups, apparently because of rewarding and therapeutic forces such as affiliation, confrontation, support, gratification, and identification.”
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