Anyone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol knows how hard it is to stop using them. Because the body and mind become dependent on drugs, the addict has to use more to get high. When the addict tries to stop using, the body responds with cravings and unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Whenever these occur, there is always potential for a relapse. This is why it is essential to have a relapse prevention program in place.
A relapse occurs any time an individual who has stopped using drugs begins using again. Although most instances of a return to drugs occur within the first year of sobriety, the reality is that relapse can occur any time during recovery. Returning to drug use after withdrawal presents its own special set of complications. Overdoses in individuals recovering from drugs or alcohol are far too common making relapse prevention an especially important part of treatment.
Relapse prevention focuses on teaching the individual the skills necessary to prevent a return to using drugs either via a structured prevention program, prevention therapy, or prevention group interactions. It is important to remember that anyone suffering from a chronic disease or disorder can find him/herself dealing with the ravages of the disease again. This is a medically recognized problem, and the medical and psychological communities have developed strategies to prevent the problem as well as get sufferers back on track. If you or a loved one is struggling to maintain their sobriety, the professionals at Drug Treatment Centers Bristol can help. Give us a call today at 860-516-2414.
There are three acknowledged types of relapse. Each stage is part of a cycle that leads to the next stage. These three types are emotional, mental, and physical. Completing the cycle without intervention may mean that the addict will return to using, making the signs and symptoms that accompany each phase of the cycle especially important to recognize.
Drug and alcohol recovery is an emotional process. Not only does the individual have to confront the emotions long hidden by drug use, he or she must also learn to manage emotions in a drug-free way. Before getting clean, users rely on drugs to help them manage the emotions of stress, anger, anxiety, and more. The user may also have used drugs to manage the insomnia that is common when stress is present.
Even happy emotions can trigger a return to drug use. Many individuals who are recovering from drug use used drugs or alcohol to celebrate happy times as well as to dull the bad times. Situations like weddings, graduations, and other social gatherings may serve as triggers for substance abuse, and the addict must have skills in place to combat the desire to use again. Although the addict is typically not thinking about using drugs during this stage, he or she must employ strategies to avoid using.
As the problem worsens, addicts begin to battle with themselves about using drugs. They begin to think a lot about using and may make plans to use “just once.” During this phase, the addict may reach out to old friend he or she used to do drugs with. As occasional thoughts about using become more constant, the addict is in increasing danger of using again.
This stage occurs when the addict uses again. Preventing this stage is key to staying off drugs as this is the most difficult process to fight for the addict. Relapse prevention programs teach addicts how to manage these three stages because, for most addicts, they are inevitable. Reaching out to a support person or group and initiating a pre-planned backup plan can keep the addict from reaching this stage.
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