how to prevent drug addiction relapse, addictions and recovery relapse, relapse prevention skills for drug addicts, addiction relapse prevention strategies

Many people think the only challenging part of dealing with an addiction is to stop using drugs. However, substance use disorder is a chronic illness. Once you stop using drugs, you begin the tricky part of managing your addiction. You are likely to return to using drugs after your rehabilitation. Statistics show that about 40 to 60 percent of Americans undergoing rehabilitation relapse. The silver lining is that many other Americans are in remission without a relapse. There are strategies you can use to avoid a relapse.

What is a Relapse?

A relapse is going back to the obsessional pursuit and usage of drugs after a period of rehabilitation. It entails returning to the dangerous behaviors and adverse consequences associated with addiction. A relapse involves the recovering addict taking steps that jeopardize their recovery. It is a part of the recovery process for some people in rehab, not a failure to overcome their addiction.

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While relapse is part of recovery, it can be dangerous for patients recovering from some drugs. Your body undergoes some changes as you stop using drugs. If you use more drugs than it absorbed before the rehab, you may have an overdose that can be fatal. You have an overdose when you use substances until they produce life-threatening symptoms, uncomfortable feelings, or death. It is crucial to avoid a relapse to prevent the likelihood of an overdose.

What Causes Alcohol and Drug Relapse?

You need a long-term plan to prevent a relapse. It captures your techniques for coping with triggers for relapse. Sticking to this program is usually hard immediately after treatment, but it gets more comfortable with time. The following triggers cause a lapse during rehabilitation.

  • Re-exposure triggers refer to being close to addicts such as visiting a bar while you recover from alcoholism.
  • Environmental triggers comprise social circumstances or events that make you use a drug, such as going back to where you usually used drugs.
  • Stress triggers are emotions such as fear, anxiety, sadness, loneliness, and anger that make you susceptible to drug use.

Types of Relapse

Dr. Steven Melemis illustrates a relapse as three distinct parts. The first two aspects depict a progression away from rehabilitation and towards a full return to using drugs. The third component is a total relapse into substance use disorder.

  1. Emotional Relapse involves you not thinking about using drugs again but preparing to do it. You suppress emotions, isolate yourself from others, miss recovery meetings, blame others, and develop poor rehabilitation habits. As you experience more emotional challenges, you wonder if using drugs will restore your balance.
  2. Mental Relapse comprises you thinking about using drugs but struggling to fight off the urge to use. You clash as part of you wants to return to drugs while the other resists. The rehabilitation period may make you think you are stronger now, and you can use a small amount of the substance.
  3. Physical Relapse involves giving in and using the substance again. Some experts divide this relapse into initial drug use (lapse) and uncontrolled drug use (relapse). You will struggle to overcome your SUD if you get here.

Stages of Relapse

A relapse is not an event. It is a process that comprises several steps. You need to know them to identify them when they start. This recognition will help you take measures to avoid physical relapse.

  • Denial – despite the concerns and signs that your rehabilitation is in jeopardy, you ignore them and pretend that all is okay.
  • Defensive Behavior – you convince yourself that you cannot return to your old ways and shift your concerns to the welfare of others. Anyone who asks about your recovery is an enemy. You will feel lonely and make impulsive decisions.
  • Crisis Building – you feel consumed by one fear or thought. This thought pattern can lead to mild depression, which affects your planning ability.
  • Immobilization – you are pessimistic and do not take action. Dreams of a better life fill your brain, but you are not ready to work to make them a reality. You give up and think your problems lack solutions.
  • Confusion and Overreaction – you get irritable, even over minor inconveniences. You may also endure periods of confusion.
  • Depression – the minor depression intensifies. You develop irregular sleeping and eating patterns, abandon daily duties, and become more lethargic.
  • Behavioral Loss of Control – you stop caring about rehabilitation and everything else in your life. Skipping treatment programs, such as treatment meetings, becomes the norm. You deny any help from others, though you feel powerless to change the path your life is taking.
  • Recognition of Loss of Control – you pity yourself and convince yourself that using once will not have far-reaching consequences. Lying becomes the norm.
  • Option Reduction – you feel bitter and stop attending treatment meetings. Your behavior spirals out of control.
  • The Relapse Episode – you begin with small amounts of drugs. You convince yourself that you are hopeless and progress to uncontrolled use of the substances.

10 Ways to Prevent Relapse During Rehab

1. Have the Willpower

Resisting the urge to use drugs during rehab is challenging. You cope with many triggers that risk derailing your sobriety efforts. Having a powerful mindset towards your recovery is critical for successful rehabilitation. The initial temptations will be harder to resist, but things improve. Remember, you are strong, and you can thwart any temptation to use drugs again.

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2. Don’t panic

As you rehabilitate, your body will undergo various changes. These transitions are normal. You will also often feel the urge to use drugs, try your best to resist this craving. However, if you give in and use the substance, do not panic. Many people relapse, so you are not alone. It is a regular occurrence, and it should not make you throw away all the hard work you have put towards your sobriety. You can get back on the right path if you seek help.

3. Be Positive

You will struggle with your attitude as you deprive your body of the feelings that the drugs cause. However, try your best to always be positive during rehabilitation. Negative thoughts can open up the path to relapse. You can stay positive by engaging in activities such as talking to your sponsor, friend, or therapist. This communication helps you know you are not alone, and they can help you be positive.

4. Stay in Therapy 

Rehabilitation is a challenging process. You will encounter many emotions that you may struggle to deal with, especially without the coping mechanisms drugs gave you. Your addiction may have caused so much suffering that people treat you differently, even after you are sober. You need a therapist to help you navigate this new beginning. A counselor can help you deal with the emotions, interact well with others, and provide coping tools that help you remain sober. Visit your therapist frequently for two years and attend group meetings.

5. Stay away from Drugs

The road to sobriety is challenging. It can be more challenging if you are around drugs. Stay away from bars, nightclubs, or the spots you used drugs. If you get exposed to the drugs, one day you might use it. If you stored alcohol at home, get rid of it. Ask anyone that is using drugs and living with you to put them away and use them far from you.

6. Sleep

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration acknowledges that sleep is essential in your recovery. It allows you to rest, which makes you less tense. If you do not relax, you are likely to do what is familiar. Relaxation helps you to be more open to change. You will embrace the change from addiction and stay sober if you sleep a minimum of the recommended 7 hours.

7. Change Your Environment

Your existing surroundings contributed to your addiction. You can change it now that you are in recovery to avoid a relapse. If you unwinded in a local bar, consider other drug-free places like your local park and garden. These places you used to hang in contain triggers that can lead to a relapse. You may also check into a sober living home for conducive surroundings for your rehabilitation.

8. Exercise

Studies show that exercising is good an addict in recovery. As you cope with the changes of being sober while continuing with your daily activities, you can find yourself stressed out, anxious, or depressed. Physical activities like yoga, running, and swimming can help you release these feelings.

9. Eat a Balanced Diet

As you undergo rehabilitation, your body will need nutrients it was not getting during your addiction. Vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids are essential in your diet. Drink water and consume foods rich in proteins. A healthy diet reduces your likelihood of a relapse.

10. Have a Support Network

Feeling money while recovering increases your chances of a relapse. It would be best if you got as many people as possible to encourage you in your rehabilitation. Your friends, family, and doctors should hold your hand as you come with your recovery. Attend meetings for recovering addicts and share your challenges to get help.

Getting Help with Drug Relapse Prevention

You may think you have your recovery under control, but you may not be in control. The high number of people that relapse suggests that it is not as easy as you may think. It does not hurt to talk to professionals about your recovery. Experts at Ebb Tide Treatment Centers are available anytime you need them to help you stay away from drugs. Their experience and expertise make them suitable to advise you through the challenges and inform you of ways to avoid a relapse. Reach out now to get a comprehensive relapse prevention plan.

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Ebb Tide Treatment Centers offer a variety of treatment programs for addicts in rehabilitation that want to prevent a relapse.

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) helps you understand the feelings and thoughts that lead to drug use. This awareness helps them behave well and cope better with the urge to use substances.
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) allows recovering addicts to embrace their recovery and react well to the challenges it has. This acceptance helps them recognize their predicament and acknowledge that hard work is necessary to improve.
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) assists addicts in recovery to cope with stress, anxiety, and control their emotions. It also helps them to mend relationships that their addiction destroyed and relate well with others.

In Conclusion

Staying away from drugs during your rehabilitation is challenging. You are likely to relapse if you do not take measures to avoid going back to drugs. A relapse is a process and not a one-time event. Identifying its beginning can help you avoid it.

You can take measures to avoid a relapse. Avoid triggers that can lead you to drug use, exercise, sleep, and eat a balanced diet. However, if you relapse after all these efforts, do not panic. Seek treatment from Ebb Tide Treatment Centers to get back to the right path. We have experts that can design the right relapse prevention plan for you. Reach out today and let us help you succeed in your recovery.

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