Overcoming a drug addiction is never easy. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and support. Even then, the threat of relapse is always imminent.
That's why understanding relapse prevention is so important. Though every individual aspect of recovery is trying, relapse prevention is perhaps the most difficult of all. To drive this point home, the National Institute of Drug Abuse states that somewhere between 40% and 60% of people that struggled with drug addiction in the past will relapse at some point. A number of different methods of relapse prevention are available to lower the risk of drug relapse.
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What is Drug Relapse?
To fully understand relapse prevention, you must first understand what exactly a drug relapse is in the first place. As the name implies, it is when a recovering person goes back to the substance they were using before becoming clean. These sorts of relapses can happen at any point in time, to anyone. Even when everything seems to be going perfectly, relapse can strike out of the blue.
With that said, it is essential to note that the possibility of relapse never goes away. It is important to be constantly vigilant at all times. One small slip can send decades of sobriety sliding down hill.
At the same time, however, this isn't meant to scare you. In fact, there are a number of factors that generally lead up to a person relapsing with drugs. These include emotional, mental, and physical factors.
Most of the time, the first stage of relapse starts with negative emotions. These negative emotions then trigger even more stress and increased feelings of chaos and negativity. As you might suspect, these feelings lead to even more mental and emotional stress, including obsessive thoughts about the drug of choice. When combined with a high-risk situation (such as spending time with others using the drug), the likelihood of relapse is all but inevitable.
Warning Signs of Drug Relapse
As is mentioned above, drug relapse doesn't occur randomly. There are a number of factors and warning signs to keep an eye out for. It is important to catch these warning signs before they go from warning to relapse.
The most common warning sign of impending relapse is compulsive behavior. Many people engage in compulsive behaviors such as overeating, overworking, and over-exercising to cope with stress and other emotional challenges.
Another very important warning sign to be aware of is the appearance of old behaviors. Oftentimes, recovered addicts come out of drug rehab treatment with a much more positive attitude. When old behaviors such as moodiness and irritability present themselves again, a relapse is likely near.
Relapse Prevention Treatment
As soon as an addict enters treatment for the first time, emphasis must be placed on relapse prevention. Fortunately, most treatment facilities incorporate this into their rehab programs.
Long-term care like this is essential to the successful recovery of an addict; most of the time, it comes in the form of individual or group therapy sessions. Patients might also link up with a sponsor that they can call on for support in times of great need. In some cases, sober living arrangements are also provided by drug and alcohol treatment centers. It is important to take whatever steps are necessary for you personally to prevent a drug relapse in the future.