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When a person struggling with a drug addiction or substance abuse problem finally comes to the realization that they do indeed have a problem, they may feel as if they have accomplished the hardest task of recovery. And their primary focus is on the current moment and the process of going through detox to get clean and sober once and for all. However, the problem with this shortsightedness is that people become so focused on the initial steps that they forget that the later steps and treatment are even more important in maintaining sobriety. Addiction recovery is about more than just getting sober, it is about maintaining a drug-free lifestyle and about relapse prevention. In fact, relapse prevention is actually the most important element of addiction treatment and recovery.
Before you can fully understand relapse prevention, you will need to have a full understanding of what relapse actually is. It is not just a singular, one-time event, but is a process. This process can begin occurring any time during or after treatment has been completed.
Relapse prevention is a set of treatment techniques that are specifically designed to arm
patients with the knowledge, coping skills, and personal awareness to be able to fight and avoid addiction relapse. This treatment method is designed to make the patient complicit in their treatment and to make them proactive participants in their recovery and in maintaining sobriety going forward. If you or someone you love is struggling to maintain their sobriety, call Drug Treatment Centers McAllen today at (956) 854-2342.
As was previously noted, relapse is a process rather than a single moment or event. This process occurs in three distinct phases, each requiring different forms of treatment and prevention to be dealt with swiftly and effectively. Treatment helps recovering addicts to better cope with thoughts, cravings, behaviors, and urges that can lead a person to progress through all three stages of relapse. Those stages are emotional, mental, and physical.
The first stage of a setback does not occur consciously. In fact, it is oftentimes so unconscious that a person does not realize what has happened until after the fact. Emotional relapse entails sets of behaviors and emotions that can precede or precipitate the person to resume risky or substance abuse triggering behaviors. Some of these emotions and behaviors include depression, aggression, poor sleeping habits, mood swings, poor eating habits, and anger.
When these symptoms occur, they can lead to the further progression of relapse thought and behaviors. Relapse prevention at this stage involves building emotional awareness so patients can identify and recognize these emotions and behaviors as they occur and use coping mechanisms or avoidance techniques to prevent relapse prevention. This can include individual and group therapy, equine therapy, and art therapy.
The next stage of relapse is mental. In this stage, it easy to recognize the warning signs that addictive behaviors may resume. In this stage, a recovering addict will begin to think more and more about using drugs. This can seem to come about innocuously as a tendency to reminisce about the past, and begin to remember their drug use in a positive light. They may glorify past experiences or remember their life before sobriety as somehow more glamorous. This can also progress to frequenting old hangouts, reconnecting with drug-using friends, and becoming more and more preoccupied with drug use.
Behavior may become secretive and erratic as the recovering addict begins to plan their physical relapse. Relapse prevention emphasizes the development of coping techniques to deal with these thoughts and cravings including support group meetings, sponsors, and individual therapy.
The last stage is physical. Most people inappropriately consider physical relapse to be the only form of relapse and it, of course, involves using the drug once again. If a person reaches this phase and resumes using drugs, relapse prevention has failed and the treatment and recovery process must often begin anew, starting with detox.
Now that you better understand relapse and relapse prevention, you can prepare yourself for the hard work ahead of you as you begin the drug addiction recovery process. To find out more about our treatment programs, call Drug Treatment Centers McAllen at (956) 854-2342.
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