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Relapse Prevention Programs in Westport (203) 571-0064

Addiction is a disease that’s both chronic and relapsing. Chronic means that it can’t be cured. Relapsing means that once it’s in remission, using drugs or alcohol again, which is known as a lapse, can quickly trigger a relapse of the addiction, and treatment will be needed again to break the physical addiction and address the underlying issues that led to the lapse.

Relapse prevention programs are designed to educate patients about the stages of relapse and equip them with skills and techniques to prevent lapse and relapse. Relapse prevention is a critical part of both drug and alcohol addiction treatment and the aftercare program that’s set in place after treatment is successfully completed.

Relapse prevention techniques are based on decades of research into why people lapse and what they need to know in order to prevent it from happening. Not every relapse prevention technique will work for every patient, and that’s why these programs teach a wide variety of both traditional and alternative skills, strategies, and techniques to prevent a lapse or relapse from occurring.

Don’t let substance abuse control your future– Call Drug Treatment Centers Westport at (203) 571-0064 for support 24/7.

The Three Stages of Relapse

Relapse occurs in three stages, rather than as a single event.

  • Emotional relapse is the first stage, and it’s characterized by subtle emotions and behaviors that are setting you up for a lapse. Signs of emotional relapse include negative emotions like anger and defensiveness, skipping meetings, not asking for help, and engaging in unhealthy eating and sleeping habits.
  • Mental relapse is the second stage, and it starts with beginning to think about using again and ends with planning a lapse around others’ schedules. Signs of mental relapse include thinking about and reacquainting with old friends who still use, glamorizing past use, thinking about using again, and lying about how you’re feeling.
  • Physical relapse is the third and final stage, and it’s where the using actually occurs. Once this stage is reached, reeling it back in is very difficult.

How Relapse Prevention Programs Help

Relapse prevention programs provide patients with essential education about the fundamental elements of relapse prevention, which include:

  • Knowing the difference between a lapse and a relapse of the addiction.
  • Knowing the signs of each stage of relapse.
  • Filling idle time with activities to ward off boredom or feelings of isolation.
  • Developing mindfulness in order to recognize your own subtle signs of a pending lapse.
  • Identifying and changing unhealthy ways of behaving and thinking.
  • Identifying high-risk situations and planning ways to avoid or cope with them.

Relapse Prevention Techniques Commonly Used

Some of the research-based techniques for preventing a lapse include:

  • Exercise, which reduces stress, relieves cravings, and promotes a healthy lifestyle.
  • Hobbies to keep idle time filled with enjoyable and productive activities.
  • Group meetings, which promote healthy relationships with other non-users and adds a level of accountability for those in recovery.
  • Creating art or writing in a journal to synthesize emotion and relate experiences in a healthy and productive way.
  • Meditation to promote mindfulness and quiet the mind in order to improve self-awareness of thought and behavior.

Intervention After Lapse or Relapse

Swift intervention after a lapse is essential for preventing a relapse of the disease. After the successful completion of treatment, an aftercare plan is individualized and implemented to help prevent lapse, and once a lapse has occurred, the aftercare plan will need to be re-evaluated to include drug rehab.

Some of the interventions that will likely take place after a lapse in sobriety include a short time spent in a rehab facility to get back on solid footing, an increase in the number of individual, group, and family counseling sessions, and increased monitoring by an aftercare case worker.

Those who lapse will work in substance abuse treatment therapy to identify and address the triggers that led to the lapse, which may include unrealistic expectations, an inadequate aftercare plan, ambivalence toward sobriety, unhealthy relationships, and high levels of stress.

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