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Relapse Prevention

Relapse Prevention

Relapse prevention is an important aspect of any recovery program. Those in Massachusetts that are recovering from addiction will still need relapse prevention to keep sobriety at the forefront of healing. Relapse prevention programs should be in conjunction with inpatient and outpatient treatment programs so that an individual moving through the stages of recovery can move to long term recovery seamlessly. Addiction treatment is a process, not an event. This needs to be something that is ongoing throughout a recovering addict’s life. Addiction treatment might start out as an intense form of treatment, but eventually needs to shift into a manageable recovery plan for a lifetime of sobriety.

The Prevalence of Relapse

Inpatient and outpatient programs can help an individual physically and mentally overcome addiction, but when it comes to long term recovery after treatment, relapse prevention must also be sought. Relapse is such a common occurrence that the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) states that 40% to 60% of all recovering addicts will relapse at least once. This is true for those in recovery in Massachusetts as well, and everyone in recovery should be doing their best to beat relapse statistics with prevention.

This does not mean that all is lost after a relapse occurs. Relapse should not be seen as giving up on recovery. This process is very common and it is often seen as just another step in the process. Relapsing can give an individual a look into what their triggers are and what they should be more careful about in the future.

Relapse Warning Signs

Many events have the potential to trigger a relapse if an individual is not prepped with the correct coping mechanisms to deal with these. If an individual used their addiction to mask emotional trauma, this might be the first place they look for support even in recovery. Events such as losing a job, a loved one, or having issues with one’s health can all trigger a relapse. It is best if a recovering addict has a support group or a therapist they can immediately turn to if they feel the need to fall back on their addiction.

The Three Stages of Relapse

Relapse can be difficult to detect, and the individual in recovery might feel as though they are fully healed. Unfortunately, relapse can sneak up of those who have been in recovery for a couple of weeks, or even a couple of years. The three main stages of relapse are emotional relapse, mental relapse, and physical relapse.

Emotional relapse can be triggered from a one-time event that makes an individual feel they have loss of control or need to turn to their addiction to help cope. During this first stage, an addict will experience feelings that they may have associated with substance abuse in the past. Mental relapse is when the addict has begun to think about using again. Physical relapse occurs when the individual returns to substance abuse. The process can be reversed in this final stage, but it is very difficult. All stages of relapse are serious and individuals need to know to look out for these triggers.

Benefits of Relapse Prevention

For those going through recovery in Massachusetts, relapse prevention should be a part of a long term treatment plan. Some of the best long term recovery techniques are recovery programs that focus on support networks. Having someone to go to or a group that can support a recovering addict can up the chances of avoiding triggers or cravings. If an individual is out of treatment, keeping their recovery at the forefront of their life is vital. This can be done through ongoing counseling or keeping up on visiting support groups or having a sponsor. No matter what an individual is recovering from, having bonds with other individuals that are going through the same thing can help a recovering addict avoid relapse.