Relapse prevention is a set of techniques and principles designed to reduce relapse rates after drug treatment. Relapse prevention is based on behavioral and cognitive principles, with psychological and practical support offered to recovering addicts during residential and aftercare programs. Relapse is a hallmark feature of substance abuse and dependence, with dedicated systems required to encourage and support long-term recovery.
If you or anyone you know needs to access drug treatment, it's important to make contact with a dedicated treatment facility as soon as possible. Contact Drug Treatment Centers Jacksonville at (904) 239-3457 for assistance finding treatment centers.
In the context of drug treatment, relapse describes the situation that arises when someone returns to drug use following a period of abstinence. Also known as recidivism, sobriety failure is extremely common for a range of substance use disorders. Relapse is both an outcome and a transgression of the recovery process, with most treatment plans dividing the process into three distinct steps: emotional, mental, and physical relapse. In order to manage the process and prevent a drug use event, therapists guide patients through various relapse prevention strategies and systems.
Relapse prevention helps patients to recognize triggers, avoid high risk situations and develop the psychological coping skills needed for long-term recovery. Relapse prevention incorporates Pavlovian conditioning and operant conditioning into the treatment process, with a range of coping strategies initiated to deal with the immediate determinants and covert antecedents of recurrent drug abuse. Immediate determinants are the environmental and emotional situations likely to lead to the addict using drugs, with covert antecedents including lifestyle factors, urges and cravings.
Emotional relapse is the first stage of the process, with common signs including:
While patients are generally unaware of these signs as they are taking place, specific prevention strategies need to be in place to avoid their progression. In general, this stage is recognized by unhealthy and out-of-place emotions, with patients often feeling things very deeply yet not having the ability to deal with their emotions properly. It's important for patients to be engaged with formal drug and alcohol rehab treatment during this stage, before their negative emotions develop and lead to sobriety failure.
Mental relapse marks the next stage of progression, with confusing emotions starting to influence cognition and decision making. This stage can be recognized by unhealthy and often contradictory thought patterns, with patients still engaged with the recovery process yet starting to think about the possibility of sobriety failure. Common signs include:
While patients are often aware of these transgressions as they're taking place, they may not have the psychological coping skills necessary to make healthy lifestyle decisions. This stage often leads to physical relapse (actual drug use) if left untreated, with this stage marking a breakdown of the recovery process.
Alternative forms of drug treatment include pharmacotherapy and contingency management. Pharmacotherapy uses medications to support abstinence and encourage recovery, with opioid replacement therapy the most well-known example. Other drugs may also be taken on a medium to long-term basis, including Antabuse and benzodiazepines for alcohol dependency.
A gradual dose reduction of benzodiazepine drugs is also a common way to treat sedative addictions. Contingency management is an entirely different approach, with regimes concentrating on the consequences of drug use rather than the precursors. Token or voucher systems are common with this approach, with patients earning points and material products as a reward for abstinence.