Relapse Prevention Strategies
A number of addicts who make it into recovery usually relapse in the initial months of rehab. This is the reason for which rehab strategies are emphasized. Return to addictions means a serious life issue extending to many more years. Some of the re-starters would never quit again and may die with their addiction. By carefully charting and monitoring the relapse prevention strategies, such risks can be reduced, if not eliminated.
Relapse – Why Does It Happen
It is a very tricky question answer, given the benefits of quitting the drugs that why an addict relapse to addiction. There is no set or established reason for that and it is a very diverse phenomenon where each addict has his or her own reason or reasons to relapse but usually with no justification.
While there are no scientific, psychological or medical markers for high risk groups to drug relapse, some of the more reported reasons that can lead to addiction relapse include:
- Some loss related to family member or a loved one
- Financial setbacks
- Loss of employment
- Environmental influences from connecting social structure
- Divorce or marriage to a drug addict
- Lack of purpose or boredom in life
- Issues with personal health
Adrug addict is required to make more changes to his or her life than just quitting alcohol or drugs. These changes are progressive in nature. However, certain addicts fail to progress and get disillusioned. They are more likely to relapse to addiction. In most cases this can be prevented with the use of relapse prevention strategies.
Relapse Prevention Strategies
Relapse prevention Strategies help in avoiding a return to substance abuse. There are generally three causes of relapse and the strategies have been developed to handle each one of these causes, which includes:
- The individual may return to addiction due to emotional instability
- Unhealthy social behavior is one of the leading cases of relapse.
- Social influences like friends and family who are substance abusers
Watch Out For These Early Signs of Relapse
Some signs are like writing on the wall as an early warning for drug or alcohol relapse. Certain high risk addicts include:
- Addicts with a level of overconfidence that they can handle anything.
- Addicts which get bored with the routine in rehab and feel self pity.
- Addicts who expect wonders and do not get the deal.
- Those addicts who try to bypass the rehab process.
- Depressed addicts who some kind of mental illness.
- Addicts who resort of milder substances as a lighter alternative.
- Those addicts who take the rehab process easy when they remain in it for some time.
Relapse Prevention Strategies – Progressive Approach
Relapse is a progressive process in which an addict passes through different stages of mindset before actually relapsing to drug addiction. Relapse prevention strategies need to focus on the addict at each level and try containing the relapse at each level. These three levels can be:
- Its when a patient is suffering from emotional imbalances, but still not contemplating on relapse. This is the most appropriate time to engage the addict to prevent from relapse.
- The next level come when an addict is actually thinking about drinking or using drugs all over again with an overpowering. A strong relapse prevention strategy is required combat this before the addict relapse.
- The third level is when the addict has relapsed and this is the time for most aggressive approach towards relapse prevention strategy.
The Relapse Prevention Tips and Tools
Here are some important tools for relapse preventions, both on individual and collective level.
- Group therapy can help the addicts in gaining personal strength from a support group.
- Continued, persistent and focused counselling can play wonders in relapse prevention. The addict must never feel that he or she is alone in their fight with addiction.
- An alternative approach which has proved really effective is mediation. Drug addicts have been successfully treated with yoga from relapsing.
- Healthy lifestyle and physical activity is a prove relapse prevention tool since it channelize the addict’s energies and frustrations
- Engaging addicts into creative activities like writing, painting or certain other healthy activities like gardening or other outdoors have proven to be extremely effective in relapse prevention. Writing in particular is known distraction with its capacity to vent out an addict’s frustration on paper (with a pen)
- Encouraging addicts (passing through rehab) to take control of their own rehab can be extremely motivating and elating. This would need personal motivation of the addict to carry out certain activities with indulgence such as:
- Distract himself. When feeling an urge, an addict must do something to occupy himself like calling a friend or going to a meeting. Better still, getting up and going for a walk. Engaging in some sort of activity to distract is key to stop the relapsing room to grow.
- A 30 minutes WAIT. Most relapse urge would last for less than 15 – 30 minutes. When an addict is in an urge, it feels like an eternity. But if he or she can be kept busy and do the things they are supposed to do, it’ll quickly pass.
- Be patient approach. Help an addict to adopt an approach of living one day at a time away from drugs or substance abuse. That’s the best way of developing an attitude progressively. Long term abstinence is important, but it can only be developed one day at a time.
- Take a relaxed approach to life. Relaxation is an important part of relapse prevention, because when an addict is tense, he or she would tend to do what’s familiar and wrong, instead of what’s new and right. It is most important to reduce stress and tension for relapse to set in. When an addict is tense, he or she would repeat the same mistakes they made before.