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Relapse Prevention
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Relapse is a frightening reality for many people in recovery. In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that up to 60 percent of individuals in recovery relapse at some point in their lives. Fortunately, relapse can be prevented. Arkansas-based treatment centers offer a wide variety of therapies and services to help patients avoid it and get back on track in case it happens.


What is Relapse? 

Relapse is a term used to describe the breaking of abstinence from addictive substances such as drugs and alcohol. It can be a turning point in an addict’s recovery that either leads them back down the path of addiction or toward the path of recovery. This is why relapse prevention plans in Arkansas are so critical. They can help addicts avoid triggers that lead to relapse, learn how to cope with daily stressors, and get them back on their treatment plan in case of relapse. Recent conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that behavioral therapy is especially effective in preventing relapse. Fortunately, most treatment options offer this type of therapy in addition to many other beneficial services.

What Are the Stages of Relapse?

Relapse is believed to occur in distinct stages. Developing a working knowledge of these stages is critical towards avoiding it entirely and getting the help you need. They include the following:

  • Emotional Relapse: Emotional relapse is the first stage and typically involves occurs unconsciously. This means that most people in this stage are not actively thinking about abusing drugs or alcohol again. However, their emotional state often sets them up for relapse. Strong emotions such as irritability, depression and sadness can all lead to maladaptive self-medicating behaviors again.
  • Mental Relapse: Mental relapse is the opposite of emotional relapse in the sense that individuals are actively thinking about or reflecting on their past substance abuse. Often times, people glamorize their addiction in this phase, which sets them up for physical relapse. It is important to keep in mind that many people in the mental relapse stage may not vocalize signs of it. Some people may rekindle old associations with other addicts or visit places where they use to use.
  • Physical Relapse: The final stage of relapse occurs when an individual takes action to get substances such as drugs or alcohol. By this stage, it is often too late to intervene. However, medical detox can help individuals get back on track with their recovery plan.


Warning Signs of Relapse

There are many signs that can alert you to a stage of relapse or potential for use. The following are the most common:

  • Depression
  • Irritable mood or rapid mood swings
  • Isolation from friends and family
  • Reengagement in old behaviors or situations
  • High stress levels
  • Financial difficulty
  • Difficulty in personal relationships


Benefits of Relapse Prevention

Relapse prevention strategies provided through inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient rehabilitation, or community methods typically involve therapy and participation in 12-step meetings and/or support groups. All of these options focus on teaching healthy coping skills. By developing strong coping mechanisms, you can more easily avoid triggers and urges to use. These types of services can also work on replacing old self-destructive behaviors with healthy alternatives. This can lead to more permanent changes.

If you are living with a drug or alcohol addiction, you may feel overwhelmed by all of the treatment options available to you. Fortunately, you can rest assured knowing that most treatment plans incorporate relapse prevention strategies to help you maintain life-long sobriety. Get started today by requesting more information or contacting treatment providers.