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Article Summary

Relapse Prevention

Once an individual is detoxed and achieves abstinence in rehab, he can still be at risk of relapse when he leaves the rehab if measures aren't taken to prevent this. Relapse prevention starts while the individual is in a drug and alcohol rehab, but there are relapse prevention steps that must be in place so that any struggles the individual may have when he leaves rehab can be effectively managed. Even after treatment, temptation can creep in and environmental triggers are always a threat. In the face of these challenges, treatment clients are only as protected against relapse as the relapse prevention methods they utilize in their life to prevent it. A relapse prevention plan should commence before any circumstances arise which could trigger a relapse, so the individual should always be ahead of the game to maintain his recovery.

What is Relapse Prevention?

Relapse prevention takes into account anything that would compromise the individual's continued recovery, including social and environmental factors and emotional or psychological triggers. For example, if someone completes a comprehensive drug rehab program but goes back home to an abusive spouse, the likelihood of relapse is far greater than someone who finds other living arrangements so they can avoid this abuse. Another example would be someone who completes a rehab program and upon returning home reconnects with the same group of people with whom they used drugs and alcohol prior to treatment. Someone cannot be expected to maintain their sobriety when associating with people involved in substance abuse, as this type of poor judgement can result in a relapse which could have been avoided with proper relapse prevention decisions. Failing to make important environmental and social changes sets an individual up for failure, so relapse prevention steps must include these important changes.

Relapse Prevention Increases the Chance of a Successful Recovery

Individuals who agree to and participate in a continuum of care, or aftercare program following rehab, statistically fare far better than those who don't participate in some type of aftercare. Men for example have higher relapse rates than women, because women are more likely to seek out and participate in counseling and other aftercare services once they complete a treatment program. Experience has shown that once individuals complete an alcohol and drug rehab program, being connected to a strong support system is an important aspect of relapse prevention. Even after rehab, treatment graduates can feel isolated and struggle maintaining their long term recovery. When having to deal with these challenges alone, or at least feeling alone, the outcome can result in relapse. It isn't always enough to have support and understanding from one's immediate family and friends who may not understand the addict's struggles. Support groups and group counseling can be stable outlets for individuals in this situation and can be very beneficial in relapse prevention. In a group, an individual can feel safe communicating their challenges and fears without of being judged. Group sessions also can provide the person with support so that they know that they are not alone in their quest to live a drug and alcohol free lifestyle.

An important aspect of relapse prevention is knowing how to spot the warning signs which always precedes an alcohol or drug relapse. The relapse precursors vary from person to person, but most often is associated, again, with social or psychological triggers that could have been recognized and avoided with a sensible relapse prevention strategy. Anyone can prevent relapse and maintain their sobriety if they are alert to, and act quickly to avoid, situations that would compromise their recovery.

In Conclusion

It is important for individuals in recovery to learn through the use of relapse prevention techniques how to maintain their sobriety. It is equally important while in treatment to learn how to successfully find healthy solutions for the problems that life inevitably presents to one without turning to drugs or alcohol in an attempt to escape. Drugs and alcohol do not, in the long term, solve any problems. Although when someone is drunk or high may feel that they do. Drugs and alcohol in reality, mask problems and prevent problems from being properly confronted and unresolved to become greater and greater in magnitude.

No doubt, life can be a challenging game to play. It has marriages, divorces, birth, death, happiness and sorrow. Attempting to avoid the negative side of life through the use of drugs and alcohol is not a workable solution, just ask the millions that attempt to do just that each day and you will find only broken families and broken lives.

Though life may not always be a simple journey, when one includes drugs and/or alcohol to the journey life becomes difficult indeed.

If you or a loved one needs help for an addiction problem, call 1-877-882-9275 to speak with one of our certified counselors and they will help you find the help that you need.

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