Relapse Prevention: Definition and Warning Signs
Approximately half of all addicts in recovery will experience at least one relapse before they achieve lasting recovery. It is a major problem, in addiction treatment, and is anticipated and feared by addicts new to recovery. Relapse prevention is thus an important part of addiction treatment.
Relapse prevention is not only about not picking up and using again. The actual drug or alcohol use is only a small fraction of the whole of addiction. Surrounding that substance use are addictive behaviors, like isolation, justification, procrastination, dishonesty, manipulation, etc.
These addictive behaviors are also referred to as relapse behaviors because just like they surround active addiction, they also lead an individual back into use if the person uses these behaviors in recovery. Being aware of what to look for is a necessary part of relapse prevention.
Some of the key signs and dangers that could potentially lead to relapse are as follows:
- Relationship problems like conflict, or a partner who uses
- Keeping old using friends
- Hanging out in old using places, like bars, clubs, and using friend’s houses
- Overconfidence: the attitude that you don’t need to work for recovery and utilize help
- Isolating by avoiding people who support recovery
- Keeping reminders of use like paraphernalia or pictures
- Pushing oneself too hard to do recovery ‘perfectly’
- Changes in eating, sleeping, and self-care patterns
- Experiencing excessive or chronic stress or anxiety
10. Nursing resentments, sitting in anger
11. Boredom: A common problem in early recovery, because it is a trigger for use
12. Cross-dependencies: the use of any other mind-altering substance
Two-thirds of all relapses occur within the first 90 days of recovery. Thus, the first three months are critical to the lasting success of the recovering addict. Treatment for 90 days is highly recommended, as studies show this is the most effective way to help addicts. A residential program followed by IOP, together lasting at least that long, should be followed up by aftercare and/or regular 12-step meeting attendance, to ensure the best outcome. Call us today to find out more about comprehensive treatment options 1-877-593-6777.