Like other chronic diseases such as heart disease or asthma, treatment for drug addiction usually isn’t a cure. But addiction can be managed successfully. Treatment enables people to counteract addiction’s disruptive effects on their brain and behavior and regain control of their lives.
Relapse rates for all substance use disorders such as heroin or alcohol are 40 to 60%, relapse rates actually vary by drug of choice, stage of disease, co-occurring, and process disorders. Therefore, this 40-60% relapse rate is not a valid predictor of an individual’s long-term recovery.
Quitting drug use is just one part of a long and complex recovery process. When people enter treatment, substance abuse has often caused serious consequences in their lives, possibly disrupting their health and how they function in their family lives, at work, and in the community.
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What Qualifies as a Relapse?
A relapse is characterized by a return to drug use after an extended period of sobriety. This can mean anything from taking a single hit of marijuana after months of being clean to relapse is defined as a recurrence of symptoms or illness after a period of improvement.
Physical relapse is when an individual actually uses drugs or alcohol again. This relapse stage is often described as “doing it.”
The Stigmas Related to Relapse
There are many stigmas surrounding relapse. The most common one is that relapse means you have failed. This could not be further from the truth! Relapse is a normal and expected part of the recovery process. It should not be seen as a failure, but rather as an opportunity to learn and grow.
It can be difficult to get back into recovery after a relapse. For someone who has lived in recovery, there is an added layer of guilt and shame.
Among Americans aged 12 years and older, 31.9 million are current illegal drug users (used within the last 30 days). 11.7% of Americans 12 and older overuse illegal drugs. 53 million or 19.4% of people 12 and over have used illegal drugs or misused prescription drugs within the last year.
What Are Common Reasons Why People Relapse After Addiction Treatment?
People relapse after addiction treatment due to the following reasons:
Triggers: People, places, and things that remind them of their drug use
Cravings: Intense urges to use drugs
Stress: Difficult life situations or events
Boredom: Feeling like there’s nothing to do besides using drugs
How Do The Long-term Effects of Substance Abuse on the Brain Effect Relapse?
The long-term effects of substance abuse can wreak havoc on the brain and body. These effects often lead to relapse among those in recovery from addiction.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that relapse rates for addiction are similar to those for other chronic diseases such as:
Who Is Most at Risk of Relapsing?
Anyone who does not have a strong relapse prevention plan is at risk of relapse. Relapse prevention plans are individualized to each person in order to be effective.
What Is a Relapse Prevention Strategy?
A relapse prevention strategy is a tactic used to identify the things that may trigger a relapse and to avoid or cope with them.
Identifying personal triggers and making a plan to avoid or cope with them
Practicing stress reduction techniques such as meditation or yoga
Spending time with sober friends and family members
Identifying triggers is an important first step in relapse prevention. Triggers are the people, places, things, or situations that can increase the urge to use drugs or alcohol. Everyone’s triggers are different. Some common triggers include stress, boredom, anxiety, depression, and social pressure.
Once you know what your triggers are, you can make a plan to avoid or cope with them. This may involve changing your routine, avoiding certain people or places, practicing stress reduction techniques, attending support groups, staying busy with sober activities, or spending time with sober friends and family members.
What Is the Role of the Therapist in Creating a Relapse Prevention Plan?
The counselor/therapist will work with the individual to identify relapse triggers and risk factors. Together, they will develop coping strategies to deal with these triggers and help the individual maintain sobriety.
What Is a Relapse Prevention Plan?
A relapse prevention plan is a set of coping strategies designed to help people stay sober. It typically includes identifying triggers and high-risk situations, avoiding these triggers, and developing healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with cravings and stress.
How Effective is a Relapse Prevention Plan?
A relapse prevention plan can be a helpful tool to reduce your risk of relapse. However, it’s important to remember that no relapse prevention plan is 100% effective. Relapse prevention plans are highly individualized. The goal is to identify your personal triggers and figure out how to avoid or deal with them.
What Are Some Examples of Relapse Prevention Strategies?
There are many different relapse prevention strategies, but some common ones include identifying triggers, avoiding high-risk situations, managing stress, and having a support system.
Identifying triggers: A trigger is anything that can cause you to relapse.
Common triggers include things like seeing drugs or alcohol, being in places where you used to use drugs or alcohol, feeling stressed, and feeling lonely or bored. It’s important to identify your triggers so that you can avoid them or be prepared to deal with them if they do come up.
Avoiding high-risk situations: Another key part of relapse prevention is avoiding scenarios where you would be tempted to relapse. If you know that being around certain people or being in certain places will trigger a relapse, it’s important to do your best to avoid those situations.
Managing stress: Stress is another common trigger for relapse. If you’re feeling stressed, it’s important to find healthy ways to cope with that stress. This could include things like exercise, meditation, and journaling.
Having a support system: Finally, having a solid support system is crucial for preventing relapse. This could include family, friends, a therapist, or a recovery group. These people can provide you with the support and accountability you need to stay on track.
Is It Normal to Relapse After Addiction Treatment?
Relapse is a normal part of the recovery process. A relapse prevention plan can help you identify triggers and early warning signs of relapse, so you can take action to prevent it.
Relapse prevention plans can be a valuable tool in your recovery journey. If you’re struggling with addiction, talk to your doctor or mental health professional about creating a relapse prevention plan that’s right.
What Is a Relapse Prevention Plan Example?
An example of a relapse prevention plan includes the following: After completing treatment, attend weekly meetings and relapse prevention groups.
Continue to see your therapist or counselor on a regular basis.
Identify your high-risk situations and make a plan to avoid them.
Building upon your addiction recovery goals and maintaining your education. If you feel like you’re about to relapse, call your sponsor or therapist right away.
Who Should Have a Relapse Prevention Plan?
Anyone who is recovering from a substance use disorder could benefit from a relapse prevention plan. A relapse prevention plans can be helpful for people in early recovery, as well as those who have been sober for a longer period of time and are working to maintain their sobriety.
If you’re struggling with addiction, talk to your doctor or mental health professional about creating a relapse prevention plan that’s right for you.
How Do Co-occurring Disorders Lead to Relapse?
Co-occurring disorders are the combination of a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder. A relapse prevention plan for mental health and addiction is important because people who suffer from co-occurring disorders are relapse prevention plan example more likely to relapse than those who only have one condition.
There are many reasons why someone with a co-occurring disorder might relapse, but some of the most common triggers are:
Stress: Stress is a major trigger for relapse in people with co-occurring disorders. Stress can come from work, family, relationships, or other areas of life.
Trauma: People who have experienced trauma are also at higher risk for relapse. Trauma can include things like abuse, neglect, or witnessing violence.
Mental illness: Mental illnesses like depression
Why Is It Essential to Have a Relapse Prevention Plan?
Be sure to include a section where you talk about recognizing triggers and signs that may lead to relapse – and what to do if these signs are occurring.
Can Harm Reduction Apply to A Relapse Prevention Plan?
Harm reduction is often thought of as a last-ditch effort for those who are actively using substances. A relapse prevention plan should be designed to meet your unique needs and situation. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to relapse prevention, so be sure to work with your doctor or mental health professional to create a plan that’s right for you.
Is a Relapse Prevention Plan Effective for Chronic Relapse?
Chronic relapse can be defined as “a relapse that occurs after a period of sobriety.” In other words, it’s when someone who has been sober for a while relapses. Chronic relapse is different than relapse that occurs early in recovery because the person has more experience with sobriety.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to whether or not relapse prevention plans are effective for chronic relapse. However, relapse prevention plans can be a valuable tool for some people.
Craft the Best Relapse Prevention Plan for You
After hitting your third year of sobriety, you have suddenly relapsed. The stress of the day was just too much and you did not think it set you off. Creating a relapse prevention plan demands that you look deeply at what hasn’t been working for you.
Chapters Recovery offers support to you during this challenging time. A great support system and clear action are key to a relapse prevention plan. We understand that this requires patience and determination. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse, feel free to reach out to our facility.