Why relapse prevention is critical to recovery
Relapse prevention is an important part of drug rehabilitation, both during formal residential programs and on an aftercare basis. Relapse prevention programs help people to stay clean following rehabilitation, and the techniques and systems taught are essential to long-term recovery.
In the context of drug and alcohol treatment, relapse describes a situation where someone returns to using drugs or alcohol following a period of abstinence. It can be seen as both an outcome and a failure of the recovery process.
Thankfully, most drug treatment centers in Dallas offer relapse prevention programs that teach patients how to recognize and cope with high-risk situations to prevent a total relapse from happening. For more information about the available treatment options, call (214) 935-2287.
Key concepts in relapse prevention programs
While the specific approaches may differ, most alcohol and drug rehab centers in Dallas that offer relapse prevention tend to follow these key ideas:
The Three Stages of Relapse
“The Three Stages of Relapse” is a descriptive framework that shows relapse as a process rather than a one-time event. This framework is used in drug recovery programs and facilities throughout the U.S.
According to this idea, the stages are as follows:
- Emotional relapse
- Mental relapse
- Physical relapse.
Emotional relapse is the first stage of relapse, with patients still engaged with the recovery process but unable to deal with their feelings in a healthy way.
Common signs of this stage include:
Patients are often unable to recognize these signs during the early stages of relapse, which is why it’s so important for people to be engaged with a formal treatment program. Therapists can help people to recognize and manage the signs of emotional relapse before it’s too late, with mindfulness techniques taught and systems in place to provide support and coping strategies.
If the emotional stage is not dealt with accordingly, it will turn into a mental relapse.
This stage is defined by the following:
- Confusing and contradictory thought patterns
- Patients still engaged with the recovery process but thinking about returning to drug use
- Fantasizing future drug use
- Spending time with old friends who still use drugs
- Planning relapse scenarios
While these signs may be obvious to a recovering individual, they may not have the skills or support required to deal with them effectively.
If a mental relapse is not treated accordingly, it will turn into a physical relapse, with this stage representing a failure of the recovery process. In this stage, the individual goes back to using drugs or alcohol.
Mindfulness and relapse prevention
Emotion regulation and mindfulness systems are integral to relapse prevention because they teach patients how to integrate thoughts, feelings, and behavioral responses. Compulsive drug use is a learned behavior based on altered brain neuroplasticity, with recovering individuals needing to learn new ways to manage their thoughts and feelings.
By teaching patients how to recognize unhealthy thoughts and emotions, therapists can help them to avoid unwanted impulsive and compulsive responses. Mindfulness is used a lot in behavioral therapy, with cognitive and motivational programs teaching patients how to connect their internal and external worlds through intrinsic motivation and conscious thought.
Recovering individuals are much less likely to return to drug use if they have stable accommodation and income support. Unfortunately, this is not always immediately possible due to a societal stigma against individuals with substance use disorders and because of circumstances that may have also contributed to drug use.
In “practical programs” patients are taught new skills to help them become gainfully employed and reduce the possibility of relapse. Depending on the type of program, skills acquisition, low-interest loans, job placement, and community housing may all play a role. These programs will often have counselors on hand to offer guidance and support during the recovery process.
Find relapse prevention programs in Dallas
If you or anyone you know is living with drug problems or approaching a relapse, seek professional help as soon as possible.
Fortunately, the Dallas area offers plenty of options for recovering individuals. Dallas Drug Treatment Centers has the expertise and the experience to help you find treatment facilities, support groups, and rehab programs that meet all your needs. Call us today at (214) 935-2287 to get started on your recovery.