Relapse Prevention Overview

Relapse is a cardinal feature of addiction, and one of the most painful. The return to Drugs/Alcohol use after a drug-free abstinence period during their ongoing attempts to recover is RELAPSE.

This can be extremely frustrating for patients and for families, as they have already experienced great pain. It is actually the process of change of behavior, which should be called a relapse. Relapse begins in the mind; and it begins much earlier than when we actually get into Addiction again.

Relapse is preventable

A common mistaken belief is that relapse occurs suddenly and spontaneously without warning signs. This belief produces a feeling of helplessness and powerlessness. This makes it sound like a mysterious process over which we recovering people have no control, and all we can do is to hope and pray that relapse does not occur. This is not true. By understanding the process of relapse, by making certain decisions, we will be able to prevent a return to Addiction.

Relapse is a process, it's not an event. In order to understand relapse prevention you have to understand the stages of relapse. Relapse starts weeks or even months before the event of physical relapse.

RelapseThe 3 Stages of Relapse


1. EMOTIONAL RELAPSE
In emotional relapse, you're not thinking about using. But your emotions and behaviors are setting you up for a possible relapse in the future.

The signs of Emotional Relapse are:
1. Anxiety 4. Intolerance 7. Anger
2. Defensiveness 5. Mood swings 8. Isolation
3. Not asking for help 6. Not going to meetings 9. Poor eat and sleep habits


2. MENTAL RELAPSE
In mental relapse there's a war going on in your mind. Part of you wants to use durg/alcohol, but part of you doesn't. In the early phase of mental relapse you're just idly thinking about using. But in the later phase you're definitely thinking about using.

The signs of Mental Relapse are:
1. Lying.
2. Glamorizing his/her past use.
3. Fantasizing about using.
4. Hanging out with old using friends.
5. Thinking about relapsing.
6. Thinking about people, places, and things they used with.
7. It gets harder to make the right choices as the pull of addiction gets stronger.


3. PHYSICAL RELAPSE
Once emotionally and mentally start thinking about relapse, if you will not take the necessary prevention steps, it doesn't take long to go from there to physical relapse, like, Driving to the liquor store. Driving to your drug dealer.
It's hard to stop the process of relapse at that point. That's not where you should focus your efforts in recovery. That's achieving abstinence through brute force. But it is not recovery. If you recognize the early warning signs of relapse, and understand the symptoms of post-acute withdrawal, you'll be able to catch yourself before it's too late.

Tell someone that you're having urges to use. Call your Counsellor, friend, a support, or someone in recovery. Share with them what you're going through. The magic of sharing is that the minute you start to talk about what you're thinking and feeling, your urges begin to disappear. They don't seem quite as big and you don't feel as alone.

For Relapse Prevention guidelines and support call us at 033-64557118.