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Relapse Prevention in Boston MA (617) 517-6448

When a person achieves sobriety, he or she has a forty to sixty percent chance of relapsing, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). In an attempt to reduce these chances, addiction specialists utilize techniques to prevent sobriety failure. Relapse prevention is a cognitive-behavioral approach that helps a person identify ways of thinking and behaviors that could signal a person is heading for a relapse.

Prevention is achieved through a combination of rehabilitation aftercare methods. For more information, contact Boston Drug Rehab Treatment Centers at 617-517-6448.

Stages of Relapse

Those who specialize in addiction treatment techniques know that sobriety failure often does not happen overnight. Often, a person can think back to moments and experiences where he or she is in the process of relapsing. Through various techniques, a person will ideally recognize these symptoms and seek help to stay sober.

Addiction specialists have identified three stages of relapse: emotional, mental and physical.

Emotional relapse is also known as "early relapse." In this phase, a person is not necessarily thinking about using drugs or alcohol again, but is instead starting to slip back into destructive thinking. These lines of thinking can cause a person to stop taking care of himself or herself as well and may begin to feel "stuck" in the recovery process.

Signs include:

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Defensiveness
  • Mood swings
  • Poor eating and sleeping habits
  • Stopping going to meetings and not asking for help when needed

Mental relapse is the next phase and occurs when a person does start thinking about using drugs or alcohol again. Some people going through this phase may describe this phase as if "a war is going on in their minds."

Symptoms include:

  • Constantly thinking about places, people and circumstances where a person used to use drugs
  • Fantasizing about using drugs or alcohol again
  • Lying to others about thoughts
  • Starting to associate with people the person previously abused drugs or alcohol with
  • Thinking of or planning to use drugs or alcohol

A person in this phase may start to feel as if this time, he or she could control substance abuse. The person believes that things could be different and he or she could find a happy medium between substance abuse and not experiencing the harmful consequences.

Physical relapse is the final stage, in which the addict obtains the addictive substance and uses it again. Using drugs or alcohol once after a period of sobriety is a lapse, whereas a complete return to a lifestyle of substance addiction is a relapse.

Aims of Relapse Prevention

Aftercare must always be on the mind of a person when he or she is undergoing treatment. Rehab centers offer programs that aim to achieve the following goals:

  • High-risk situations a person should avoid
  • Identifying relapse stages
  • Warning signs a person may be relapsing
  • When to reach out for help

Each of these aspects can be vital in ensuring a person stays sober. In addition to these techniques, a treatment program must focus on wellness and teaching a person how to live a fuller, healthier life without drugs or alcohol. Examples of other techniques associated with relapse prevention include:

  • Finding an aftercare program, such as a 12-step program or SMART recovery
  • Finding a sponsor to support and mentor a person struggling with addiction
  • Living in a sober living facility
  • Starting beneficial therapies that can help a person feel healthier, such as yoga, art therapy or music therapy

Utilizing a variety of relapse prevention techniques can help a person find the approaches that work best for them. To learn more about relapse prevention, please call Boston Drug Rehab Treatment Centers at 617-517-6448.

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