Relapse Prevention Information
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When it comes to finding substance abuse treatment, individuals are often interested in achieving a very immediate goal. Addicts and their families want to know that a program is going to help them get sober. Discontinuing abuse of alcohol or drugs is often urgent for the health and well-being of an individual.
However, there is a second part to addiction recovery that becomes more evident over time: staying sober.
For individuals in recovery, sobriety is an active choice that is made every day from the moment they decide to get clean. And, although stigmatized, relapse is not an uncommon part of recovery.
It is difficult to say how many individuals experience relapse during their lifetime or during a treatment program. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimates a 40 to 60 percent rate of relapse for drug addiction.
While relapse can be discouraging and even dangerous, it is not always a point of no return. In many cases, individuals who have relapsed come back stronger and more determined to recover than ever.
Why does relapse occur?
When an individual has been abusing drugs or alcohol consistently for an extended period of time, it becomes habitual. Not only is substance use embedded in their daily routine, but it also becomes a repeated solution to internal or external stressors.
While the cycle of addiction can bring a considerable amount of stress into an individual’s life, other stressors do not necessarily go away when in recovery. It is for this reason that addiction treatment focuses heavily on skills to cope with stress and prevent relapse.
External (Environmental) Stressors
- Work or unemployment
- Family, Peers, and other relationships
- Money and finances
- Traumatic events
Internal (Emotional, Physical, Behavioral) Stressors
- Daily routine
- Co-occurring disorders (anxiety, depression, bipolar, etc.)
- Grief or trauma
- Withdrawal symptoms