Relapse Prevention Strategies, Skills, & Common Triggers

It is common to hear addicts talk about chasing the early highs they had. On the other hand, individuals expect that not using drugs or alcohol will lead to the emotional pain or boredom that they tried to escape. Therefore, on the one hand, individuals expect that using will continue to be fun, and, on the other hand, they expect that not using will be uncomfortable.

  • Structured therapies have combined Relapse Prevention (RP) in a group format with individual sessions of motivational interviewing in adolescents with cannabis use disorder (motivational enhancement therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy, or MET/CBT).
  • Pause first when you experience these states and find ways to deal with them without turning to substances.
  • If they make the necessary changes, they can go forward and be happier than they were before.
  • Sticking with treatment for the entire length of the program is important, too.
  • At this stage, a person might not even think about using substances, but there is a lack of attention to self-care, the person is isolating from others, and they may be attending therapy sessions or group meetings only intermittently.

A variety of peer support programs have been established to allow individuals who have progressed in recovery to assist people in earlier stages. Disulfiram is a medication that inhibits aldehyde dehydrogenase resulting in the build-up of acetaldehyde, which produces uncomfortable physical effects. As a result, disulfiram acts as a deterrent against an alcohol relapse until the body metabolizes the medications.

Support and Therapy for Cravings

Many physical relapses occur during times when the individual believes their use will go undetected. In working with patients in early recovery, providers need to ensure they have the skills necessary to recognize these high-risk situations and avoid using. You’ll find that your clients have more success avoiding relapse when they have a solid plan to deal with triggers, temptation, and all the other challenges that come with sobriety. A good relapse prevention plan will help your client recognize when they are at risk, and it will give them several ways to navigate these experiences successfully. A setback can be any behavior that moves an individual closer to physical relapse.

Identifying early warning signs allows for early intervention and can help an individual prevent or minimize a relapse. Then, the patient and clinician work to develop strategies, including cognitive (related to thinking) and behavioral (related to action), to address those specific high-risk situations. With more effective coping, the patient develops increased confidence to handle challenging situations without alcohol and other drugs (i.e., increased self-efficacy). Principles of relapse prevention have been used in the treatment of sex offenders. In a meta-analysis by Carroll, more than 24 RCT’s have been evaluated for the effectiveness of RP on substance use outcomes. Review of this body of literature suggests that, across substances of abuse but most strongly for smoking cessation, there is evidence for the effectiveness of relapse prevention compared with no treatment controls.

Care for yourself

It can refer to an increase in symptoms related to mental illness, substance use or both. Various forms of monitoring have been used to detect drug/alcohol use. Objective evidence of abstinence has been a critical component of many relapse prevention programs. The results Arrest Of Boston Sober Home Operator Raises Questions About Addiction Treatment often inform contingency management programs (discussed above) of drug tests. Also, the use of some medications (i.e., buprenorphine and methadone) require periodic drug screens to ensure the individual is not diverting the medication or using other substances of abuse.

relapse prevention skills

Design for Change is a full-service addiction recovery center in Lancaster, California that offers tiered levels of treatment for drug addiction and alcoholism. Let Little Creek Recovery Center guide you down the right path to recovery, personal growth, and long-term sobriety. A relapse is the term used when someone ceases to maintain their intent to abstain from the use of drugs and/or alcohol that they determined to harm their lives.

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