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What are Relapse Prevention Skills?

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Addiction affects millions of adults in the United States every year. It is a disorder that not only affects the brain and behavior, but also impacts every other area of life as well. It causes individuals to become wrapped up in the addiction. They lose their support, sober friends distance themselves, and skills related to employment and establishing and keeping relationships. Substance use treatment involves building those skills again and establishing a sober lifestyle. This can be very difficult for individuals, and they can easily find themselves back in the same patterns that led them to substance use, so it’s important to have a plan in place for relapse prevention.

What Does it Mean to Relapse?

Relapse is not only a one-time event but also a process. The process first begins when an individual shows warning signs, such as thinking about using or past use, not reaching out for support when needed, or reconnecting with people linked to past use. The first use after a period of sobriety is considered a lapse. If the individual continues to use that substance after the first lapse, it is then that event is a relapse, although the process of the relapse started before the initial lapse even occurred. It’s important to recognize these series of events that occur so that the individual can find a way to intervene with relapse prevention skills when they first start noticing their warning signs. 

Why Do People Relapse?

There are many different reasons why anyone might relapse once they reach recovery. Some common psychosocial factors that have been found to increase the risk of relapsing include: 

  • Low self-confidence in their ability to stay in control of their substance use
  • Holding onto beliefs that substances have positive effects for them, such as improving anxiety or depression
  • Not able to properly cope with stressful situations
  • Low motivation to make lasting changes 
  • Low social and emotional supports
  • Having cravings for the substance 
  • Spending time with people who use substances or whom you associated with when they were using in the past

What are Relapse Prevention Skills?

Relapse prevention involves a lot of moving parts because recovery is complex. Relapse prevention includes using prevention strategies to reduce the risk of relapsing and generalize these skills to many domains in life that may trigger a possible relapse. Much like a treatment plan, a relapse prevention plan is tailored to each individual’s needs and strengths. 

Examples of Relapse Prevention Strategies

There are many different strategies that patients will become familiar with as they are completing treatment. A relapse prevention plan will include many domains of life that may impact the individual, such as physical and emotional surroundings, diet, rest, support, self-care, physical health, exercise, mental health treatment, and substance use treatment. Examples of relapse prevention strategies include: 

  • Learning to identify their own warning signs of risk of relapse
  • Identify what may be high-risk situations for them and how to cope with that situation should it arise
  • Identify and create a support network that promotes recovery, such as sober friends, family, church groups, and support groups
  • Find ways to manage negative and triggering emotions
  • Identify what a craving is for themselves and how to manage them when they arise
  • Identify what cognitive distortions are and how to challenge them
  • Creating other healthy lifestyle patterns, such as eating nutritiously, exercising, or doing self-care activities 
  • Using medication-assisted treatment when appropriate

How Thrive Treatment Can Help 

If you, a loved one, or someone you know is struggling with a substance use disorder or addiction, don’t hesitate to reach out for help as soon as possible. It is never too soon nor too late to seek help. Addiction treatment centers like Thrive Treatment can assist you in detoxing from Adderall or other drugs, find therapy options that best suit you, and develop skills to maintain long-term sobriety. Thrive Treatment has many options available for addiction treatment, such as partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, outpatient, and sober living home options. Our variety of options allows for us to help you build a personalized treatment plan based on your needs. Contact us today to schedule an assessment and start treatment.

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