Within the addiction conversation, there is a lot of talk about when it comes to treating addiction. Unfortunately, there isn’t as much discussion surrounding preventing relapse, which poses an enormous risk to patients as they transition out of recovery programs. Falling back into the throes of a substance use disorder can mean even more, and sometimes more challenging, struggles for the individual even after their initial treatment. Focus should be placed on really instilling relapse prevention strategies into the minds of these people so that they can really move on with their lives.
The Perilous Experience of Preventing Relapse
Unfortunately, many people who aren’t adequately prepared for their return from treatment are at enormous risk of not only relapsing, but also of death from subsequent overdose. Their family and friends who haven’t had firsthand experience with a substance use disorder may not understand how the patient could die from an overdose after working through some amount of treatment. What many people don’t realize is that these people are still in danger unless they are released from rehabilitation with solid relapse prevention strategies.
The fairly ignorant question that often follows an incidence of relapse is “why did he or she choose to go back to their old life?” Those who come out from a treatment program aren’t looking to continue to struggle with their substance use disorder or to suffer from an overdose. If they encounter these problems, it’s likely because they didn’t receive enough support to aid them in preventing relapse once they would be out on their own again.
Changes that the individual makes following treatment “will be part of an ongoing process.” That person can’t just come out the other side of a recovery experience and expect to be “cured” and others in their lives shouldn’t believe this, either, as it’s a dangerous and unrealistic expectation. Rather, they can work with professionals while still in treatment and then with the support of reliable friends and/or family outside of treatment to help implement healthy habits and productive changes to keep them on the path to sobriety.
Preventing relapse can be hindered by “emotional causes, unhealthy patterns of behavior, or external situations.” Put simply, there are a lot of factors that can cause relapse, depending on the person and their personal triggers or temptations. Identifying these dangerous situations for the individual can aid in relapse prevention if he or she works with professionals during the recovery process to develop strategies for combating these triggers if they arise. Most commonly seen perils are feelings of overconfidence or, on the other end of the spectrum, depression. Also, dishonesty with others, unrealistic expectations, and allowing oneself to spend time with other people who have a substance use disorder are additional, potential pitfalls.
There is no one-size-fits-all option for treatment and relapse prevention, but experts in the field will likely have had a variety of experiences preventing relapse incidents and may have a number suggestions or plans to try. This variety allows them to most effectively aid individuals in recovery and to keep them both safe and honest as they move back out into society. Once the patient finds a strategy that seems to work for them and within the framework of their “new” lives, he or she can approach recovery with much more confidence and find greater success as a result.
If someone you care about is struggling with a substance use disorder and is in need of relapse prevention strategies, get in touch with The Bergand Group. The Bergand Group is Maryland’s leading addiction recovery center, and offers support for those struggling with addiction and mental health issues. We can help you to work through your addiction in a safe and healthy environment where everyone is committed to your care.
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About The Bergand Group:
At The Bergand Group in Baltimore and Harford County, Maryland, our therapists have more than twenty years of experience in the mental health and addiction fields. Our focus is on providing comprehensive mental health care and appropriate care for addictive disorders. We offer both alcohol rehab and drug rehabilitation. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or substance addiction, there is help available. We also offer several other services, including family therapy and counseling. We can help. Contact us today.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]