Relapse Prevention

What are the Signs of addiction Relapse?


Relapse is a process that may begin months before the actual event of using or drinking. This process happens in three distinct phases: emotional relapse, mental relapse, and physical relapse. During an emotional relapse, one has no intention of using drugs, but their emotions and behaviors create the opportunity for one. The signs of emotional relapse include stop going to 12-step meetings, isolating from support network, and being overwhelmed by stress and anxiety.


In mental relapse, an individual may find themselves in a quandary on whether to return to drug use. One may daydream about using drugs and hang out with people who abuse drugs. Additionally, some people romanticize their past use and lie about exhibiting the signs of a relapse. Failure to apply relapse prevention techniques when experiencing emotional and mental stages may result in using again. The physical relapse phase is exactly how it sounds: the act of using or drinking.

Watch Out for dangerous, Relapse Triggers


Triggers are typically those people, places, and things that we associate with drinking or drug use. They are internal and external factors that make a person crave drugs. This knowledge will help come up with relapse prevention measures. One of the most familiar triggers of relapse is withdrawal symptoms such as insomnia and anxiety.
Whether it’s left-over alcohol or free drugs from friends, both endanger a person to relapse. Also, visiting the places that a person purchased or used drugs can accelerate cravings. Stress caused by events, such as a death in the family, may also trigger a relapse. Several factors can bring about relapse, including isolation, disputes, and joining parties where alcohol and drug use are the norm.

Relapse Prevention Treatment Modalities


Recognizing the early indications of a relapse can help prevent you from resuming drug use. Residential treatment following detox is one of the most effective ways to avoid relapse. Detox only handles the physical aspect of addiction by helping the body to stabilize and curb withdrawals. However, residential, and partial hospitalization programs address the behavioral change modifications that need to occur for a foundation of lasting recovery.


Some of the most effective addiction treatment modalities include:

  • Dual diagnosis treatment
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Residential treatment
  • Trauma informed therapy
  • Partial hospitalization
  • Medication assisted treatment
  • Intensive outpatient program
  • Adventure therapy

Medication Assisted Treatment is a Relapse Prevention Tool


Addiction is no longer seen as a moral failing. It has finally been conceded that addiction is a medical disease. While medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for relapse prevention is nothing new, it has only been used sparingly for 40 years. MAT usage has dramatically increased as the relapse and overdose fatality continue to rise amid the opioid crisis (and Covid-19). One of the reasons medications like Suboxone / Subutex / Sublocade are being used to treat opioid addiction is that these medications statistically reduce relapse by controlling dangerous withdrawals and cravings. Clients under medication assisted treatment care have far better outcomes than clients in abstinence-only based programs. Likewise, the use of Buprenorphine has given people struggling with opioid addiction a new, more efficient relapse prevention medicine that can used in an outpatient setting.


Most people want to stay sober after undergoing drug detox and addiction treatment. However, withdrawal symptoms may produce intense cravings. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), approximately 60% of people who battled with addiction relapse within the first year of recovery. Utilizing a blend of various relapse prevention techniques can help maintain lasting sobriety.


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