Relapse Prevention Therapy Specialist Q&A
Learning to live a satisfying life in recovery requires relapse prevention skills. One day at a time, one can learn to put these coping skills into practice in order to avoid relapse and live a life beyond their greatest expectations.
Recovery from alcohol or other substances is a human development process with developmental stages. Relapse is possible at any level of recovery, making relapse prevention strategies extremely important to know and comprehend. At Psychiatry Unplugged, our professional doctor, Dr. Soroya Bacchus, MD, is dedicated to helping you on the road to recovery so you can live a more fulfilling quality of life. We have convenient locations to serve you in Los Angeles and Glendale CA. For more information, call us or request an appointment online.
Table of Contents:
What is relapse prevention?
How does relapse prevention work?
How can relapse be prevented?
What are the stages of relapse?
Recovering from an addiction is no easy feat, and it should be celebrated in healthy and productive ways. However, after addiction has been overcome, the work is not yet over. Relapsing is a real risk for those in recovery and can remain high risk for several years. Preventing relapse is just as important as recovering from an addiction, as a single relapse can undo years of hard work. Relapse prevention therapy uses several different methods to reduce the risk of relapsing, and has shown massive success in recovering individuals.
The advancement of medications to prevent relapse has been amazing. Everyone is familiar with Narcan used by police officers and paramedics for narcotic ODs. To see these people wake up suddenly and alive is incredible. There are now several types of these medications that not only stop narcotic use but are helpful in stopping alcohol use, stimulant abuse, sedative/hypnotic abuse, and nicotine use.
Relapse prevention uses medications that can “teflon” brain cells so an individual cannot get high. They can also take down the edge from using. These FDA-approved medications are effective and are not controlled addictive medications creating tolerance or abuse. These medications are not maintenance treatments that substitute one drug for another. These meds heal and restore the normal biology of neurons and how they work; normal thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
The key to relapse prevention is to understand that relapse happens gradually; it can begin weeks and sometimes even months before an individual starts drinking or using an illicit substance. The goal of treatment is to develop coping skills to prevent relapse early in the process when the chances of success are greatest—and to help individuals recognize the early warning signs of relapse. This has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of relapse and plays an important role in relapse prevention. Now relapse prevention is an attainable goal and not the white-knuckling fear we often see patients worry about. Relapse prevention includes judicious use of medications and psychotherapy to help you recognize and maintain a life free of drugs. To best prevent relapsing, it is crucial to understand the stages of relapse.
There are three stages of relapse:
Emotional Relapse — During an emotional relapse, individuals are not thinking about using; they remember their last relapse and do not want to repeat it. However, their emotions and behaviors are setting the stage for a future occurrence of relapse. Denial is a big part of emotional relapse because individuals are not consciously thinking about using during this stage. Signs of emotional relapse can include:
– Bottling up emotions
– Not going to meetings
– Going to meetings but not sharing
– Focusing on other people’s problems instead of their own
– Poor eating and sleeping habits
Mental Relapse — In mental relapse, there is a conflict going on inside a person’s mind. Some of them want to use it, but another part of them does not. As individuals go deeper into mental relapse, their need for escape increases and their cognitive resistance to relapse diminishes. Some signs of mental relapse include:
– Cravings for drugs or alcohol
– Thinking about people, places, and other things associated with use in the past
– Minimizing consequences of past use
– Glamorizing past use
– Thinking of schemes to better control using
– Looking for relapse opportunities
– Planning a relapse
Physical Relapse — The final stage of relapse is physical and is marked when an individual starts using again. If an individual has had one instance of drug use, it may quickly lead to a relapse of uncontrolled use.
At Psychiatry Unplugged, our board-certified addiction medicine doctors are committed to assisting you in your recovery so that you can live a more fulfilling life. We understand that stopping the use of addictive substances is not the end of the journey and that it is an ongoing process that requires a lot of hard work and determination. We are here to help you in this process and to support you at every step along the way. Call us today or book an appointment for relapse prevention therapy, or simply visit our clinic conveniently located in Los Angeles CA, and Glendale CA. We look forward to serving you! We serve patients from Los Angeles CA, Glendale CA, Beverly Hills CA, Santa Monica CA, Hollywood CA, Burbank CA, and Pasadena CA.