Relapse Prevention in Addiction Recovery

One of the most important topics that we discuss as part of our gender specific group therapy sessions is relapse prevention. Relapse prevention is a crucial topic to cover during addiction recovery treatment because it arms those in recovery with the tools they need to resist cravings, stay sober, and remain free of the negative consequences that come with relapse.

Why relapse prevention is so important

Relapse is your most formidable opponent in the addiction recovery process. It seeks to rob you of your sobriety and to pull you back into the tangled web of addiction. According to the National Institutes of Health, relapse rates among those treated for alcohol addiction vary between 20% and 50%, while relapse rates for those not treated for alcohol addiction range from 50% to 80% or more. In addition to understanding the high risk that those in recovery are at for relapse, it’s important to understand what makes relapse so dangerous. Relapse, of course, does have the potential to steer you off the course to recovery, but even more seriously, what many don’t understand is relapse’s potential to cause death. When an individual in recovery reverts back to using doses of a particular drug that they were using before becoming clean, those same dosage levels can suddenly be lethal to the person in recovery, resulting in death by overdose. In short, relapse is something to be taken seriously, and that is why we make it such a central part of our addiction recovery program.

Gender differences and relapse

One advantage to learning about relapse prevention in a gender specific environment is that it can address gender differences as they relate to relapse. Women, for example, seem to be more susceptible to undergoing relapse as a result of marital stress, while in men, marriage seems to actually reduce the risk of relapse (this could be attributed to the fact that women are more likely to having substance abusing spouses). In addition, women seem to be more likely to relapse when there are more children in the home, while for men there does not seem to be such a correlation. Often the differences that men and women exhibit in terms of relapse onset are very similar to the differences they exhibit in addiction onset (something you can read more about here and here.)

Relapse prevention techniques

There are several techniques that can help an individual in recovery avoid relapse. Here are some of the relapse prevention topics you can expect to cover in our comprehensive treatment program:

  • Meditation, relaxation, and prayer
  • Stress management
  • Anger management
  • Experiential therapy
  • Food and nutrition
  • Family therapy

One of the reasons that we at Therápia use the
disease model to discuss addiction is that it better helps us to understand relapse. Just as some diseases involve periods of relapse during the recovery process, the road recovery from addiction can and often does see its own periods of relapse as well. This doesn’t mean that treatment has failed. Even still, relapse need not be inevitable, and we strive to keep all of our clients away from relapse’s grasp. We believe that with the right tools, together we can reduce your chances of slipping into relapse, giving you a stronger recovery and keeping you free from the negative consequences that come with relapse.