Researchers, doctors, pharmaceutical chemists, and others worldwide work hard to discover and manufacture a cure for every illness experienced within the global society. Even though addiction is a disease, unfortunately, it has no cure—with approximately 44,000 people dying of drug overdose each year in the United States.
Providing a one-time fix-it-all or magical antidote is not the purpose of rehabilitation treatment. A pill that no one likes to swallow is the reality that relapse is a realistic likelihood that can befall a person—even after a momentous period of abstinence.
The nation’s oldest self-help organization, Alcoholics Anonymous, taught its members to stay away from “people, places, and things” because there will be a natural inclination for a person in recovery to revert to precarious patterns of behavior. Far from being discouraging, the possibility of having a relapse should motivate an addict to stay proactive and committed to maintaining a new life of sobriety.
Some argue that relapse is not necessarily circumstantial; it’s not something that merely happens suddenly. Instead, a common thread of thought is that it is a gradual progression. It makes sense. How possible would it be for professionals or other members of a client’s support system to intervene with enough regularity when the patient has an overwhelming presence of triggers circumspectly and silently breaking them down?
However, if observed, there are clues in behavior and thinking that indicate that an individual’s return to substance use is on the horizon. Some people think that expecting relapse is defeatist,
pessimistic and shows little faith in the individual.
Although clinicians and drug counselors expect there to be a tendency for patients to relapse, relapse is not desirable, in the least. For a person to live a productive life while abstaining from alcohol or substance use, they should not spend so much time anticipating relapse. A rehab center’s goal is not to prepare a person for an inevitable defeat by addiction but aims to help
clients master skills to sustain sobriety and prepare for a rejuvenating recovery should relapse occur.
Normalizing relapses might diminish the pressure on physicians, clients, and support individuals to avert them. Relapses cause many people to lose their jobs, families, freedom, and sometimes even their lives. The most common ways to stop relapse have been therapy, learning new skills, taking medications, and keeping an eye on the person. But skipping over what happened earlier in a relapse makes it harder to help at an earlier stage.
Having successfully abstained from drugs or alcohol for a lengthy period and gaining new coping skills in rehab, a person is likely to feel accomplished, revitalized, and rehabilitated upon leaving.
Recovery is a journey, not a final destination; this path doesn't end when a person finishes an addiction treatment program. Long-term goals require dedication and putting all the skills a client has learned to good use. Over time, a certain degree of mastery may replace automatic responses to internal and external triggers.
Maintaining sobriety while in rehab and afterward in the real world probably gives the brain time to get back to normal functioning, which can set the stage for long-term success in addiction recovery. People with alcohol or substance use disorders may not be able to get better if they keep falling back into old habits.
Some programs that aim to prevent people from relapsing have broken down relapse into stages, starting with an "emotional relapse" and ending with a "physical relapse."
An emotional relapse may occur if the individual recalls their previous relapse, even though they are not now thinking about using. In this phase, people are usually not intending to relapse and are thus likely to be in denial about the severity of their condition. When people are in denial, they miss out on opportunities to adopt proven strategies that might stop the relapse from advancing.
A mental relapse occurs when a client has an internal conflict between wanting to use and wanting to abstain. Individuals' likelihood of experiencing a physical relapse increases as the stage progresses. In the beginning stages of recovery, some patients may place unrealistic expectations on themselves by supposing that they would never again entertain ideas of using or experiencing a relapse.
The last step in a relapse is when the person begins using the substance again. One drink, for example, is likely to escalate to many more if a person with a substance use problem cannot rein in their consumption. In addition, relapse after an initial lapse or slip-up often results in a more intense need for the substance in question. The belief that they can use alcohol or drugs again without anybody finding out is a significant trigger for many physical relapses.
Prevention preparation creates collaborative work between clients and their support system by developing a comprehensive relapse prevention plan. Upon successful completion of treatment from a rehab center, a person will have gained insight into what situations and
feelings will contribute to the likeliness of relapse. According to the late cognitive-behavioral psychologist G. Alan Marlett, “People [with addictions] to alcohol and drugs of all types, [have a] relapse in response to stress, feelings of anxiety, fear, anger.” He also mentioned:
It’s easy to see how a person could think it is fatalistic to talk about relapse while dealing with recovery concurrently. However, outlining a preventative plan for a patient’s possible return to substance use is not an expectation for the worst. Optimistically speaking, it is preparing an
individual to be the best! Because the focus is on how to recover following a relapse. Improving after a regress — no matter how frequent or rare the occurrence or threat — they will be working towards reaching new goals and developing new ways to cope.
As a person prepares for discharge from a rehab center, the patient should be proactive in following through with the preventative measures outlined in a well-written relapse prevention plan. They should be all set to stay vigilant of warning signs and how to neutralize their responses to triggers. They can make a turnaround much quicker by making these adjustments to a previously dysfunctional lifestyle, should there be a relapse.
Eventually, each day in recovery will entail strength, courage, and perseverance and display a prominent application of the skills and techniques learned while in treatment at the
rehab center. To learn more about relapse prevention and dual diagnosis treatment for various addictions and mental health disorders, contact the premier luxury rehab, Wish Recovery and speak with an admissions specialist 24/7.
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