Relapse Prevention

As with most diseases, addiction is a disease where relapse can happen. In fact, relapse is viewed as a normal part of recovery. While not everyone relapses after getting sober, many people do. When a relapse occurs, it is not to be considered a moral failing but a natural part of the recovery process. Despite relapse being something that is common among those in recovery, it is not something that should be shrugged off or ignored, as doing so can cause a person to fall back into a downward spiral of addiction.

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    Signs of Relapse

    Relapse is something that can be prevented, and part of preventing relapse from occurring is to know what the signs of it are. Every person is different in his or her recovery, however, when a relapse occurs, it is often because of the three stages of relapse: emotional relapse, mental relapse, and physical relapse. Within these stages are several signs and symptoms that indicate the potential for relapse.

    Emotional relapse

    An emotional relapse occurs when a person is not actively thinking about using again but is struggling with emotional issues that he or she is not properly addressing. These issues, if left unaddressed, can fester and erode at one’s recovery. During this time, signs include:

    • Irritability
    • Restlessness
    • Defensiveness

    Additionally, those experiencing emotional relapse tend to stop going to meetings, avoid reaching out for help and veer off course from their recovery plan. 

    Mental relapse

    Emotional relapse can quickly lead to mental relapse, where a person is having an internal battle about possibly using again. As this stage of relapse continues on, the desire to use again becomes stronger, partly due to the effects of the emotional relapse and the symptoms of a mental relapse, which include the following:

    • Glamourizing past substance abuse
    • Spending time with old friends directly linked to your substance abuse/frequenting places where use occurred in the past
    • Thinking about relapsing on a regular basis 

    Physical relapse

    Physical relapse occurs when a person actually uses the desired substance again. By this point, the individual can struggle to stop the cycle of relapse on his or her own, as it often takes the help of others to regain sobriety. When someone physically relapses, he or she will likely:

    • Pick up old behaviors (such as lying or being defensive about use)
    • Use more than he or she used to, leading to more prominent symptoms associated with the specific substance
    • Do a complete 180 seemingly overnight in regards to his or her temperament 

    Relapse is a very involved process, which is both a good and a bad thing. Arguably the greatest benefit of this process is that there is typically an opportunity to recognize one or more of these symptoms and address it to avoid the relapse from occurring. But how?

    Relapse Prevention in Lexington, KY

    At our facility, we place tremendous focus on helping all patients lay a strong foundation for their recovery. This includes helping to implement strong relapse prevention skills. The relapse prevention in Lexington, KY that we offer helps patients in a number of different ways that keep them from relapsing during their recovery. 

    We implement relapse prevention in our patients by spending time discussing this topic and providing education about it. Relapse prevention is something that all those in recovery should be aware of, which is why it is taught in group settings. Learning these skills with others who also need them in order to live a sober life can help patients become more comfortable with what they will need to do to maintain the recovery they have worked hard for. 

    The relapse prevention in Lexington that we offer focuses on helping patients identify triggers and develop strategies to manage their recovery. Some of the relapse prevention skills we emphasize include the following:

    • Go to regular meetings, such as AA or NA
    • Practice good self-care by eating well, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep
    • Have a plan prepared should you find yourself in a situation where you are being triggered to use
    • Discuss your emotions rather than bottling them up inside
    • Participate in activities or hobbies that bring you happiness and/or serve as a positive outlet

    There are countless ways to prevent relapse, but the key for each individual person is to find the strategies that work best for him or her. Most importantly, should a person ever feel like they are on the brink of relapsing regardless of what they are doing in an effort to prevent it, reaching out to a friend, family member, or loved one can help stop the physical relapse from occurring.

    Get Professional Treatment in Lexington, KY

    Relapse prevention in Lexington, KY focuses on helping all patients develop a set of skills capable of keeping them from abusing drugs and/or alcohol again. If you are struggling with a substance use disorder or are in recovery but need additional support, reach out to us right now. We can help.