Drug Relapse Help and Prevention

Assuming you have made it through detox and overcome the rigors of withdrawals, you’re one step closer to completely ending your relationship with drugs or alcohol. However, long-term success requires adopting an entirely new mindset, one that minimizes the likelihood of relapse. According to drugabuse.com, an online resource providing extensive information about drug addiction and alcoholism, over 85 percent of individuals who have gone through a treatment program relapsed in the first year following treatment. Also, more than two-thirds of people relapse within the first few weeks of starting a drug or alcohol recovery program. On the surface, these statistics may appear discouraging; however, there are things that you can do to ensure you will be successful on your journey towards becoming and remaining sober. In this article, we will take a closer look at what drug relapse prevention entails and when you should consider asking for help.

How a Strong Mind Can Help Prevent Relapse

From a psychological standpoint, one of the best things you can do after completing detox is to begin cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which is a psychosocial intervention designed to improve one’s mental health and overall outlook on life. To help put this into context, individuals who undergo cognitive behavioral therapy as part of a comprehensive drug recovery program can benefit from a long-term success rate of 62 percent compared to 40 percent for those who do not follow up with CBT, according to the National Institute of Health. When an individual goes through CBT, he or she is taught not only how to cope but also to avoid the situations that could potentially trigger a relapse. To that point, it also stands to reason that someone with a strong mind is less likely to focus on obtaining and using drugs. Generally speaking, cognitive behavioral therapy can last anywhere from 12 to 16 weeks and is comprised of weekly sessions. It is also important to note that CBT has gained a great deal of acceptance in the substance abuse treatment industry. As such, it is relatively inexpensive and also covered by most major health insurance providers.

Should You Take Medication to Help Avoid a Relapse?

While some people may argue against the use of medication to help avoid relapse, studies show that this approach can be effective if done correctly. For example, medications specifically designed to combat cravings while balancing brain function and processes can be tremendously beneficial. It should also be noted that these medications are also useful as individuals go through detox as they can aid in blocking the psychoactive effects of drugs that may still be in their bloodstream. That said, two of the most commonly used medications used in most drug treatment programs include buprenorphine and naltrexone, which have both been labeled by the WHO (World Health Organization) as essential medications for overcoming opioid addiction.

The Importance of Stress Management

It is a well-known fact that overcoming psychological dependence is far more difficult than overcoming physical dependence when it comes to drugs and alcohol. One of the best ways to ensure long-term success is by managing the stress in your life, which can be accomplished by keeping your mind preoccupied with achieving career or education goals, meditating, exercising, or picking up a new hobby. These practices will not only reduce the probability of relapse but also boosts your confidence as you learn that it is, in fact, possible to derive satisfaction from things other than drugs and alcohol. According to helpguide.org, an online resource providing evidence-based mental health education and support, excessive stress and experiences can easily trigger a relapse. As such, those who are trying to overcome any form of substance abuse are encouraged to avoid situations that they know will cause unnecessary stress.

How a Drug Treatment Facility Can Help You Learn to Cope With Stress

Although it is entirely possible to cope with stress on your own, the right treatment program can make the process that much easier. As part of your counseling following detox, many drug treatment facilities will help you map out strategies for avoiding people and places that can cause you stress and increase your chances of a relapse. Beyond that, many facilities will offer family counseling, which is intended to bolster a patient’s recovery efforts. Studies show that these types of counseling sessions offer the following benefits:

  • Healthier and happier outlook
  • Supportive network
  • The ability to vent and talk openly about the struggles of addiction
  • Reduced stress

Along with these many benefits, family counseling goes a long way towards strengthening family bonds by promoting positive communication. In addition, these sessions also help patients learn how to deal with conflicts and other problems that could potentially derail recovery efforts.

When Should You Seek Help for a Substance Abuse Problem?

While self-assessment can be difficult for those struggling with a substance abuse problem, it is important to recognize the tell-tale signs of addiction. Some of the more notable signs of addiction can include:

  • Aggressive behavior
  • Change in priorities
  • Engaging in criminal activity
  • Change in personality or attitude

These changes almost always connote a drug or alcohol problem and seeking treatment should be your number one priority.

How Helping Others Can Prevent a Relapse

Along with a healthy mindset, support from friends and family, and managing stress, helping others avoid similar problems with substance abuse can go a long way towards maintaining your own sobriety. This can be done by actively participating in group meetings or 12-step programs aimed at helping individuals end their relationship with drugs or alcohol. Studies show that this act of benevolence can help former users feel empowered and can strengthen their resolve to stay clean long-term.

However, it should be noted that a relapse does not make you a failure; as noted in the preface of this article, relapse is not uncommon among those trying to overcome a problem with drugs or alcohol. Moreover, it is an indication that you may need more help. For example, you may find that trying a different approach like combining outpatient and inpatient treatment may be more effective. It could also mean that you may need to place a stronger emphasis on breaking the psychological dependence on drugs or alcohol. All in all, this is a good time to reflect on the things that may have contributed to your relapse and work on them when approaching recovery.

In summary, the road to recovery is a long journey riddled with potential pitfalls, however, the right treatment facility can make your journey easier. If you’re ready to seek help, you’re encouraged to contact St. Johns Recovery Place, one of Florida’s premier treatment facilities that prides itself on being a treatment sanctuary for those who are ready to make a positive change in their lives. For more information, call our admissions department today.

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