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Rehab Relapse Prevention in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Relapse prevention begins in the treatment phase of drug and alcohol rehab. Prevention is achieved through aftercare programs that are designed to provide patients with a variety of skills, strategies, and techniques to address various issues that may lead to a lapse or relapse. These issues can include stress, triggers, and cravings.

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Stages of Relapse

Relapse prevention is part therapy and part education. The education component helps patients learn about the mechanics of addiction. For example, relapsing isn't a single event but rather a process that occurs in three stages. Patients learn that while a single lapse doesn't necessarily lead to a resurfacing of the addiction, it may, and swift intervention after a lapse is essential for getting back on track with recovery.

  • Emotional relapse is the first stage preceding sobriety failure. While lapsing isn't exactly on the mind, emotions, attitudes, and subtle behaviors are setting the patient up for a lapse. Signs of emotional relapse include neglecting physical and emotional health, skipping meetings and counseling sessions, and not asking for help even though the patient needs it.
  • Mental relapse is the second stage. At the beginning of this stage, the idea of lapsing is formulating in the conscious mind, and by the end of this stage, the lapse is planned around loved ones' schedules. Signs of mental relapse include reacquainting with old using friends, glamorizing past use, and thinking about using again.
  • Physical relapse is when the person in recovery actually uses drugs or alcohol again. It is important to re-enter treatment to avoid a complete return to the addict's former lifestyle.

How Relapse Prevention Programs Help

Relapse prevention programming teaches patients essential skills so that they will be able to:

  • Identify high-risk situations in life that can lead to a lapse and develop coping skills to deal with these situations or identify ways to avoid them altogether.
  • Choose from a number of skills, techniques, and strategies to handle cravings, alleviate stress, and avoid or cope with triggers.
  • Recognize the signs of all three stages of relapse and have a concrete plan in place for getting help if any of the signs occur.
  • Identify ways they can fill idle time to help alleviate boredom or feelings of isolation and loneliness that can lead to a lapse.

Common Relapse Prevention Techniques

The prevention toolbox is a highly individualized collection of prevention techniques that patients choose based on their interests and preferences. The list of techniques is endless and includes:

  • 12-Step recovery programs and alternative self-help groups that add an extra layer of accountability and provide strong peer support and sponsorship to help prevent addicts from returning to substance abuse.
  • Continued individual therapy and family and group counseling that continues to build self-awareness surrounding the issues concerning the addiction and helps patients fine-tune their prevention strategies.
  • Participating in hobbies to fill idle time, foster healthy relationships with other non-users, and enjoy activities that don't involve drugs or alcohol.
  • Regular exercise to reduce stress and improve mental and physical health.
  • Practicing yoga to relieve stress, promote body and mind awareness, and foster physical and mental strength, balance, and flexibility.
  • Creating art or music to relieve stress and communicate experiences and emotions in a healthy and productive way.

Intervention After a Lapse or Relapse

Once someone in recovery lapses, immediate intervention offers the best chances of getting back on track with recovery without experiencing a lapse in sobriety. Whether or not drug or alcohol use has occurred, the intervention will likely include a brief stay at a rehab facility to identify and address the issues that led to the lapse. Patients may need to re-evaluate destructive relationships during this time.

The relapse prevention plan will be revised to address new and changing needs. An increase in the number of therapy and family and group counseling sessions will likely be included, and more recovery group sessions may also be recommended.

For more information, contact Drug Treatment Centers Pittsburgh at (412) 235-2317.

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