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Relapse Prevention Therapy

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The decision to seek treatment is a big step, but you don’t have to do it alone.

man talks with therapist about relapse prevention therapySubstance use treatment is a complex process, requiring significant time and resources. It therefore only makes sense to give yourself or your loved one the best chance of lasting success. It’s very common to resume substance use after quitting. This often happens because of insufficient preparation for the return to ordinary life. Fortunately, relapse prevention therapy can make a huge difference. If you’d like to learn more about this impactful component of the addiction therapies offered at Calvary Healing Center in Phoenix, AZ, call 888.492.5113

Why Is Relapse Still So Common Following Substance Use Treatment? 

One major reason for relapse following a quit attempt is withdrawal. This is especially true when someone tries to quit without outside assistance. Many commonly abused substances like opioids and narcotics are profoundly physically addictive. This means that those who use them develop tolerance, requiring increasing amounts over time for the same effect. What’s worse, addictive substances can reduce the brain’s natural ability to regulate mood. It then becomes difficult to feel good or even functional without the drug. Unfortunately, when people quit without professional support, they thus often fall right back into the habit when withdrawal sets in. 

Untreated mental illness is another primary reason people relapse. Many who use drugs or alcohol do so in part to self-medicate. The symptoms of mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be simply intolerable. Unless addiction treatment addresses the mental health side of the equation, the sad reality is that many patients aren’t able to cope without ultimately turning back to substance use. 

Finally, many people relapse because they have to face triggering people, places, events, and situations without being prepared. For example, if a person has recently quit using a drug but then experiences the same work stress that prompted them to use originally, they may have a very hard time avoiding their old patterns. Triggers can be as outwardly simple as driving past a house or catching a whiff of a familiar perfume. Human memory is complex, and triggers can make the temptation to use immense.

What Does Relapse Prevention Therapy Add to a Qualified Recovery Program? 

Relapse prevention therapy usually occurs within individual therapy and forms just one part of a multi-pronged treatment program. It’s often offered alongside skill-building or trauma work in individual therapy, group therapy like the 12-step approach, and medical detox. Relapse prevention sessions tend to take place once weekly for approximately 12 weeks. 

Specific techniques included in relapse prevention therapy include: 

  • Identifying individual triggers and laying out a concrete plan for avoiding them as much as possible, particularly in early recovery 
  • Practicing declining drugs or alcohol if offered 
  • Actively reframing thoughts so that one’s self-talk mirrors one’s desire for sobriety instead of subtly or blatantly undercutting it 
  • Engaging in role-play to practice navigating circumstances such as social gatherings where the temptation to use may be elevated 
  • Setting up an emergency plan for sudden overwhelming cravings, such as calling a sponsor or exiting the situation
  • Building self-confidence in the ability to abstain
  • Learning anxiety management or mindfulness techniques, which involve returning to the present moment when cravings, self-judgment, or anxiety come up

Aftercare and relapse prevention are essential to ensuring lasting recovery and long-term sobriety. Programs like these significantly increase the chance of successful recovery. 

Make Plans for Relapse Prevention at Calvary Healing Center in Phoenix, AZ Today

Planning for the future is a vital part of any addiction recovery program. At Calvary Healing Center, relapse prevention therapy is an essential part of both residential treatment and intensive outpatient programs. To learn more, contact our staff at 888.492.5113 or reach out online today.