Our exclusive treatment programs include various addiction therapies that enable a person to identify their triggers for drug use and develop coping skills to respond to these healthily. There is certainly a correlation between completing treatment, longer lengths of treatment, and treatment outcomes.
We know that coming across triggers and risk factors that increase the chances of returning to active drug or alcohol addiction after treatment is a natural part of the recovery process. While our treatment programs help with addiction medicine and managing post-acute withdrawal symptoms, certain internal or external cues may activate your urge to drink or return to drug abuse after treatment.
These cues increase the risk of relapse, so we help you identify early warning signs and learn relapse prevention tools.
We understand that the recovery process from drug and alcohol addiction is not quick because addiction is a chronic illness. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, substance abuse relapse rate is akin to asthma and hypertension. Their research points to 60% of individuals with substance use disorders sustaining recovery – although relapse and reentering into inpatient or outpatient treatment is critical to their recovery.
Substance use is the final step in relapse but not its only part. Relapse warning signs can alert you to an active or impending relapse back to using drugs or alcohol. These signs may include:
Neglecting coping skills
Compulsive or risky behavior
Withdrawal from healthy habits
Returning to unhealthy behaviors and environments
Deception or dishonesty
Withdrawal from group or social activities
Depression and/or anxiety
The stages of recovery are not the same for every person. Recovery is a process of personal growth in which each stage has its own risks of relapse and the need to meet developmental goals to progress to the next stage.
As soon as you or a loved one cease drug or alcohol use, the abstinence stage has begun. Here, the main concerns are coping with cravings and avoiding relapse. Tasks at this stage include dealing with post-acute withdrawal, acceptance of an addiction, developing coping skills, and practicing honesty and self-care.
Psychological and emotional symptoms of post-acute withdrawal, poor self-care, and a mental struggle with a substance use disorder become risks and may tempt you to make big external changes in early recovery. Instead, improved emotional and physical self-care is vital, and big choices are best to be avoided at first.
Commonly thought to last two to three years, this stage aims to repair damage caused by substance use disorders. While you may feel progressively better, addressing adverse life events associated with your substance use or past trauma may be challenging at times.
This stage comes with confronting the harms caused by addiction to your self-esteem, relationships, employment, or finances.
Negative self-labeling and guilt have to be overcome through cognitive therapy while you learn and understand that you are not your addiction. Self-care becomes an integral part of recovery, developing a balanced and healthy lifestyle, repairing relationships, and attending self-help groups.
This stage is generally thought to start three to five years after stopping substance use and is expected to last for the rest of your life. It includes experiences and developing skills that were missed out on due to substance use disorders. While the repair stage of recovery is more about catching up, the growth stage is more about moving forward.
Identifying and repairing negative or self-destructive thoughts and patterns and challenging fears through cognitive therapy may enable you to give back or help others. A periodical reevaluation of a person's lifestyle is important.
In emotional relapse, you may not be thinking about drug or alcohol abuse. Instead, you may be experiencing emotions and behaving in ways that may set you up for future relapse.
Emotional relapse may come with defensiveness, anxiety, anger, or mood swings. You may find that you isolate yourself and keep your emotions bottled up, causing you to avoid asking for help or going to group therapy meetings.
The common denominator of emotional relapse is poor self-care, such as poor eating habits or sleep.
This stage is an internal tug-of-war in early recovery, whereby you may feel as if there are two opposing parts in you. One part wants to remain in recovery, while the other part continues to crave and romanticize using drugs or alcohol.
You may find yourself thinking about and glamorizing your past use. This includes remembering the places or people associated with substance abuse or reminiscing on your good times while excluding the bad.
The mental relapse stage often involves a cognitive challenge: you may bargain with yourself. You may be convinced that those who are not addicted to substances do not experience the same negative feelings or have the same problems. Therefore an escape from negative feelings becomes defensible or necessary.
Fantasizing about substance use and starting to plan to use drugs or alcohol again is common. At the mental relapse stage, the thought of returning to drug or alcohol use progresses and, without intervention, may cause you to use again, despite your intention to abstain.
When early warning signs aren't acted upon, the physical relapse phase begins, and you use drugs or alcohol again. This could lead you back to regular use.
Reaching the physical relapse phase makes achieving abstinence very hard, which is why it is better to be aware of warning signs, follow your relapse prevention plan, and make sure to reach out for support whenever you feel the need in the earliest phase possible.