Many mental health care professionals and patients look at relapse as an unavoidable part of addiction recovery. The rate of relapse instances is high among patients with substance use disorders. Being informed and prepared for the possibility of relapse should be an essential part of any recovery or relapse prevention program. Not only can relapse stall a patient’s recovery, but it can also lead to an overdose. Fortunately, at Northpoint Recovery, we understand a lasting recovery means having a solid relapse prevention plan.
How Does Having a Plan Help in Staying Sober?
Relapse doesn’t happen only when using a substance like alcohol or drugs again. A setback like this happens in stages, and its beginning is often overlooked because there’s no substance use yet. Before the point of substance abuse, a relapsing patient will go through three stages:
- Emotional relapse: This is the first stage, characterized by a patient no longer following their own recovery rules. Some symptoms to look out for include deprioritizing mental and physical self-care, erratic eating and sleeping, isolating oneself or being distant to support systems, repressing emotions, and showing signs of anxiety and depression.
- Mental relapse: At this stage, the patient has a struggle as they may feel the desire to remain sober while also feeling the urge to use a substance. Symptoms of this stage include attempting to bargain with oneself – saying statements like “I’ll do it just one last time, and then I’ll be sober forever!” – minimizing or romanticizing the impact of one’s past substance use, lying to people in one’s support systems, and seeking out a reason to relapse.
- Physical relapse: This stage is characterized by what people typically think of when they hear “relapse.” If the bargaining in the earlier stage works on the patient, they will use a substance again but with the caveat of it being “just once.” Whether or not this is true, at this point, the patient should go back to an addiction treatment program.
Hopefully, a relapse prevention plan will make it much easier for patients and their support groups to recognize the first two stages before the last one leads back to regular, out-of-control substance use. However, an excellent plan will also prepare the patient and let them know that a relapse can happen and doesn’t invalidate their previous recovery work. Up to 60 percent of patients recovering from substance use disorders will relapse at some point in their recovery journey. At Northpoint Recovery, we offer many addiction treatment programs, including:
- Alcohol addiction treatment
- Opioid addiction treatment
- Cocaine addiction treatment
What Are the Elements of a Relapse Prevention Plan?
Therapy is a common part of a relapse prevention plan. This treatment helps patients have self-confidence and the knowledge to properly protect themselves from stressors and situations when relapse is possible. In our substance abuse treatment programs, patients will learn about these tools and techniques:
- Coping skills: Therapists can help patients identify their substance use triggers and how to cope with being faced with them without relapsing.
- Clinical therapy: Access to excellent mental health care can help patients in recovery dealing with relapse. It is also a great way to grow as a person, whether or not you’re in recovery. Therapy sessions can expose the motivations of a patient’s behaviors and substance use. Part of relapse prevention is dealing with the thoughts and emotions that inhibit a patient’s growth beyond their use of substances.
- Lifestyle change: Therapists can help patients make adjustments in their life and routine that will encourage sobriety and prevent relapse triggers from affecting patients.
Learn More About Northpoint Recovery’s Relapse Prevention Program
Whether you need a detox program for the first time or you have relapsed, Northpoint Recovery can help. Find out about our programs by contacting our team online or calling 208.486.0130.