What You Should Know about Addiction Relapse Prevention

NIDA (the National Institute on Drug Abuse) has determined that the average individual has a 40-60% chance of relapse after completing their first round of rehabilitation.

To minimize the risk of relapse, NC Drug Rehab Charlotte‘s mental health team use cognitive behavioral therapy which pinpoints a person’s negative thoughts and impulses and seeks to replace them with positive ones. It also teaches a person to be aware of the warning signs which indicate the onset of a relapse. This method, along with medication and group counseling, serve to drastically lower the chances of relapse and improve rates of successful rehabilitation. To learn more, call NC Drug Rehab Charlotte at (704) 961-9577.

Relapse: Warning Signs

Experts understand that relapse doesn’t happen overnight. It comes in distinct stages. The first phase, emotional or “early” relapse, exists purely within the mind. Consciously, the individual has no thoughts of doing drugs or alcohol, but they are beginning to fall back into their old destructives modes of thinking. Negative impulses cause the individual to cease taking the proper care of himself or herself and forget the lessons he or she learned in rehab. They can even start to feel “stuck.”

Signs include:

  • Irritability
  • Obsessive behavior
  • Refusal to talk about drug problems
  • Fluctuations in mood
  • Poor diet
  • Neglecting the maintenance of their sobriety

The second phase is mental, and conscious—thoughts of using alcohol or drugs begin to take over the person’s mind. A person’s conscience pulls them in one direction, and their dopamine receptors pull them in another. It becomes difficult to resist the temptation to have “just one drink” or “just one hit.”

A person undergoing the mental phase of relapse may:

  • Obsess about people with whom they used to do drugs, the places where it happened, and the circumstances
  • Dream about using drugs or alcohol once again
  • Lie about their thoughts or feelings to others
  • Reconnect with their old drug-using associates
  • Plan to use drugs or alcohol or purchase them

A person’s brain begins to fool them at this point: they believe that, now that they have their habit under control and have been through rehab, they can “control” their drug use. They forget completely about the negative consequences and dangers of using drugs and remember only the good times they had while they were high or drunk.

The final stage of the relapse process, as you may have guessed, is physical—the person actually consumes or ingests his or her drug of choice. A one-time use is classified as a lapse in sobriety. A complete reversal of the person’s sobriety—a return to their old destructive lifestyle—is a full-blown relapse.

The Purpose of Aftercare

A vital element of a rehabilitation program is aftercare—outpatient therapy sessions which continue even after the person moves out of the rehab center. Aftercare helps to solidify the lessons the patient learned during therapy, including:

  • Avoiding situations where drugs or alcohol may be present
  • Thinking positively and acting constructively in the face of cravings or temptation
  • Understanding and being vigilant for signs of relapse
  • Knowing when to reach out for help

Making use of as many of the foregoing stratagems as possible will maximize the individual’s potential for long-lasting and successful sobriety. Find out more about relapse prevention by calling the friendly experts at NC Drug Rehab Charlotte at (704) 961-9577.