Relapse Prevention Training
An essential part of recovery from substance use disorder is an active relapse prevention program that works to further support the ideas and practices that people have begun to adopt and develop as part of the recovery process. Relapse prevention training shows clients how to reaffirm the new life skills and emotional anchors that help them through times of difficulty, and teaches them to identify the warning signs that they are starting to regress back into old destructive patterns. Relapse prevention training influences many aspects of individual recovery from addiction, and is an indispensable resource.
What is Relapse?
If we break down the most basic definition of relapse, we can better understand how this concept applies to addiction, and why it is so important to have a system in place to address it. In general, a relapse is commonly defined as suffering deterioration after a period of improvement. In the world of medicine, a relapse is also referred to as recidivism or a return to a past condition.
When we frame the term ‘relapse’ within the context of drug and/or alcohol use, it is a reinstatement of drug-seeking behavior and ultimately, drug use. It is the recurrence of pathological drug use after a period of time without.
So in each of these definitions, there are reoccurring themes. Essentially, relapse is when someone:
- Experiences a period of improvement from a problem
- Is healing from a previous condition
- Has a period of abstinence, then they experience a recurrence of the initial problem/condition
With addiction, a relapse means someone ends a period of improvement and falls back into drug-seeking behavior or even drug use. Recovery advocates often believe that “real recovery” goes beyond abstinence, and means making improvements to overall behavior. Therefore, those people frequently say the “real relapse” actually starts when the behavior reverts back to old destructive or compulsive patterns.
Whether you believe the relapse is the behavior or the actual physical manifestation of using narcotic drugs or drinking, you can still see the real value in offering relapse prevention strategies to help avoid either circumstance.
The Signs of Relapse
One of the most important parts of relapse prevention training is helping people to identify the signs of relapse. When an individual is able to better understand their own unique challenges and triggers, relapse prevention teaches them to create a plan of action to fight back. There are some signs of relapse that are extremely common. The following are a few behaviors or feelings one may experience that might indicate that someone may be in the process of relapse.
- Depression and other mental health disorders intensify
- Avoiding social or personal activities they once enjoyed
- Being overly defensive or irritable
- Every day problems or difficulties seem overwhelming or exaggerated
- Lack of control in other activities such as work, gambling, eating, and sex
- Rationalizing or minimizing problem behaviors
- Feeling trapped and helpless without substances
- Justification of drug use or drinking
- Experiencing post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS)
- Ignoring support systems
- Physically using drugs or alcohol
While one of these issues here or there may not constitute a full-blown relapse, any combination of these symptoms could mean that someone is headed towards a relapse. In some cases, if you are seeing a combination of these warning signs then they may have even relapsed already.
Relapse Prevention Training
Taking action before someone is on the verge of relapse is essential to saving lives. Any comprehensive drug and alcohol treatment program should include courses on relapse prevention and developing the necessary coping skills to confront the challenges people find in recovery. Building sustainable recovery from drugs and/or alcohol isn’t just about addressing the underlying and co-occurring issues. Lasting recovery is also about being prepared for when life gets difficult. Having the means to protect your sobriety can be critical. The Relapse Prevention Training at Palm Partners Recovery Center is all above providing our clients with the awareness and the tools to face the outside world. This includes the following key components:
- PAWS Awareness
Post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) is something that people who are trying to recovery from addiction should definitely have the opportunity to learn more about. When people can anticipate the possible discomfort of post-acute withdrawals, they can prepare themselves with preventative strategies that help them stay consistent and healthy.
- Relapse Education
Understanding the signs of relapse and the risks of going back to drug abuse can help those who are struggling to stay grounded. Education about what relapse is, how it happens and what to do if you are at an elevated risk is a cornerstone to all other elements of relapse prevention training. Developing personal knowledge is at the core of developing new coping skills and breaking free of the old destructive habits.
- Coping Skills
Coping skills are vital to maintaining lasting recovery. We all need coping skills, even those who do not struggle with substance abuse issues. For those who are struggling in recovery, being able to cope with the highs and the lows of life can be the first line of defense against relapse. Relapse prevention training should teach individuals about finding the best possible way for them to address the different kinds of issues that will come up in recovery.
Establish habits that help you to stay as mentally and physically healthy as possible is one kind of preemptive action you can take. Relapse prevention training will emphasize the value of regular exercise, better eating habits, social and personal relationships, or pursuing your passions in sobriety. Self-care is not just about better hygiene and physical health, but also about promoting wellness in all areas of your life.
- Support Systems
Overcoming adversity in recovery can be much easier when you have others to stand by you and keep you moving in the right direction. Sometimes when we face trouble alone we cannot see the whole picture. Having a support system can offer new insight and perspective on an issue that may be causing a great deal of personal turmoil. Relapse prevention training helps people to identify and stay connected to their own support systems.
When someone is struggling with their recovery, relapse prevention training provides them with the resources to them to keep themselves accountable, and to rise to each challenge in a productive way. Palm Partners Recovery Center designed our program so that each individual can create a personal plan for recovery that includes opportunities for relapse prevention training. Our program focuses on the significance of comprehensive education, strong coping skills, healthy self-care, and consistent aftercare. Call now to learn more about relapse prevention training.