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Relapse Prevention Methods

When someone is addicted to drugs or alcohol, relapses can become a common problem. Studies show that 54% of drug and alcohol addicts suffer relapses at one point or another, and 61% of these people can relapse multiple times. A relapse is when a patient becomes dysfunctional in recovery and returns to chemical use. It normally occurs as a result of a progression of events and ideas that show the patient that he is unable to deal with life in sobriety. Relapsing often leads to return to alcohol and drug abuse, physical or emotional collapse, suicide, or death. Before a patient relapses, he will display some identifiable warning signs some time before the relapse occurs. The most effective way of dealing with relapses is relapse prevention.

What is Relapse Prevention?

Relapse prevention is the major focus for patients who cannot maintain abstinence from drugs and alcohol despite the initial treatment. It is a systematic method of training recovering patients to identify and manage relapse warning signs that take place a while before the relapse occurs. Relapse prevention teaches patients to create strategic plans to deal with these warning signs and symptoms. This allows them to interrupt the progression early on and get back on the path to recovery. They are able to abstain from drugs and return to normal functioning. When it comes to maintaining a sober lifestyle, drug relapse prevention is critical. There are different approaches for preventing relapses in recovery. These include:

1) Holistic Relapse Prevention

Holistic treatment has gained a lot of popularity over the years as an effective form of treatment for drug addiction and relapse prevention. This treatment focuses on the body, mind, and spirit to achieve wellness. Holistic treatment incorporates different aspects like nutrition, massage, meditation, relaxation techniques, and spirituality. This type of treatment aims to make the patient feel calm and balanced in his mind and body and become stress-free. One main advantage of holistic treatment is that it can be personalized to suit the patient's needs. The main aspects of holistic relapse prevention include:

Mediation and Exercise

During the recovery process, the patient's mind may be filled with stress and anxiety. Holistic treatment uses meditation techniques like Tai-Chi and Yoga to exercise the patient's body and to clear his mind. After rehab, a former addict may struggle to regain control of his life and failure to do so may lead to a relapse. Meditation and exercise help a patient to relax, remove negative thoughts from his mind, and to balance his body which ensures he can confidently deal with any situations that arise after rehabilitation.

Nutritional Therapy

Drug addicts and alcoholics have a lot to benefit from a healthy diet. These people are usually more focused on substance abuse and tend to neglect healthy eating which makes them suffer from a poor diet. The foods they take may also react negatively with their substance of choice. Holistic treatment focuses on eating healthy foods and nutritional supplements to significantly improve health. This might mean adding herbal supplements necessary for healing the body and eliminating things such as sugars or additives from the patients' diets. Once the patient is back to his normal environment, he is able to stick to his healthy eating habits and avoid a relapse.

Massage and Acupuncture

Massage can help in relapse prevention by calming the mind and relaxing the body. The use of drugs or alcohol could have been initially caused by stress at home or work. By learning to use massage to eliminate stress, a recovering addict can avoid relapsing. Acupuncture eliminates the energy imbalance caused by substance abuse. It helps lessen withdrawal symptoms and helps the recovering addict to prepare for the recovery journey ahead of him.

2) Drug-Free Rehabs

Drug-free rehabs have existed for many decades and have helped many patients to deal with relapses over the years. These rehabs help patients to give up drugs for good without using medication. One major way that these rehabs prevent relapses is by replacing the bodily nutrients that the addict has lost during addiction. Drug addicts usually suffer from vitamin deficiencies because the drugs destroy the vitamin reserves in the body. Drug-free rehabs ensure that the lost nutrients are restored therefore helping the patients to overcome the pain of withdrawal and return to normal body functioning. Drug-free rehab centers also teach patients procedures that help them to recover quickly from mild accidents and illnesses. This ensures that patients are able to deal with the warning signs of relapses effectively. The recovering addicts are also taught how to have a positive outlook so as to adapt to the present environment. They are taught how to divert their minds away from past problems, physical pains, or emotional problems. Since these are among the major triggers of a relapse, the patients are able to avoid relapses by having a positive outlook of life. Drug-free rehabs also teach patients communication skills. Patients are taught how to communicate effectively by listening and understanding other people's views and putting their ideas across.

3) Relapse Prevention Therapy

Relapse prevention therapy is a form of therapy that can be taught to addicts to help them avoid relapses. It is also commonly used by patients with mental illnesses who must learn to control certain behaviors for a prolonged period of time. It trains patients how to identify high risk situations like mental states that make self control difficult, interpersonal situations most likely to lead to strong conflicts, and peer groups that can encourage relapses. This therapy helps patients to analyze past behaviors to identify specific feelings and situational and emotional triggers that lead up to substance abuse. Patients are taught how to form an active plan for dealing with high-risk situations. Mental states and peer groups that encourage relapse are identified. If the peer group cannot be avoided, strategies are created on how to control access. Therapy is also provided for mental states that encourage relapse. Strategies for dealing with interpersonal contact are addressed to help patients recognize likely sources of conflict, learn how to address early conflict, and how to withdraw from conflict.

Recovery from addiction is a gradual process. Recovering addicts who want to avoid relapse must make use of one of the above methods to ensure they enjoy permanent recovery.