Relapse Prevention Tips and Techniques

Written by Chloe Nicosia

Proper Prevention Can Help You Avoid Substance Abuse Again After You Leave Rehab

Going through detox and inpatient care are your best bet when it comes to getting sober and staying healthy for the rest of your life. The unfortunate truth is that relapse is relatively common for people who have a history of drug or alcohol abuse. 40% to 60% of people experience a relapse after they stop drinking or using drugs. While there are different types of relapse, and not all of them involve actually using, this is an alarming statistic. If you’re thinking of drinking or using drugs again, or know someone who is in danger, there are relapse prevention programs available to help. For many addicts, learning basic relapse prevention techniques for substance abuse can help them stay healthy.

Reach out to Better Addiction Care by calling (800) 429-7690 to learn more about how we can help you find the right relapse prevention program for you or somebody you care about.

Relapse Prevention Tips and Techniques

Relapse is something that happens to many people after they receive care through detox and inpatient treatment. Though relapse might be somewhat common, it isn’t something anybody wants to experience. That’s why utilizing relapse prevention techniques for substance abuse is so important for people trying to beat drug and alcohol addiction in the long term.

Common relapse prevention techniques include:

  • Healthy control of your lifestyle. Eating right, sleeping well, exercising and self-care are essential relapse prevention coping skills.
  • Talking to friends, family members or a counselor when you feel anxiety about drugs or alcohol or the urge to use again.
  • Taking part in an organized relapse prevention program. These programs have helped many addicts recognize the signs of relapse before they begin and find an appropriate outlet for discussing addiction in a safe, comforting environment.

Understanding the Stages of Relapse

To truly be able to prevent relapse, you need to understand that the process is not the same for everyone. In fact, there are three different stages of relapse that are commonly discussed in clinical addiction circles. Knowing these stages of relapse are part of important prevention coping skills you should gain in rehab and extended outpatient or aftercare programs.

The three stages of relapse include:

  • Emotional relapse. Emotional relapse occurs when feelings or actions are beginning to set you up for a physical relapse down the road. Many people do not even realize they are entering this stage of relapse until much later. Common signs of an emotional relapse include anger, irritability, anxiety, depression, mood swings and isolation, often when related to feelings of sobriety or drug and alcohol use.
  • Mental relapse. Mental relapse begins when an addict starts thinking about using or glamorizing times they drank or used drugs in the past. Some addicts begin to think of ways they may be able to use more responsibly even though they know they have an issue with substance abuse.
  • Physical Relapse. Physical relapse is the act of obtaining or using drugs or alcohol. You only need to make plans to drink or use drugs to enter physical relapse.

Enter an Aftercare Program

Relapse prevention coping skills can make it much easier to stay clean and sober for long periods of time. Simply connecting with people that understand your substance abuse issues can mean a lot for addicts. That’s why aftercare programs designed to help with relapse prevention are so important.

Along with support, these programs can provide you with methods that make staying sober easier. For many addicts, proper relapse prevention programs are the difference between sobriety and addiction.