When you are getting help for a substance use disorder, it can be difficult not to fall back on bad habits. Unfortunately, addiction relapse rates can be as high as 60%.  But relapsing does not mean that your recovery journey is over. It simply means that it’s time to try again and use new tools to prevent the same scenario from repeating. For many, that tool comes in the form of relapse prevention therapy.
What is Relapse Prevention Therapy?
Relapse prevention therapy is a cognitive-behavior approach that prompts the patient and their providers to look at situations that place them at greater risk of relapse.  These can be internal experiences like negative thoughts or external factors like people or places.
Once all of these triggers are identified, the patient and clinician work to develop various strategies to address those situations. Over time, the patient will gain the confidence to handle these situations without depending on drugs or alcohol.
How Relapse Prevention Treatment Works
To get started, a therapist will ask the patient what situations trigger their urges to use a particular substance. Through therapy sessions, the patient will talk about people, situations, and places that cause them to seek out drugs/alcohol. Knowing what these triggers are will make them more aware when they arise.
Next, plans will be put in place to help the patient deal with these triggers. While avoiding certain people or places is probably the best idea, sometimes this isn’t realistic. Patients will learn how to deal with these people, situations, or places without turning to drugs or alcohol to help them cope. Patients will learn about healthy coping mechanisms.
Relapse prevention therapy also builds awareness about the potential negative consequences when someone encounters high-risk situations. It also teaches different ways of thinking regarding abstinence from substances. This is sometimes referred to as “cognitive restructuring.”  This can include discussing unhelpful thinking styles and how to change those thoughts.
Triggers and Relapse Prevention
During relapse prevention therapy, patients also learn what to do in emergencies and unexpected situations where their triggers may arise.  As patients build their toolbox to deal with these situations, they gain the self-confidence they need to build a substance-free life.
Therapists and counselors will often ask patients to work on these skills outside of their sessions. This type of homework will help them be better prepared when potentially harmful situations present themselves.
During outpatient groups, patients also build a network of people to turn to for support. This can help prevent relapse when you know you have others behind you. They learn how to unleash their feelings instead of letting the emotions build up, possibly leading to dangerous consequences. During relapse prevention therapy, patients build skills, hope, and support.
Benefits of Relapse Prevention Therapy
Relapse prevention therapy comes with many benefits that will help patients stay sober. These include:
- Teaching self-control and encouraging strength
- Increasing understanding of urges to use substances
- Teaching how to avoid triggers
- Giving the tools needed to deal with emergencies
- Fostering positive thinking and self-confidence
- Teaching about better lifestyle choices
Patients learn to recognize their triggers and work to find healthy solutions to manage them. It’s important to understand that this is a process that takes time. Everyone recovers at their own pace. Allowing time to go through the process is essential for success in relapse prevention therapy and all types of treatment programs.
Prevent Relapse and Achieve Lasting Sobriety with Clear Life Recovery
At Clear Life Recovery, patients participate in relapse prevention therapy. This form of treatment can teach the skills necessary to stay sober. Relapse prevention therapy sessions at Clear Life Recovery have proven very successful.
At Clear Life Recovery, we know that each patient’s substance abuse disorder differs. So we customize each program to the individual. We work with the patient to develop a program that works for them. To learn more about what Clear Life Recovery can do to help battle your substance abuse disorder, contact us online or by phone.