Relapse Prevention - Albany

The term relapse is used in recovery to describe an addict who uses drugs or alcohol after spending a period in complete sobriety. There are different stages of drug relapse, and most people experience warning signs and symptoms before actually using the drug again. Having a relapse prevention (or, addiction aftercare) plan in place can help reduce the risk of sobriety failure. A relapse prevention plan typically identifies possible triggers and prevention methods for the different types of relapse stages.

Causes of Drug Addiction Relapse

Although recovery treatment aims to encourage former substance abusers to stay sober, many patients find themselves returning to old habits. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, drug addiction has a 40 to 60 percent sobriety failure rate.

The same source indicates that the best way to treat drug addiction is to treat it similarly to any other chronic health illness, such as hypertension or asthma. Another source,, suggests that the sobriety failure rate for individuals who have had a period of recovery is 50 to 90 percent. These rates have been proven to improve with the introduction of an aftercare program.

Stages of Relapse

Identifying stages that lead to an addict abusing drugs and alcohol after treatment can prevent them from fully returning to their former lifestyle. It is important to get an addicted person back into treatment as soon as they begin using again. The following stages can indicate an addict is going to use again:

  • Emotional relapse - The person isn't thinking about using. However, the individual's behaviors and emotions are setting them up for a possible future substance abuse. Signs include: anxiety, mood swings, defensiveness, intolerance, anger, isolation, poor eating and sleeping habits, and not asking for help or going to meetings.
  • Mental Relapse- Characterized by a battle in the mind as part of you wants to use but the other part does not. Early on, you may just be casually thinking about using. In the later stages, addicts are seriously thinking about using again. Signs include: thinking about people or places they used to use, lying, spending time with old friends who also use, glamour rising past drug use, planning drug or alcohol use around other people's schedules, and thinking about using again.
  • Physical Relapse - Actually using the drug again. This is the last stage if you have not used techniques to help deal with emotional or mental stress. Signs include: driving to the liquor store, your drug dealer, or any other place where you can get the drug.

The Purpose of Relapse Prevention

The goal of aftercare programs is to show the recovering addict techniques, tips, and tricks to not only identify signs that an addict is struggling with sobriety, but to also learn how to take positive actions to rerun one.

Prevention programs include coping skills for triggers, cravings, and situations that could provoke a desire to use the drug. They also offer a broad support system of people who can help you understand when a relapse might be coming and how to prevent it.

Many programs also offer skills to help prevent a smaller slip up from becoming a full return to drug use. Most programs offer support at any time during the day or night.

Treatment centers with relapse prevention are ideal for lowering the risk of substance abuse after the person has left the program. This is because each person leaves with an individualized plan for relapse prevention along with coping skills and a support network. This service, often referred to as aftercare service, may be available for a prolonged period of time after the person has left the program.

Find out how to access these helpful resources for yourself or a loved one when you call Drug Rehab Centers Albany at (877) 804-1531 today.


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