When a person undergoes treatment for substance abuse, their loved ones always hope they will remain sober long term. Sometimes, unfortunately, this simply isn’t possible when addiction is severe. Relapse happens, and it’s important to understand why this may be the case. Oftentimes the underlying reasons for substance abuse have not been addressed in full. There could be unresolved trauma, an untreated mental illness, or ongoing and overwhelming social triggers to use. Whatever the reasons, addiction should be viewed as a disease, and shame should be avoided to the greatest extent possible.
If your loved one needs mental health treatment and addiction recovery services for the first time or after relapsing, contact NuLife Behavioral Health. We’d love to discuss our relapse prevention therapy programs in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Illinois, and Indiana. Call 888.568.2057 or reach out online to talk to staff eager to help get you the best support possible.
What Happens in a Relapse Prevention Program?
Relapse prevention therapy is a form of talk therapy, meaning it’s based on strong one-on-one relationships between clients and therapists. Sessions typically take place weekly for about three months and are usually part of a larger treatment program.
Clients learn to name and prepare themselves for the triggers to use that may arise in their daily lives. Triggers include being close to places or people clients connect with using, social and work stress, and even unexpected thoughts. Planning as well as possible for the expected and unpredictable challenges of recovery makes lasting sobriety far more likely.
Relapse prevention therapists use a variety of techniques in sessions, including:
- Addressing day-to-day situations like social gatherings through role playing so the client can work through them before facing them alone
- Deciding on a clear plan for emergencies when sudden, strong cravings make it very tempting to use
- Discussing and practicing tactics and language to use when the client must say “no” to situations or opportunities
- Training in mindfulness techniques that allow clients to notice cravings and thoughts without engaging in either self-shame or impulsive behavior
- Questioning and reframing thoughts and feelings clients may have related to substance use being necessary for coping, relaxation, friendship, etc.
- Working to associate sobriety with positive opportunities and outcomes and undoing any thoughts or feelings that give it negative implications
- Building up the client’s self-confidence and personal agency
- Solo work like journaling, support-seeking, or self-regulation exercises that help the client stay engaged in relapse prevention between sessions
How Is Relapse Prevention Therapy Combined with Other Recovery Approaches?
Relapse prevention therapy works best when it occurs as part of a larger treatment protocol. Like any other intervention, it cannot provide everything that clients may need for optimal success. It’s therefore important to consult a doctor to determine what combination of treatments offers the best chance of lasting recovery. Here are just a few other treatments that may pair well with relapse prevention to underpin a lasting recovery:
- Other forms of talk therapy, like cognitive-behavioral approaches, which address the root causes of substance abuse and any co-occurring mental illness
- Group therapy, like 12-steps, which provides peer support, structure, mentorship, and accountability
- Medication-assisted treatment, which offers pharmaceutical support when the detoxification process poses serious health risks and/or physical discomfort
- Complementary offerings like yoga, art therapy, or nutrition counseling, which supply a needed mind-body connection to support the healing journey
Learn More About Treatment for Avoiding Relapse by Contacting NuLife Behavioral Health
Lasting recovery from drug or alcohol addiction is never easy, but with proper support, success is absolutely possible. Call 888.568.2057 or reach out online to learn more about NuLife Behavioral Health’s services. Our programs take place in Indiana, Illinois, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, and we can also offer referrals. We’re standing by to discuss our relapse prevention program and range of offerings for mental health and substance abuse recovery.