Relapse Prevention in Old Bridge, NJ

Relapse prevention in Old Bridge focuses on giving recovered addicts the tools they need to identify and address the stages of relapse so that they can maintain sobriety.

Recovering from drug addiction is a lifelong process. Though the first stage of recovery can often be achieved in just a few months, long-term sobriety is something that must be maintained through careful understanding of addiction and how to avoid relapse. Relapse prevention, as it is usually referred to, is the single most important aspect of dealing with addiction simply because it lasts for a recovered addict's entire life.

What Is Relapse?

We tend to think of relapse as a single event, the moment when drug or alcohol use starts again. In truth, psychologists have identified three stages of relapse. What most people don't realize is that the process of relapse can begin weeks or even months before actual substance abuse begins. The ability to identify pre-use relapse stages is key to circumventing full relapse and ensuring long-term sobriety.

Professionals in relapse prevention in Old Bridge focus on preparing addicts and their families to recognize the early stages of relapse so that intervention can begin before the situation spirals out of control.

Relapse Prevention Programs: The Stages of Relapse

Relapse can be divided into three stages and most successful relapse prevention programs focus on identifying the earliest stages so that measures can be take n to prevent full relapse. The stages of relapse are as follows.

Emotional Relapse

In the first stage of relapse, emotional relapse, individuals experience an emotional state that sets the stage for thinking about using again. Common emotions in this stage include anxiety, anger, and fear. If left unchecked, these emotions can overwhelm coping mechanisms and result in a need for the soothing aspects of substance use. At this stage, addicts have generally forgotten about the negative consequences of substance use and are focused on getting relief from their emotions.

Relapse prevention treatment programs attempt to intervene in relapse at this stage by addressing the emotions that are leading an addict to think about use again. It is imperative that addicts feel safe sharing feelings about relapse with their friends, family, sobriety partners, or medical professionals at this stage. If they can't talk about it, their chances of getting help are slim.

Mental Relapse

During mental relapse, the addict begins to think about using again by reminiscing about past use and situations in which substance use was pleasant. This can include thinking about old friends and old hangouts where substance use occurred. As mental relapse progresses, addicts begin to make plans for using again.

This is often marked by the thinking about ways to get away with use without being detected, such as when a family member is away or during a vacation alone. Mental relapse often progresses further to rationalizing use and making excuses for why it "won't be so bad this time around" or why the addict "can control use this time."

Relapse prevention programs identify mental relapse as a dangerous time for an addict because they are actively considering the benefits of using and perhaps even planning on using soon. Many professionals will ask an addict about "plans to use."

The more specific the plan, the greater the risk of lapsing into the next stage. Inpatient rehab in Old Bridge, or intensive outpatient treatment at this stage can short-circuit the progression to physical relapse.

Physical Relapse

Physical relapse begins when an addict starts seeking drugs or alcohol again. This can include driving to a liquor store or looking for a dealer. Physical relapse is often characterized by intense cravings and, in some cases, even by mild withdrawal-like symptoms.

Physical relapse is a critical stage in which intervention is still possible. The addict has beat addiction once before and can certainly do it again. That said, most drug relapse prevention programs will insist on inpatient therapy at this point. It may be limited in duration, but inpatient therapy is usually the best way to help overcome the acute phase of the problem to re-establish sobriety.

Relapse Prevention Tools

Relapse prevention tools are needed to help addicts avoid situations that increase the chances of descending into relapse. Such tools can include everything from avoiding risky situations (e.g. don't drive past the old bar) to check-ins with buddies to identify red flags and realign with sobriety goals. Other examples of relapse prevention tools include:

  • Self-care: Getting adequate sleep and nutrition. Avoiding stressful situations.
  • Distraction: Finding ways to avoid thinking about using. This can include 12-step programs, meetings, etc.
  • Sobriety Buddy: Every recovering addict should have a trusted friend or counselor to go to when they start feeling down or think about using again.

Why Seek Programs for Relapse Prevention in Old Bridge?

Because relapse prevention is so critical to long-term sobriety, there are several different organizations available to addicts to help. Immediately following recovery, halfway houses, sober-living homes, and intensive outpatient counseling are most useful.

As an addict moves further into sobriety, relapse prevention aftercare make take the form of AA/NA meetings, sobriety buddies, and outpatient counseling. Relapse prevention in Old Bridge can help recovering addicts find the aftercare resources they need to maintain sobriety.

It is important for recovering addicts to see these organizations as tools for maintaining sobriety and not as burdens to simply slog through. Everyone should remember that sobriety is a life-long commitment. Call us now at (732) 412-5393.

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