The Importance of Relapse Prevention
What factors must be addressed to prevent relapse?
“In my 35 years of experience, education, and work in the profession of addiction treatment, I have learned that a recovering person needs help in their biological and physical, social and psychological, and spiritual well being. The abusive use of drugs and alcohol not only changes and disrupts a person in the all the aforementioned domains of life, it inhibits their ability to grow and develop in each of those domains”
Dr. Keith L. Marshall, Psy.D., M.A., LAADC, CAODC-CS
CEO & Clinical Director
Doctor of Clinical Psychology
Licensed Advanced Alcohol Drug Counselor
Certified Alcohol & Other Drugs Counselor-Clinical Supervisor
Factors to consider in relapse prevention:
1. Physical/body factors
(e.g., increased low self-worth or lack of effective coping skills)
3. Environmental triggers
4. Environmental pressures or influences
5. Unresolved personal issues and problems
6. Unresolved damage and harm
7. Lack of employability
8. Personal abilities that are lacking or have been harmed
9. Decrease capacity for spiritual growth and awareness
Damage or disability on this list could have resulted from the drugs and addiction, or they could be qualities or abilities that were always lacking in the person. Either way, they are weak points that can and will cause upsets and setbacks.
In 1997, the World Health Organization (WHO) further defined life skills as “abilities for adaptive and positive behavior, that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life”. Certainly, this definition applies to those susceptible to drug or alcohol abuse. When life gets too difficult, a person without these abilities too often seeks relief in drink or drugs.
In some cases, relapse can occur suddenly, and individuals struggling with drug or alcohol cravings can give in without reaching out for help. The best way to prevent sudden relapse is to understand warning signs of addiction and factors that commonly lead to relapse. Factors vary for each person and situation, but relapse causes include emotional triggers, social situations, and physical changes.
Some specific situations that can lead to relapse include:
– Loss of a loved one.
– Major financial changes.
– Change in employment.
– Social pressures or conflicts.
– Change in marital status.
– Boredom with life.
– Health issues.
When you or someone you love is in recovery, especially the first year, it is important to continually check for the warning signs of relapse and get help right away if they begin cropping up.
At Dedicato Treatment Center we will help you or your loved one develop a relapse prevention plan that includes healthy coping skills and the identification of your individual relapse warning signs both psychological and environmental. Moreover, we will help you develop a plan that includes a connection to social support networks and people who will help you maintain your sobriety (e.g., 12 step meetings AA, NA, CA, Sponsorship, or other etc.).