Anyone who’s ever had any experience with substance abuse is familiar with relapse. It’s so common that it’s almost to be expected. The recovering abuser will almost surely have some lapses. Although this has been recognized for centuries, it wasn’t until the 1970’s that scientists and researchers began to examine the causes of relapse, and how to help people combat them.
One of the most important things for a recovering substance abuser to understand is that relapses are common and normal, and that the battle shouldn’t end with one incident.
Ways To Prevent Relapse
Research has shown that there are common triggers that cause people to turn back to substance abuse.
These include negative psychological states such as:
[message type=”info”]It has become clear that the substance abuse itself isn’t the enemy, these mental states are.[/message]
Therefore, the science of Relapse Prevention Therapy (RTP) was born. According to Lisa Onkin, with the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s Behavioral Treatment Development Branch, “Its effect is pretty potent, although the work on understanding and refining it is far from finished. It’s causing particular excitement for its apparent utility with cocaine abuse, an area where just a few years ago there were no successful treatments”.
Winning The Fight Inside Your Head
The person struggling with addiction and substance abuse needs to understand that there are clear and effective ways to counteract their desire to turn to substance abuse when they experience these negative emotions. It begins with recognizing the situations that create the cravings for their former behavior. That can include socializing in situations where friends are encouraging the behavior, and any situation where the person is put under stress or a need to perform.
Increasing Awareness and Recognizing Triggers
Recognizing these high risk situations is the key to Relapse Prevention Therapy. Along with counseling, and possibly the use of certain drugs to combat cravings, staying the course on recovery has been shown to be highly effective. Even when people do relapse, appropriate therapy usually shortens the duration and the impact of the abuse.
Depression is one of the leading causes of substance abuse and relapse behavior. In recent decades, depression has been recognized as a legitimate illness with biological origins. There are now effective therapies and drugs to help the substance abuser cope with depression, and thus avoid relapsing into abusive behaviors.
It should be noted that staying on the course to recovery is not something that can be achieved alone. It’s a serious condition that requires the expertise and assistance of trained professionals
It should also be understood that addictions are often a lifetime affliction. Though the causes and biological underpinnings of addiction are just now beginning to be understood, it’s become clear that the cure involves a whole life adjustment, and a continuing process.
Seeking Professional Help
Treatment programs have proven to be extremely effective at helping substance abusers with recovery. There’s no need to travel this road alone. Destinations To Recovery is available for consultation, and can help guide you to the best treatment options for your individual needs. Call us at 877-466-0620.
- http://www.apa.org/monitor/jun01/relapse.aspx, http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=208447