Relapse Prevention in Addiction Treatment

It is a known fact that addiction is highly relapse-prone. In fact, sobriety can be described as nothing but ‘preventing a relapse’.

In some ways, the hardest part of establishing and maintaining long-term recovery comes when the initial, intensive part of treatment has been completed.

Causes of Relapse

To avoid relapse, most recovering people need to be in low stress situation. They need to avoid old using friends and haunts. In the initial stages, they should not take up a high profile assignment and not make big decisions that may trigger stress.

Research has indicated the five factors that most often contribute to relapse:

  1. Inability to manage stress or negative emotions
  2. Interpersonal conflicts with family or others
  3. Failing to follow the directions of doctors and counselors
  4. Negative thinking (‘stinking thinking’)
  5. Low motivation to change
  6. Co-occurring mental health issues

Addicts, alcoholics and gamblers must learn to avoid people, places and situations that may trigger the craving associated with addiction. If such triggers are unavoidable, the individual must develop the skills to prevent the craving to take over their thinking. A good rehab teaches such skills during an adequate duration of stay in the treatment facility (‘Gold Standard is 90 days for residential treatment).

After Care at Hope Trust

At Hope Trust, lot of emphasis is laid on relapse. From education about relapse to learning the tools to avoid a relapse, to evolving individual strategies for preventing relapse, all clients are optimally prepared to keep sober.

“Aftercare is very important,” says Pooja, addiction therapist at Hope Trust. “It’s a continuing care that you really need to be involved if you are serious about maintaining your clean status. If you just leave the residential care and don’t get involved in support group meetings or don’t take up a sponsor as is recommended by the rehab, you are setting yourself up for a relapse”.

“Every client at Hope Trust is advised to come for a follow up with his or her counselor after discharge. This is important since the counselor is familiar the client’s unique relapse triggers and will offer support in dealing with challenges in ongoing recovery”, says Dr. Prasad, senior therapist at Hope Trust.

After discharge, clients are recommended to visit for a formal session with their counselor to address ongoing challenges in their personal journeys of recovery. For overseas clients, Skype sessions are scheduled. Moreover, they are provided 12 Step contacts in their areas so that they can integrate into a support community. They are also encouraged to keep contact with the centre and their primary counselor via email and social media (Facebook and twitter). Moreover, they are encouraged to come and share at Hope Trust’s in-house 12 Step meetings.