How to Prevent Relapse

According to SAMHSA, “Recovery is characterized by continual growth and improvement in one’s health and wellness that may involve setbacks.” Unfortunately, relapse is a type of setback that many individuals experience during their recovery from drug addiction. “Because setbacks are a natural part of life, resilience becomes a key component of recovery,” which both prevents and helps an individual through the issue of relapse.

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Attending Treatment

Although there is no guarantee that an individual can prevent relapse at every turn, it is still important to receive the tools presented by addiction treatment, as they truly can be beneficial to one’s overall recovery.

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According to the NIDA, “Most people who get into and remain in treatment stop using drugs, decrease their criminal activity, and improve their occupational, social, and psychological functioning.” Treatment provides many tools to help individuals prevent the possibility of relapse, including:

Once an individual has successfully completed a treatment program, however, this does not mean they have done everything they possibly can to prevent relapse.

Building a Strong Social Network

How to Prevent Relapse

Spend time with people who support your sobriety.

Making sure to reach out to supportive friends and family members during recovery is one of the most important things an individual can do to help prevent the possibility of relapse. According to the NIAAA, “Social pressure, including both direct verbal or nonverbal persuasion and indirect pressure (e.g., being around other people who are drinking), contributed to more than 20 percent of relapse episodes in Marlatt’s (1996) study.” This same issue can affect drug-addicted individuals as well.

Those who understand the importance of what an individual is going through when they decide to seek treatment and recover from substance abuse can be a wonderful help in preventing relapse and other setbacks both large and small. Because the individual is being supported in their endeavor and their decisions are being reinforced by sympathetic friends and family members, they will often be less likely to relapse. In addition, those who experience depression and other issues associated with recovery and drug withdrawal can often reach out to these individuals instead of returning to the harmful substance.

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Attending Aftercare Programs

Treatment facilities will often help set up an aftercare program for an individual who has finished their treatment, but it is important that the person attends this supplemental program after treatment has ended. Some programs of this type may include:

  • Sober living homes
  • Halfway houses
  • Support groups/12-step groups
  • Individualized drug counseling

Depending on the individual and their specific needs, certain types of aftercare programs may be more beneficial than others. However, it is important for someone leaving treatment to remember that the possibility of relapse is the strongest during early recovery. Attending one of these programs will help recovering addicts continue to practice the skills they learned in treatment and to remind them that they still may need help from time to time, no matter what stage of recovery they are in currently.

the Take-Away

When people overcome addiction, it is possible for them to relapse and start using drugs again. People can recover from relapse, and often do, but it is a dangerous thing that should be prevented.