Fortunately, the longer the period of sobriety, the lower the potential for relapse.
In fact, SUD relapse and relapse prevention can be viewed similarly to recurrences and prevention of other chronic diseases. For example, if a cancer survivor stops following their medical treatment plan, they have a decreased chance of staying in remission. However, the lengthier the period of remission, the more likely the cancer is to stay in remission. The same is true of a relapse prevention plan.
After two years of sobriety, patients have a solid 60% chance of staying sober indefinitely. After five years, the risk drops to just a 15% chance of relapse.
The brain has an incredible ability to heal over time—just as it adapted to the presence of substances, it will adapt to the absence of them. In fact, the brain begins to heal as soon as exposure to substances is eliminated. Therefore, building lasting recovery is a crucial component of the healing process.
Relapsing is common and should not be viewed as a failure in recovery. Instead, it can be a useful part of the recovery process in that it helps you identify significant triggers that you weren’t otherwise aware of. Unfortunately, relapse can also be deadly.
As described above, the brain and the body begin to heal almost immediately when substance intake stops. Thus, sometimes incredibly high tolerance levels slowly begin to return to normal. When someone in recovery relapses and uses the same amount of their chosen substance they used when tolerance was at a peak level, it’s then too much for their system to handle.
This can often result in an overdose. Worse, because relapse tends to happen in private, there’s no one there to seek medical help.
Since 1999, almost one million people have died of a drug overdose. In 2020, the number increased by nearly 30%, thanks to the emergence of fentanyl. For this reason, a relapse prevention plan for substance abuse has become a critical component of treatment.
The basis of a successful relapse prevention plan lies in cognitive-behavioral therapy tools. With these tools, you can focus on retraining the brain by altering the negative thinking patterns that can lead to relapse. You’ll practice and use the skills you learn in relapse prevention to develop healthier coping mechanisms, better communication skills, and improved stress management skills.
By providing education about potential triggers for relapse, such as boredom, social pressure, or events unique to your personality, we make it easier to recognize these potentially threatening situations. When they occur, you can respond in the positive manner you learned through practicing relapse prevention strategies. Through the enduring practice of this type of proactive approach, you can reduce your risk of a return to substance abuse until these tools become innate.
At Stairway Resource Center, we help people find lasting recovery with research-backed relapse prevention strategies. The most prominent is Relapse Prevention for Recovery, an evidence-based approach for people in recovery from substance use and other behavioral disorders designed to help maintain sobriety and avoid relapse.
We’ll help equip you with tools that can help you identify warning signs and potential triggers of relapse early on. When used during the preliminary signs of relapse, these behavioral strategies and techniques can help you maintain or control your emotions and harness your actions.
At Stairway Resource Center, developing a relapse prevention plan helps you maintain recovery from substance use disorders.
It teaches you to achieve success in long-term recovery by equipping you with the skills you need to better understand yourself and identify potential risks of relapse before they occur.
After you’ve learned to recognize these triggers, you have the know-how to take preemptive steps and initiate the behaviors, thoughts, and situations that help you avoid relapse.
These techniques are further strengthened when a relapse prevention plan and an effective support network are in place. Also important is a commitment to living a healthy lifestyle and improving overall wellness for both the mind and the body. When all conditions are met, you are in the best position possible to stay sober.
This harmonious balance optimizes your chances of success and significantly reduces the odds of relapse.
Relapse prevention is an incredibly vital component of what we do here at Stairway Resource Center.
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Stairway Resource Center is dedicated to providing an aftercare plan that can help you locate healthcare providers, identify potential support groups, establish a physical fitness routine, locate community resources, find online and print resources, and access official aftercare services. If you or someone you care about requires relapse prevention, call Stairway Resource Center today and learn more about our Community Support and Sober Living services.