Relapse prevention is a core element of most addiction treatments at high-quality addiction rehab centers like Serenity Oaks Wellness Center, but addiction triggers can be powerful. A person can’t simply effectively manage their addiction triggers sometimes; they have to manage them every single time in order to prevent relapse. Individuals who also have a dual diagnosis (the presence of both a substance abuse disorder and a mental illness) may face additional triggers to drink or abuse drugs that are associated with their mental health symptoms. While the risk for relapsing is particularly high in the first year after treatment, people can keep their addiction recovery process on track, avoid triggers, and maintain their relapse prevention plan.
How Common Is Relapse After Treatment?
The relapse rate differs from one substance to another. Methamphetamine relapse is particularly high. More than 93% of people who are addicted to meth experience a relapse. The relapse rate associated with alcohol addiction and opioid addiction are also high–more than 85% of people will relapse even after alcohol or drug addiction treatment. High relapse rates don’t indicate that relapse is inevitable or that addiction treatment doesn’t work. On the contrary, someone who relapses requires more treatment just as a person who relapses with another type of health condition or illness (i.e. cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and others).
What Triggers a Relapse?
There are many common relapse triggers associated with substance use disorders. Common internal triggers and external triggers include:
1. Negative emotions (i.e. sadness, loneliness, anger, guilt)
2. Mental stress (i.e. stress associated with romantic relationships, job, daily life)
3. Mental health disorders (symptoms of depression anxiety can be common triggers)
4. Physical Illness (experiencing pain, reduced mobility, or other related symptoms can be an addiction relapse trigger)
5. Social isolation (being unable to connect with a trusted friend or loved ones)
6. Being around family and friends who drink or abuse drugs
7. Highrisk situation (attending a venue where drinking or drug use occur)
How to Avoid Common Relapse Triggers
While learning how to avoid common triggers of relapse like stressful situations is a great idea, knowing how to cope with triggers is crucial for preventing relapse. First, it’s important to identify triggers in recovery. During addiction therapy, you should spend time identifying what has typically led you to abuse drugs and alcohol. When you know your triggers, you can develop a coping method for each with the help of your recovery center therapists. During your addiction treatment program at Serenity Oaks, you can develop coping skills to manage your specific triggers and prevent relapse.
Recognizing the Early Warning Signs of a Relapse
Among the best tips for avoiding common relapse triggers is knowing about the stages of relapse. There are three stages of relapse: emotional relapse, mental relapse, and physical relapse. During alcohol or drug addiction recovery treatment at Serenity Oaks, you will learn about each stage of relapse. Emotional relapse occurs when you experience negative emotions and struggle to cope with them. If these challenging emotions persist, they can pave the way to the next phase of relapse–the mental relapse phase.
During mental relapse, individuals may fantasize about alcohol or drug use. They may knowingly visit a highrisk situation where drug abusers are known to be like a bar or party. Signs of mental relapse often include returning to places where people are drinking or using drugs. Physical relapse is the final stage. This occurs when the individual uses a drug or alcohol.
What to Do If You or a Loved One Relapses
Addiction relapse can be disheartening for an individual in recovery, but it doesn’t have to derail your addiction recovery goals. Preventing relapse can be challenging, which is why continuing care such as outpatient treatment, ongoing individual therapy, management of an underlying mental disorder, attendance at recovery meetings, and avoidance of common triggers are important. Serenity Oaks can help you get your recovery and sober life back on track if you experience an addiction relapse. Contact us at (833) 720-0708 to learn more about our treatment methods, recovery programs, and admissions process.