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Relapse Prevention Program

Relapse prevention
Triggers of relapse
Stages of relapse

Relapse Prevention

After withdrawal from any drug or alcohol, the main goal is to prevent it from happening again, known as Relapse Prevention. Most people seek therapies or treatments to reduce the chances of relapse after trying hard to leave the addiction. Relapse is derived from the term “Lapse,” which is less harmful than relapses. In the lapse phase, the drug or alcohol addict slips into their old habits, but it is short-term and temporary.

Conversely, relapse is a total reversion to addiction and a failure to maintain sobriety. Preventing the lapse phase can reduce the chances of complete relapse. Everyone, especially young adults, tries to overcome addiction and wants to live a healthy, drug-free life. Still, certain factors like having drug or alcohol gatherings or no one to take care of them can increase the lapse chances that lead to heavy drug usage, i.e., relapse.

Triggers of Relapse

Many triggers can increase relapse possibilities. Personal growth and development are needed to achieve some addiction recovery milestones gradually. If the addicts are distracted by the possible stimuli of getting the total reversion, they might face a complete failure.


These triggers include:

  • Stress (any stressful situation about family or personal).

  • Boredom (not engaging in activities at home or outside).

  • Money (not having a sufficient amount or having financial problems).

  • Relationship (facing issues in maintaining healthy relationships).

  • Anger (feeling irritable or angry).

  • People or places (exposure to the places and people they used to hang out with as an addict).

  • Smells (experiencing the smells of the substance somewhere).

  • Old habits (engaging in the previous bad habits).

Stages of Relapse

It is crucial in relapse prevention to know about gradual recovery. This needs an understanding of the relapse at the early stages and knowledge about its triggers and settings. There are three stages of relapse prevention.

  • Emotional Phase

In this stage, the individuals do not think about retaking the drug, but they have a strong feeling bothering them about their last relapses. They isolate themselves and avoid meetings and gatherings, noticeable changes in sleeping and eating habits, and poor self-care.


  • Mental Phase

In this stage, they are fighting between their positive and negative thoughts. They think about using it again and not sticking to the rehab program. They may experience drug cravings, plan a relapse, and lie to themselves and others.


  • Physical Phase

In this stage, they start using drugs or alcohol again by taking it one time. They move from lapse (taking it once) to relapse (uncontrolled use). The emotional and mental relapse stages lead to physical deterioration and complete failure.

Medically Reviewed:


Rolling Hills Recovery Center

Expert Contributor

Dr. Williams presently serves on the board of Directors for two non-profit service organizations. He holds a Master’s degree in Human Services from Lincoln University, Philadelphia, Pa, and a Ph.D. with a concentration in Clinical Psychology from Union Institute and University. In Cincinnati, Ohio. He is licensed to practice addictions counseling in both New Jersey and Connecticut and has a pending application as a practicing Psychologist in New Jersey.

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Relapse Prevention Techniques

Relapse prevention techniques
  • Will insurance cover drug and alcohol rehab?
    Private insurance is the most common and effective payment method for addiction treatment. It can pay for a significant number, if not all, of your rehabilitation appointments. Thanks to the efforts by private lobbyists and the government, rehabilitation for drug and alcohol addiction is now a mandatory benefit under insurance after the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
  • Paying for addiction treatment
    Ways to Pay for Addiction Treatment Here are the five points for financing that might be helpful for your treatment: ​ 1. Insurance 2. Self-Pay or Payment plan 3. Loan or second mortgage 4. Funding or Scholarships 5. Family Insurance ​ If a person has some benefits, they can use them for treatment and take advantage of insurance. If you use health insurance providers so that you can recover yourself from addiction because they collect payment regularly or they have scheduled their income as well. Self-Pay ​ The second method is self-pay, and in this method, you can pay for treatment in lump sums or months and create a payment plan so that you can pay weekly, monthly, or whatever you choose the way to treat. Loan ​ The third method to pay is a loan. You can take a loan or a second mortgage from those homeowners. Funding or Scholarships ​ If you do some research, then you can find a lot of funding or scholarships for you that are available to you there. Family The last method to pay is family. Your family can help you financially with your treatment. There are many options available for you as a key for financial assistance so that you can choose one of these methods for addiction treatment.
  • Will I lose my job if I go to rehab?
    Employees who get treatment for addiction while still at work are protected by the ADA and other laws like the MHPAEA, the ACA, and the Family Medical Leave Act, which all work together to make them eligible to return to work after the treatment.
  • How much does addiction treatment cost?
    Depending on your needs, treatment options for addiction vary from extensive medical detox to inpatient (or residential) care plans to less intensive outpatient ones. If your addiction is chronic or you are also grappling with a dual diagnosis, then long-term care at a residential facility is often the best option; but it is more costly. It's even more expensive when your situation necessitates the consultation of many specialists and the administration of costly drugs.
  • When is it time to go to rehab?
    Many believe that a person does not need to go to rehab, even if they struggle with the most severe addiction withdrawal symptoms. Still, studies show that last year almost 100,000 people died in the United States due to substance use disorder or overdoses. As 22 million people are suffering from addiction to either drugs or alcohol, there is a need to talk about this subject more casually. Many people don’t go to rehab because they feel ashamed of being addicted. There is a need to make them realize that no one can judge them if they see any symptoms; they should decide to visit a rehab as soon as possible.

Relapse prevention is a mixture that involves setting boundaries, short and long-term goals, and consistency. Many recoveries and relapse prevention facilities use these techniques to achieve sobriety and prevent the chances of uncontrolled usage of drugs or alcohol. The following relapse prevention skills can only be used if the person is fully motivated and desires to live a healthy drug or alcohol-free life.

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Ask for Help

Ask for help

Most people start recovery by trying to do it on their own. They want to prove that they control their addiction and are not as unhealthy as people think. Many groups are working on addiction recovery and striving to maintain sobriety. Joining a self-help group has significantly increased the chances of long-term recovery. If you have thoughts of using drugs or alcohol again, maybe you are experiencing a lapse phase. Don’t ignore these signs and ask for professional help as soon as possible to prevent the physical stage of relapse.


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