By: Ava
May 21, 2020

The Importance of Relapse Prevention Therapy

Table of Contents

Relapse prevention in addiction recovery is not only possible but is fundamental for effective addiction treatment and recovery. While many people focus on relapse when a person is undergoing treatment, it is crucial to understand that relapse prevention is a long term process. If you or a loved have just completed addiction treatment and are in your aftercare stage, you may want to learn and understand what relapse prevention therapy is. 

A relapse prevention therapy specifically targets newly sober people by providing them with the knowledge and lessons required to boost self-confidence and generally live without fear of a relapse. However, in order to understand the importance of relapse prevention and how to go about it, we need to first focus on the various stages of relapse, and how we can identify them.

Relapse in Addiction Recovery

When you began your substance abuse journey, you were slowly intoxicating your brain and body with drugs or alcohol. Whether this happened for a month or years, your body and mind were already accustomed to these substances. You may have undergone a detox process that involves flushing out the toxic drugs when you decided to get sober and began your addiction treatment plan. However, essential parts of your brain like memory and reward may have been greatly affected and can take years to heal completely, which is why relapse is sometimes a part of someone’s recovery journey.

Relapsing can be particularly dangerous because after detox, and the elimination of drugs in the body, your tolerance for drugs and alcohol decreases. If you relapse you might take the amount of drugs you would take before sobriety. Since the body is no longer able to handle the substances, you have a greater chance of suffering from an overdose.  

What Is Relapse Prevention Therapy? 

Relapse prevention therapy (RPT) is a type of cognitive-behavioral plan that aims to prevent or limit relapse. RPT helps the recovering addict to anticipate situations that can trigger a relapse. It also arms them with techniques and strategies to cope with such circumstances in advance. There are five main feelings all people experience that can make us feel uncomfortable and potentially trigger a relapse; hungry, angry, lonely, tired (also known as HALT). During RPT, recovering addicts are taught to process these common feelings without using drugs or alcohol. 

RPT also focuses on building self-awareness and self-esteem. It teaches recovering addicts to love themselves, accept themselves, and avoid being too hard on themselves. It also teaches them that if they do end up relapsing, it’s OK. Just because someone relapses doesn’t mean long term sobriety isn’t achievable. RPT seeks to prevent misunderstanding and misinterpretation by presenting relapses as prolapse. In simple terms, relapses are interpreted as new opportunities for improving and learning new coping skills. 


How Relapse Prevention Therapy Works

Relapse prevention therapy uses several approaches to help recovery addictions avoid or deal with relapse. The most common include:

Coping skills

A large part of relapse prevention therapy is teaching recovering addicts how to cope with relapse, if it happens, and how to cope with uncomfortable feelings in general. Here, you will learn some of the common triggers such as feelings, thoughts, people, places, and memories. If you can identify a possible trigger, you are in a better position to process these feelings, instead of turning to drugs or alcohol. 

Clinical therapy

Clinical therapy is an incredible way to improve relapse prevention. Talk therapy encourages growth in an individual. It also teaches recovering addicts that feelings are just feelings, and they’ll always pass. Talking about things, instead of letting them bottle up inside, help prevent relapse. 

Lifestyle change

During RPT, making lifestyle changes is encouraged. If you lived with someone before treatment who is addicted to drugs, you should find a new roommate. If you have a job that you don’t like, it’s time to get a new job. Making positive changes will make you happier and ultimately less likely to relapse.  

Let Us Help With Relapse Prevention Therapy

If you are looking for addiction treatment in or around Los Angeles, California, Multi-Concept Recovery is here to help. We offer customized treatment plans, including relapse prevention therapy to individuals dealing with alcohol, drug abuse, and addiction. We’re experts in the substance abuse and addiction industry and will tailor our specialized treatment plans to meet your personal needs. We’ll also arm you with the tools you need to prevent a relapse and overcome substance abuse. Feel free to contact us and learn more about our services!