relapse prevention therapy in Princeton, NJ

Relapse Prevention Therapy Programs in Princeton, NJ: Staying on the Sober Track

When you look at the statistics, the numbers look grim. Studies show that more than 40-60% of people who attend treatment for substance use disorder relapse. However, relapse doesn’t have to happen for everyone, and with the right relapse prevention program, anyone can maintain their sobriety.

Addiction is considered a chronic and progressive disease. Just like how addiction doesn’t develop overnight, relapse typically doesn’t happen overnight either. Working toward a life of sobriety takes time, and in early recovery, having a firm relapse prevention plan in place can help you stay sober each and every day.

Relapse prevention therapy programs are an effective way to master the tools and coping skills you learned in rehab, identify potential triggers for relapse, and employ your techniques to cope. 

Defining Relapse

When most people enter recovery, their primary goal is to remain abstinent from drugs and alcohol. As a result, a relapse is defined as a return to using drugs or alcohol after a period of sobriety.

Some relapses are more severe than others. In some situations, people “slip up” and use drugs or alcohol one time before taking the necessary steps to get back on track. In other situations, people continue using substances for days, weeks, months, or even years.

No matter how long a relapse lasts or how severe it is, there are ways to get back on the road to recovery and prevent another relapse from occurring in the future.

How a Relapse Prevention Therapy Program Can Help

Relapse prevention programs in New Jersey aim to reduce the risk of relapse by facilitating therapy that educates individuals about relapse and how to prevent it. Relapse prevention is an essential aspect of addiction recovery and is a key component of every treatment plan.

Learn From Past Relapses

If you’ve relapsed before, a therapy program will help you evaluate your relapse. You’ll identify what caused it, what emotions and behaviors led up to it, and what you could have done differently. By learning from past relapses, you can be more prepared, and prevent another one from occurring.

Relapse prevention therapy sessions are often held in group formats. Group sessions allow you to get valuable feedback and insight from your peers. Additionally, if you haven’t relapsed, group therapy is a great opportunity to learn from the experiences of others.

Identify Triggers and Evaluate High-Risk Situations

Another component of relapse prevention is learning how to identify potential triggers and high-risk situations that may put your sobriety in jeopardy. Common triggers include:

  • Stress
  • Boredom
  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Loneliness
  • Relationship problems
  • Financial insecurity
  • Certain people or places
  • Family problems
  • Work issues

Spot the Warning Signs

Relapse typically happens in stages. First, people experience an emotional relapse, which involves experiencing emotional triggers that they aren’t able to cope with. Without intervention, an emotional relapse can turn into a mental relapse. This is the point where people begin thinking about or romanticizing the idea of drug or alcohol abuse. Finally, left untreated, a mental relapse can result in a physical relapse, which is when someone uses drugs or alcohol again.

In order to prevent escalating from one stage to the next, it’s important to be able to spot the warning signs of relapse. Potential warning signs include:

  • Increased cravings for drugs or alcohol
  • Returning to old habits or environments associated with substance use
  • Withdrawal from social support networks or treatment activities
  • Experiencing high levels of stress, anxiety, or depression
  • Minimizing the consequences of past substance use
  • Engaging in risky behaviors or exhibiting impulsive actions
  • Neglecting self-care or responsibilities
  • Preoccupation with thoughts of using drugs or alcohol
  • Sudden changes in mood or behavior
  • Loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed

Create a Relapse Prevention Plan

Before finishing treatment, clients work closely with their therapist to develop a relapse prevention plan. A successful relapse prevention plan contains the following.

  1. An assessment of your history with drugs and alcohol
  2. A list of triggers and high-risk situations
  3. An action plan that outlines what you’ll do instead of turning to drugs or alcohol

A complete relapse prevention plan includes healthy tools and support services that you can turn to at any phase of your recovery. It will also include “damage control” or a step-by-step plan for what to do if a relapse occurs.

Embrace Healthy Coping Skills

At The Living Room New Jersey, we’re committed to helping clients avoid addiction relapse by educating them on common coping strategies and relapse prevention techniques. Common coping skills include:

  • Mindfulness meditationMindfulness meditation allows you to pause before you act, promoting self-awareness and giving cravings time to pass.
  • Support groups – Having a strong sober support system is one of the best ways to avoid relapse. You may find it helpful to attend regular support group meetings.
  • Breathing exercises – Deep breathing helps calm the nervous system. It can help you cope with stressful situations or difficult emotions. This skill can be used anywhere at any time.
  • Self-care – Self-care involves eating nutritious meals, socializing with friends, getting plenty of sleep, and staying active. Doing each of these can promote better mental health and reduce the risk of relapse.

Our Relapse Prevention Program in New Jersey

At The Living Room at Princeton, we understand that preventing relapse is a critical component of sustained recovery. Our New Jersey substance abuse treatment programs have a focus on relapse prevention and are designed to equip individuals with the strategies and tools needed to maintain their progress and overcome challenges. Clients learn how to evaluate high-risk situations, use their relapse prevention techniques in daily life, and steer clear of drug and alcohol relapse.

If you or a family member need support while dealing with a relapse, our team is here to help. To learn more about our relapse prevention services or to speak with a team member about starting treatment, please contact us today.

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