In treatment for addiction, a relapse is a situation where addictive behavior, once in remission or retreat, reappears with renewed vigor. Through our programs for relapse prevention in The Woodlands, we tell our patients that once an addictive condition forms, it is natural for it to persist. It is the aim of rehab to train addicts in the skills needed to keep forces of relapse under control. It requires ongoing management. With current scientific understanding of addictions, therapy in the form of relapse prevention treatment programs in the Woodlands is the most effective way to do this.
The pleasure or reward center is the region of the brain that is responsible for positive feelings such as joy, love or contentment. It is the responsibility of the pleasure center not only to produce feelings of pleasure, but also form deep connections to the activities that set it off. When an addict uses an addictive substance, the euphoria or pleasure that it produces comes through its effect on the pleasure center. Since the center also learns the connection to activities that cause pleasure, the result is a very deep psychological attachment to the drug that has caused the pleasure. Addictive behavior keeps coming back in relapse simply because the brain has a permanent psychological connection to addictive behavior that is impossible to break.
Such psychological addiction cannot be treated or cured with medications and detox. Psychological skills and treatment are the only hope. This is what relapse prevention offers.
In simple language, relapse prevention therapy is a set of different psychological training approaches. Their aim is to help addicts come by the level of self-knowledge, self-control, motivation and moral resilience needed to recognize and fight relapse.
Drug relapse prevention therapy starts with drug detox in the Woodlands but begins in earnest the day detox completes. Therapists work with the patient, determine the areas in which they may have psychological difficulties asserting control, and offer therapy to help shore up those areas.
A thorough education: The fight against relapse of addictive behavior can be that much harder when the addict doesn't understand what brings it on and makes it worse. Helping each patient get up to speed on the latest in addiction science can offer great strength in the fight. The patient is able to visualize each step of the way what he should and shouldn't do to help fight relapse.
As an example, when relapses occur, they do not appear overnight. They gradually build up over a week or longer, crossing several specific steps. There is the emotional relapse stage that includes a general mood instability, for example, followed by the mental relapse stage that includes active fantasizing. An addict who is aware of these stages can recognize them better and engage in therapy to help fight the building of relapse.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy: Cognitive-behavioral therapy is the primary defense deployed against relapse. It is used in multiple ways, and against a variety of challenges.
Trigger management is one of these methods. Research indicates that relapses follow a specific pattern. After detox, the recovering addict enjoys a period of calm when he experiences excellent self-restraint. After weeks of such easy abstinence, the addict enters a period of excessive confidence. At this time, a situation usually arrives that challenges his resolve. Caught with his guard down, the addict succumbs and slips into active use.
Research has indicated that in three out of four instances of relapse, the situation that challenges the addict's resolve is one of the following: relationship problems, social pressure or emotional stress.
These are triggers. If the addict has psychological training to anticipate and resist these specific challenges, he enjoys a 75% chance of remaining relapse free. In CBT, then, therapists work to help patients with trigger management in these specific areas. Patients learn ways to avoid these triggers altogether by avoiding relationship problems and old, drug using friends who tempt them in stressful situations. Each recovering addict is also provided with a mentor to call anytime they may feel their resolve slip.
CBT is applied in a number of other ways as well. When a therapist finds that a patient is troubled by poor focus, negative thought patterns or a tendency to excessive guilt, these can be helped. The more emotionally stable an addict is, the greater his self-control.
A variety of other therapeutic approaches exist, as well. In our program for relapse prevention in the Woodlands, for example, we offer moral reconation therapy to help patients who have trouble finding their internal moral compass, and motivational interviewing to help patients who need to get in touch with a source of internal motivation to get better. Alternative therapy such as art therapy can help in certain situations where patients need a way to emotionally express themselves in their search for greater emotional stability.
While each one of these therapeutic approaches is effective, it's important to find a therapist who is a good emotional and temperamental support to the patient. If you would like to speak to some of the best addiction relapse prevention therapists in this region, we would like you to call us to learn more about our programs for relapse prevention in the Woodlands at (713) 292-1193.