Relapse Prevention can best be described as a method used to teach and educate those people recovering from drug addiction, alcoholism, and dual diagnosis to cope more effectively with the stressors or triggers in their environment. Thus, relapse prevention provides new strategies for the recovering addicted member of the LGBT community to effectively deal with the vast array of addictions, disorders, behaviors, and thoughts that in the past have combined to create feelings of shame, internalized homophobia, depression, hopelessness, and helplessness resulting in a return to drug addiction, substance abuse, or alcoholism.
Drug addiction and alcoholism are diseases of the brain that, when not treated effectively, are characterized by relapse. Thus, relapse prevention is an integral part of the addiction treatment program for the LGBT community. To understand the basics behind relapse prevention, you must first understand relapse itself. In healthcare, relapse is best described as a regression in one’s medical or psychiatric condition after a period of recovery from a particular illness. In the world of drug addiction treatment or alcoholism treatment, relapse is defined as one returning to a specific behavior after a period of abstinence from that behavior. That would include alcohol abuse or drug use in the case of the addict or other behaviors in the case of the person with an eating disorder, sex addiction, or gambling addiction.
Research has demonstrated that relapse occurs due to many contributing factors. After proper education and training, you can identify significant warning signs that an individual may be at risk of returning to self-destructive patterns caused by addiction.
There is one fact pertaining to relapse that stands out above all others, i.e., relapse doesn’t come suddenly or without warning. It is a process that takes place over time. Speak with an addict who has experienced a relapse. In almost every case, it began with the thought process, which was followed by behaviors to support that thought and resulted in the person discontinuing recovery-related activities ending up in another bout with drug addiction or alcoholism.
There are basic principles to follow if you are to reduce the possibility of relapse:
You must be stabilized medically and psychiatrically. With drug addiction, dual diagnosis, and alcoholism, this generally takes place in a detox program. You need to be provided with the opportunity to detox in alcohol or drug rehab, being capable of managing the symptoms associated with withdrawal. From there, you need time to recuperate from the depression, anxiety, and stress you have been experiencing during your years of addiction.
Once detox is completed, establish a daily routine. You will find this by transitioning from detox to drug rehab treatment program. You need to find this routine by finding employment, attending self-help groups, exercising regularly, and establishing a healthy diet. Also, maintain a relationship with your primary drug addiction treatment provider.
Since addiction is a chronic disease of the brain, the possibility of relapse exists, and it is influenced by social, environmental, psychological, and medical factors. Thus, incorporating a relapse prevention plan is a significant part of addiction treatment.