Menu Close

What Is Relapse Prevention Therapy?

Person wondering, "What is relapse prevention therapy?"

Addiction is a complex disease, and relapse is often an expected part of recovery. A relapse prevention therapy program is a critical part of overall addiction treatment. While creating a relapse prevention plan does not guarantee that you will not experience a relapse at some point in your recovery, it can help you be better prepared.

Regarding substance use disorders (SUD), relapse refers to a return to addictive behavior following a period of sobriety. A mental health relapse is the return of prominent symptoms associated with mental health conditions that interfere with daily functioning. SUD and mental health disorders do not happen overnight, nor does a relapse. Instead, it occurs in phases.

Ashwood Recovery recognizes the importance of relapse prevention therapy for long-term recovery. Contact Ashwood Recovery at 888.341.3607 to discover how our program can enhance your treatment and recovery.

What Is Relapse Prevention Therapy?

The meaning of relapse prevention is obvious. Relapse prevention therapy (RPT) is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) that focuses on helping individuals who have struggled with addictive behaviors maintain their recovery and prevent relapse. It is commonly used in treating substance use disorders (SUD) such as alcohol or drug addiction. Still, it can also be applied to other addictive behaviors, like gambling or compulsive eating. RTP should also be a part of mental health treatment.

In relapse prevention therapy, you will learn about the acronym BHALT:

  • Bored
  • Hungry
  • Angry
  • Lonely
  • Tired

These are the most common feelings that serve as relapse triggers. Relapse prevention therapy will teach you how to be observant of these feelings and have a plan for coping with them when they arise.

Understanding the Phases of Relapse and the Meaning of Relapse Prevention

Relapse does not occur suddenly but is a progression of events that involve three distinct phases:

  • Emotional relapse – The first stage, emotional relapse, is the hardest to recognize. Patients are not yet thinking about using drugs or alcohol but are starting to engage in behaviors that might lead to relapse. They are likely not relying on the coping mechanisms they learned in treatment. They might begin isolating, breaking away from support groups, and struggling to acknowledge or share their feelings.
  • Mental relapse – During this phase, patients start thinking about the “good times” they had while using without remembering the adverse effects. They might find themselves reaching out to old friends or returning to familiar places where they used to engage in addictive behaviors. They have cravings and fantasize about using again.
  • Physical relapse – The final stage, where patients have actively used drugs or alcohol. No matter the quantity of use, they must return to a treatment program to re-establish their sobriety.

Relapse can occur at any time, but it is more likely within the first few months of recovery, which is why the 12-step model encourages 90 meetings in 90 days following a treatment program. Relapse often occurs when patients feel safe and start abandoning their recovery practices. Keeping in touch with a relapse prevention plan can help patients stay alert to the warning signs of relapse.

Who Needs Relapse Prevention Therapy?

Ashwood Recovery provides patients with the tools needed to maintain a lifetime of recovery, including a relapse prevention plan. Life is unpredictable, so relying on your relapse prevention plan can help you through difficult times. In addition to relapse prevention therapy (RPT), we offer:

  • Dual diagnosis treatment
  • Medical intervention
  • One-on-one counseling
  • Family therapy
  • Trauma resolution therapy
  • Group therapy
  • 12-step programs

There is no denying that relapse is relatively common, especially within the first year of sobriety. Relapse rates vary according to factors like drug of choice, stage of disease, and co-occurring conditions. Research indicates that relapse rates across all SUD are between 40% to 60%, with opioids and alcohol having the highest relapse rates.

Learn About What Relapse Prevention Therapy Is at Ashwood Recovery

While patients cannot prevent regular day-to-day stressors, they can develop healthy coping mechanisms that can stop them from turning to their substance of choice during times of stress. Contact Ashwood Recovery today to learn more about relapse prevention therapy. Use our secure online form or call 888.341.3607.