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Avoiding Relapse

Treatment includes a three-pronged approach to avoid relapse.We target any underlying factors that have contributed to a patient’s addiction.

Individual therapy – we target any underlying factors that have contributed to a patient’s addiction, making sure that relevant issues from their past and present are addressed in therapy.

Group therapy – specific relapse prevention groups maximise insight into addiction and identify triggers that could cause patients to relapse.

Personalised aftercare plans – include pathways after treatment to sustain recovery.

How to Help Prevent Relapse

Drinking, drug use and other addictive behaviours can be reignited by many factors and it is important to prepare patients for life after residential rehab so they can deal with challenges when they arise. Through the 12 Step programme our expert team of doctors, therapists and nurses equip patients with the skills to:

  • Accept alcohol and drug addiction as a disease – addiction is a chronic illness and you cannot control the amount of drink or drugs you use.
  • Be vigilant for signs of cravings – learn coping skills.
  • Rebuild self-esteem – learn to feel good without using alcohol or drugs.
  • Overcome negativity – deal with guilt, shame, anger, anxiety and depression through therapy.
  • Be honest and open –  hiding feelings and making excuses to justify drinking or taking drugs prevents recovery.
  • Eliminate denial – denial is an elaborate mental system that focuses on the immediate positive effects of drink or drug use and ignores the long-term negative effects of addiction.
  • Avoid isolation – through attending AA/NA meetings.
  • Avoid risky situations – be aware of places, people and situations that increase the temptation to drink or take drugs.
  • Learn about cross-addiction – an initial trigger to relapse is often the use of a ‘safe’, prescribed drug that can reactivate the addiction cycle, e.g. prescribed tranquillisers or sleeping tablets.
  • Get through long-term withdrawal – for some patients, withdrawal from certain drugs (e.g. benzodiazepines) can be a long process, sometimes as long as a year for the brain to return to normal physiological functioning.

Breaking The Cycle

Achieving and maintaining recovery requires continuous effort, during and after treatment. Heavy drinking and drug use changes the functioning of the brain. Addicts’ brains become re-programmed and using drink or drugs becomes compulsive and involuntary. This leads to deeply ingrained negative patterns of behaviour and attitudes that can lead to relapse after treatment. We at Smarmore Castle seek to change these patterns and break the cycle.

Last updated & clinically assessed 16 April, 2020