Relapse prevention therapy helps addicts anticipate possible relapse and cope with relapse if it occurs, explains the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices. Recovering addicts learn how to identify high risk situations that could cause a relapse, how to stay engaged with treatment during relapse and how to limit the damage caused by a relapse before a relapse occurs.
In this type of cognitive behavioral therapy, patients learn about feelings that often trigger a relapse, such as hunger, loneliness, anger, boredom and tiredness, notes Aroostook Mental Health Center. They learn how to identify these feelings in themselves and develop a plan for addressing these feelings without using their previous coping methods that led to substance abuse. Patients also use a similar technique to identify environmental triggers and to learn how to address them.
Rather than identifying a relapse as a complete failure, recovering addicts learn to think of relapses a temporary slips or lapses, states Aroostook Mental Health Center. This terminology allows them to put a relapses into perspective and avoid labeling any lapses as evidence of their inability to stay sober. Instead, patients can view any lapses as part of the natural process of mastering how to permanently change ingrained habits, according to the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices.
Relapse prevention therapy also helps patients create a balanced lifestyle to prevent substance abuse, reports the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices. Depending on their preference, recovering addicts use exercise, religious practices or meditation to increase their ability to successful address challenges.