The 3 Stages Of Relapse
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The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that the relapse rate for drug addiction is 40 to 60 percent. Although it appears to come on suddenly, relapse happens gradually.
Maybe weeks or months before you actually physically relapse. The time frame before your physical relapse gives you the opportunity to do something.
The goal is to not get to stage 3, because it is harder to prevent relapse.
One minute you are fine, the next minute you are using. You do not know how you got there. But if you analyze the past weeks, you will see your relapse is not a single moment in time, but came upon you in stages. To prevent relapse you have to recognize the early warning signs, and learn coping skills to deal with the warnings.
The 3 stages
The stages of relapse were first described in 1986 by Terence T. Gorski in Staying Sober: A Guide for Relapse Prevention.
The stages of relapse are emotional, mental and physical.
In emotional relapse you are NOT thinking of relapsing but unfortunately your emotions and behaviors are leading you to relapse. In mental relapse you are thinking about using, but part of you does not want to relapse and you are fighting it. Physical relapse is actually taking steps to use again. It is hard to stop the relapse at this stage.
If you recognize the early warning signs of relapse on stages emotional or mental, you can better prevent relapse.
According to Mike Adams a licensed social worker with more than 35 years of experience as a clinician and administrator of addiction and mental health programs. “Relapse is part of the reality of treating a chronic disease like addiction. Education in relapse prevention is an integral part of treatment of the client and family. The goals of relapse prevention is to educate the client and family to both the client specific and universal signs of an impending relapse. It is critical to educate the client and family on how to mitigate a relapse and reach out for additional assistance to get back on track. It is, also, important for the client and family to process and learn from the relapse.”
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