Relapse Prevention

Relapse Prevention

Drug addiction is a deadly disease that, when left untreated, can ultimately prove to be uncomfortable, dangerous, and even fatal. To properly treat an addiction, simply “not taking it anymore” isn’t quite enough, and medically-supervised treatment is by far the safest way to handle recovery. By ensuring the comfort and happiness of a patient, treatment centers offer an addict the resources they need to achieve and maintain sobriety.

Helpful Links

Commonly overlooked in treatment, relapse prevention is essential in making sure that a patient stays sober. Failing within the first months of recovery, anywhere between 40 and 60 percent of addicts in treatment end up relapsing. Even after treatment, it is important to be on your toes in making sure that relapse is avoided at all costs.

By practicing relapse prevention, recovering addicts will enforce positive coping skills that they can apply to their everyday life after treatment. Relapse prevention aids in battling the chances of future developments of addiction and is essential throughout and after recovery. Addiction treatment is not easy, and different people have different cases that may vary in the chance of relapse. In engaging in treatment at a professional center, the risk of relapse is significantly lowered.

Knowing the proper information about relapse and relapse prevention before it happens can be essential while you engage in drug treatment and can easily be the difference between recovery and relapse.

Stages of Relapse

Since relapse is a process and not an event, it makes sense that there are certain warning signs that act as signs of a relapse. Relapse occurs in three stages: emotional, mental, and physical. As the relapse process progresses, it gets more challenging to stop the relapse from gaining momentum and ultimately reaching the physical act of using.


It’s important to understand and recognize the signs associated with each individual stage of relapse in order to implement relapse prevention technique:

Ready to get help?Let's get started now

Let our treatment experts call you today.

Emotional relapse is the first stage of relapse, and while it is commonly viewed as “less intense,” an emotional relapse can be the most difficult and uncomfortable stage. In the emotional stage, many victims will not be aware of the fact that they are at high-risk of relapse. In emotional relapse, an addict/someone going through treatment is not worried about relapsing and thus does not practice vigilant relapse prevention.

Although it can be severe and difficult to manage, emotional relapse is commonly known to be the easiest stage to recover from. Cognitive behavioral therapy is excellent at targeting the emotional connections between a trigger and the positive or negative connotation that an addict associates that trigger with. In recovery, it is an important step in relapse prevention to ensure that you monitor your emotions very closely, as ignoring them can lead to emotional relapse.

Mental relapse is the second stage of relapse, and (as the step up from an emotional relapse) the victim will transfer from having subliminal thoughts of using to actively and intentionally thinking of using again. Though it is common to have cravings during treatment, mental relapse differs from those minor thoughts. It consists of a victim’s brain to be consistently entertaining and thinking about using again.  

Craving and fantasizing about drugs may cause someone going through treatment to engage in high-risk activities. Skipping therapy sessions and meetings, planning on how you can obtain and use again, and other scheme-like activities are a part of mental relapse, and it is much more challenging to recover from mental relapse than it is emotional. However, if detected early enough, it can be put down and a victim can still get back on the right track.

Physically relapsing is the final stage of relapse, and the name is relatively self-explanatory. Physical relapse refers to the final action of using after a long period of abstinence, commonly leading to the development of addiction again. Once a user physically relapses, the effects are irreversible and relapse has occurred.

Though relapse has already happened, it is always important to keep in mind that it is not the end of the line for the patient. On the contrary, relapse can aid in a patient’s recovery by determining the exact reason for their addiction to begin with. If dealt with early enough if the treatment process, relapse can be avoided in future treatment by practicing relapse prevention techniques and practices.

Are you or someone you love currently struggling with drug or alcohol addiction? If so, Ocean Breeze Recovery is ready to help you. Our professional medical experts are on standby to provide you the 24-7 support you need to start taking back your life of sobriety, free from the weight of addiction. Our admission specialists are always on standby and ready to answer any questions you may have regarding any part of treatment. Call us today at 844.554.9279 and let us help you take back what is rightfully yours; the right to a sober life.