Maintenance and Relapse Prevention

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Maintenance and relapse prevention are the most important factors in succeeding after treatment or abstinence from any substance are achevied. Many components attribute to maintenance and unfortunately once treatment is completed and the client returns to everyday life the true challenges present themselves. Client while in treatment is very well connected with others who are battling and overcoming addiction; as well as professionals training to deal with the tools Client needs to overcome the addiction. However the opposite exist when Client returns to his surroundings. Most often the triggers that lead to relapse are nestled into the Client’s surrounding making maintenances a difficult challenge.

Relapse is defined as the consumption of drugs after being clean for a period of time. Relapse is falling back into a pattern of behavior that is unhealthy for an individual. Being clean is the term used for abstinence from drug and alcohol. In a 12 month period relapse occurs to over 90% of clients. Same is true of 90% of alcoholics within 4 years of practicing abstinence. The number is lower within three months of clean time following treatment, some 60% relapse. It seems surprising that following treatment the rate is lower, yet the time frame of treatment and the type of treatment are not clearly defined. It takes a person an average of 6 to 7 tries at recovery before abstinence is attained.

Being mindful that the term relapse can be used in different variations depending on the type of treatment or group a client is in. If the group or treatment’s philosophy is aimed at abstinence then the tolerance for any use of substance is unacceptable. This is true of AA (Alcoholics Anonymous.) In groups where the modality is harm reduction is the one drink can be acceptable.

High Risk Situations are detrimental to a person in recovery. The text Foundation of Addiction Counseling identifies three HRS that are...
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