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Relapse Prevention in Georgia

Relapse prevention in Georgia is an important part of the addiction recovery process. Learning to spot the signs of a potential relapse allows a person to act on any potential triggers before they become overwhelming compulsions to return to addictive substance abuse.

How Common is Relapse?

Relapse prevention strategies have been proven to reduce the risk of returning back into a cycle of drug or alcohol abuse. However, without strong relapse prevention planning, statistics show that people struggling to overcome addiction to stimulant drugs such as crystal meth have a 93% rate of relapse.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse released statistics that show addiction has a similar relapse rate to other chronic illnesses, including diabetes, asthma, and high blood pressure (hypertension). When symptoms recur in those illnesses, people consider it normal to seek treatment and manage the condition accordingly. The same principles hold true for managing addiction.

Potential Relapse Warning Signs

There are lots of potential warning signs that could trigger a relapse back to addictive substance abuse.  In most cases, significantly stressful life events and experiences should be viewed as a powerful trigger that could steer a person away from motivated recovery and back into a downward spiral of addictive drug or alcohol use.  Such events include:

  • Loss of a loved one or close friend
  • Loss of employment
  • Separation or divorce
  • Health problems

There are also other stressful events that can trigger relapse that many people overlook. These include:

  • Lack of motivation or purpose
  • Poor eating patterns
  • Poor sleeping habits
  • Peer pressure
  • Associating with former drug or alcohol using people

Stages of Relapse

Most people assume that relapse is an isolated event. They assume the recovering person has simply ‘fallen off the wagon’, or lost control of their will power temporarily. In reality, it’s a series of stages that ultimately lead up to the act of returning to substance abuse. The stages of relapse are:

Emotional Relapse: the first early warning sign to look for is emotional relapse. During the first stage, the mind isn’t actively thinking about relapse. In fact, the person may still be strongly motivated to remain abstinent. However, the person’s behaviors and emotions may be setting them up for a potential relapse. The signs include:

  • Allowing stress to build up to explosive levels
  • Neglecting personal hygiene and grooming
  • Poor eating and sleeping habits
  • Not attending groups or classes
  • Not reaching out or asking for help

Mental Relapse: the second stage to watch for is mental relapse. At this point, the person starts feeling as though the effort associated with remaining sober is more difficult than giving in to urges to start using again. Signs of mental relapse include:

  • Associating with old using friends again
  • Fantasizing about using
  • Glamorizing past substance use
  • Thinking about people or places associated with using
  • Believing you have the addiction under control now
  • Planning a relapse around other people’s schedules so they won’t find out

Physical Relapse: the final stage is physical relapse, where the person actually starts using drugs or drinking again. At this point, it’s almost impossible to stop, so it’s crucial that the early warning signs are recognized and acted upon quickly.

Benefits of Relapse Prevention in Georgia

The biggest benefit of relapse prevention planning is teaching a recovering person ways to maintain abstinence over the long term. There are combinations of things that contribute to preventing a potential relapse, so it’s up to the individual person to learn their own individual addiction triggers and work on ways to avoid giving into temptations.

Regular attendance at group support meetings is strongly encouraged, as participants have the opportunity to develop new social networks with likeminded peers. Participants also create bonds and form friendships with people who have already overcome similar challenges.

Associating with other people intent on achieving long-term sobriety provides a level of motivation to stay on the right track. As bonds form with new friends, it’s common to see self-esteem and confidence levels improve in many people, both of which are known triggers for relapse.

Social interaction also reduces feelings of isolation and loneliness, which further decreases the risk of relapse back into addictive drug use. What’s more, the opportunity to remain anonymous at meetings goes a long way to building trust with others, especially as participants start to gain support from other members who have already gone through the same experiences.

Relapse prevention in Georgia also should include ongoing relaxation and stress relief techniques, as stress is a strong trigger for addictive drug use. Rehab graduates are encouraged to continue their participation in any classes or therapies that promote stress relief, whether that’s yoga or meditation, or creative therapies such as art, music, or dance therapy.


Get Help

Take steps to better your life. The biggest benefit of relapse prevention planning is learning to recognize and identify person addiction triggers and then implement newly-learned techniques to avoid temptation and remain abstinent over the long term. Reach out to a drug treatment center to assist you in your crisis.