What Works in Recovery? Relapse Prevention Therapy

What Works in Recovery? Relapse Prevention Therapy

This January, we’re taking a look at what’s proven to work to promote recovery from substance use.

People who complete addiction treatment can and do experience relapse. In the past, this was widely viewed as treatment failure. Relapse is not failure. Just like people who start a diet, eat a piece of cheesecake, and then go back on their diet, addiction relapse is part of the recovery learning process.

Relapse Prevention Therapy is an evidence-based practice (EBP) proven by science to be effective in addressing substance use relapse. It’s a strategy for cognitive-behavioral intervention that can reduce the likelihood and severity of relapse following cessation (or reduction) of substance use.

Rather than viewing relapse as treatment failure, this model sees relapse as a common (although undesirable) event that represents a temporary setback with opportunities for new learning to occur.

To prevent future relapse, this treatment practice teaches participants to incorporate rewarding or stress-reducing activities into their daily routine to enhance their ability to anticipate and more effectively cope with expected setbacks. For example, if we know that being alone on Valentine’s Day makes us feel lonely or unwanted, we can pre-schedule a coffee get-together with a group of single, sober friends.

Relapse Prevention Therapy is often used in conjunction with 12 Step Facilitation Therapy – another evidence-based practice. This is a set of semi-structured therapies designed to help people abstain from alcohol and other drugs by systematically linking them to and encouraging active participation in community-based 12-step mutual self-help organizations. The use of peer support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and other 12 Step groups is scientifically proven as an effective relapse prevention approach.
If you need Relapse Prevention Therapy, call L.A. CADA at (562) 906-2676.

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